York Theatre Production History
Founded in 1969
JUNE 12 — JULY 1, 2018
The world premiere musical Lonesome Blues is the celebration of the legendary bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson: born blind, but ultimately able to express his deepest emotions through music. Discovered on a street corner in the Deep Ellum section of Dallas, Texas in 1925, Jefferson made more than 80 records over the next four years, becoming one the most prolific and influential performers of his generation and propelling the growth of rhythm and blues, soul, doo-wop, rap, and hip-hop.
Building on the success of their earlier musical Blind Lemon Blues, presented by The York in 2007 and 2009, Alan Govenar and Akin Babatundé used new research to probe deeper into the life and psyche of Blind Lemon Jefferson. In Lonesome Blues, Babatundé played more than ten different roles, channeling the spirits of men and women alike, in a journey that is at once evocative, troubling, and transformative. Songs and monologues brought to life the voice of Blind Lemon Jefferson, his community, and his musical contemporaries, including Blind Willie Johnson, Lillian Glinn, Hattie Hudson, Bobbie Cadillac, and Lead Belly—all coming together in Jefferson's mind on the day of his death, December 19, 1929, in Chicago.