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Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

World Premiere of Kurt Elling's The Big Blind, March 1-2, 8pm, Rose Theater

The radio-style noir drama features all-star cast including
 NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater, Broadway legend Ben Vereen,
  and a 23-piece orchestra conducted by Guy Barker

New York, NY (January 30, 2019) – Jazz at Lincoln Center presents the world premiere of Kurt Elling’s The Big Blind, March 1-2 at 8pm in Rose Theater. The Grammy-winning vocalist delves into the world of musical theater with this original noir radio drama, co-written with Grammy-nominated songwriter Phil Galdston and inspired by true historic events. Set in the seedy underbelly of the 1950s Chicago nightclub scene, Elling stars as Jack Lewis, an up-and-coming jazz singer who faces the loss of his voice, both literally and figuratively, when his personal and professional choices upend his life. Exclusively for this premiere performance, Elling has assembled an all-star cast, including Broadway legend Ben Vereen who doubles as the story’s narrator and Lewis’ sax-playing mentor; NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater who brings her sultry stylings to the part of the requisite femme fatale; Broadway star and jazz chanteuse Allison Semmes (Motown the Musical, The Book of Mormon) as the young ingénue; and Foley artist Jeff Ward.

A unique blend of radio drama, complete with an on-stage sound effects and concert performance, The Big Blind takes audiences back to the heyday of what Elling calls “the theater of the imagination.” The show is directed by Terry Kinney, a founding member of Chicago’s iconic Steppenwolf Theater Company and a star of the renowned HBO prison drama Oz. The score features eight new songs co-written by Elling and,Galdston, who has written hits for everyone from Beyoncé, Celine Dion, Vanessa Williams, Aaron Neville to Esperanza Spalding. In addition, Elling and Galdston have penned new lyrics to carefully chosen classics by jazz giants Duke Ellington, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, and Charles Mingus. British trumpeter/composer Guy Barker will conduct the 23-piece orchestra assembled by drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr.

The Big Blind has been a passion project of mine for more than ten years. This story is my way of embracing the history of the city I love and the club that gave me a platform,” says Elling. “At this point in my career, I want to reach for as much as I can, and this show has given me a way to stretch my imagination. I’m honored to work with an incredible cast, including Dee Dee Bridgewater and Ben Vereen. We are led by an equally talented creative team: our director Terry Kinney, my co-writer Phil Galdston, and arranger/conductor Guy Barker. I can’t wait to see this come to life on the Rose Theater stage.”

A free pre-concert discussion takes place nightly at 7pm in the Agnes Varis and Karl Leichtman Studio in The Irene Diamond Education Center. In addition, the performance on Friday, March 1 at 8pm webcasts live at jazz.org/live and on Facebook

 Rose Theater is located in Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, at 60th Street and Broadway in New York City. For additional information, visit jazz.org.

Ticket Information
Rose Theater ticket prices are $40 and up, dependent upon seating section.

All single tickets for The Appel Room and Rose Theater can be purchased through jazz.org 24 hours a day or through CenterCharge at 212-721-6500, open daily from 10am to 9pm. Tickets can also be purchased at the Jazz at Lincoln Center Box Office, located on Broadway at 60th Street, ground floor. Note: Hot Seats—$10 seats for each Rose Theater performance (excluding Jazz for Young People® concerts and other performances as specified) and select performances in The Appel Room (excluding Jazz & Popular Song concerts)—are available for purchase by the general public on the Wednesday prior to each performance. Tickets are subject to availability; please call 212-258-9800 for available Hot Seats performance dates.

Music lovers around the world can also enjoy the performances from the comfort of their homes through Jazz at Lincoln Center’s state-of-the-art livestream capabilities.  The performances will be available to view by live webcast at jazz.org/live.

Additional information may be found at jazz.org |
Facebook: facebook.com/jazzatlincolncenter |
Twitter: @jazzdotorg |  Instagram: @jazzdotorg |
YouTube: youtube.com/jalc | Livestream: jazz.org/live

Jazz at Lincoln Center proudly acknowledges its major corporate partners:
Bloomberg Philanthropies, Brooks Brothers, The Coca-Cola Company, Con Edison, Entergy, SiriusXM, Steinway & Sons, and United Airlines.

Press Inquiries:
Rebecca Kim
Assistant Director, Public Relations & External Communications
Jazz at Lincoln Center