‘Chasin Dem Blues’ by Kenny Leon’s True Colors opens Friday

View Caption Hide Caption
Anthony David and Maiesha McQueen in "Chasin' Dem Blues" at True Colors Theatre. CONTRIBUTED BY JOSH LAMKIN
Singer/songwriter Anthony David will appear in Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company's production of Kevin Ramsey s "Chasin  Dem Blues: The Untold Story of Paramount Records." Contributed by True Colors Theatre Company

Singer/songwriter Anthony David will appear in Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company’s production of Kevin Ramsey s “Chasin Dem Blues: The Untold Story of Paramount Records.” Contributed by True Colors Theatre Company

The story of the blues has plenty of strange twists and turns, but one of the oddest wrinkles is how a Scandinavian furniture company from a little town in Wisconsin became one of the country’s leading outlets for Mississippi Delta music.

That narrative is told in the new musical “Chasin’ dem Blues: The Untold Story of Paramount Records,” a production of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company. The show opens Friday, July 10, at Fulton County’s Southwest Arts Center.

Back in 1915 the Wisconsin Chair Co., in Grafton, Wis., began producing 78 rpm records under the Paramount label to bolster its sales of phonographs. In the 1920s it entered the “race music” market, recording such artists as Alberta Hunter, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, Skip James and Son House, and Paramount became the most profitable arm of the corporation.

“It’s an American story on so many levels,” said writer/director Kevin Ramsey. “How communities collide — sometimes unintentionally.”

Through Aug. 2. 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays (also 11 a.m. July 15 and July 23). Tickets, $15-$60. Performances are at Fulton County’s Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road. For tickets: 1-877-725-8849, www.ticketalternative.com or www.truecolorstheatre.org.


View Comments 1