Latte Da celebrates Bessie Smith in Albee play

January 29, 2001By Southwest Journal.

Theatre Latté Da is turning Edward Albee’s little-known “The Death of Bessie Smith” into a full length work by infusing the music of the renowned singer into the one-act play. The show runs February 3-25 on the Loring Playhouse stage. “We’re setting the play simultaneously in a Harlem nightclub and in the South in 1937, where Albee set it,” said Latte Da’s artistic director Peter Rothstein. “It’s a look at racism, personal responsibility and the power of art. It explores this notion that racism hurts the oppressor as much as the oppressed.” Twin Cities jazz great Shirley Witherspoon stars in the show, under the musical direction of Dan Chouinard.