Ticket Holders
by
TRAVIS MICHAEL HOLDER  

 

Dark Legends in Blood

B.B. Kingís Blues Club

The premise is purdy farfetched, with such familiar and often imitated celebrities as Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Louis Jordan, Duke Ellington, and a decade-hopping Etta James all alive and well, all the same general age, and all making one fateful nightclub appearance together. But when an eveningís entertainment is as much fun as Maurice Kitchenís audience-interactive Dark Legends in Blood, a cleverly conceived whodunit that treats its viewers to some exceptional musical offerings before one legendary singer chokes to death onstage during a high note and the audience is asked to have solve the riddle of his (or her) untimely demise, itís perfectly fine to suspend belief a little while and enjoy the ride.

Now transferred to an open-ended run at B.B. Kingís Club and Restaurant on Universal Studioís City Walk complex after a long and successful tenure in the South Bay, Dark Legends provides a great way to hear some grand old jazz and blues classics performed spectacularly by a group of truly talented artistsóalthough, if youíre looking for precision celebrity doubles, try Las Vegas, friends.

Except for Jesse Bolero, who I understand makes a living impersonating Calloway, Cheryl Carterís Horne, Sloan Robinsonís Holliday, keyboardist/musical director T.C. Campbellís Duke, and Pam Trotterís James arenít much like the real deals, but who cares? They each perform gorgeously and have found the spirit of their particular star without aiming for physical or vocal duplication. 

Carterís knockout ďFrom This Moment On,Ē Robinsonís suitably haunted ďStrange Fruit,Ē Trotterís high-decibeled ďAt Last,Ē and the hilarious Laurence Hill performing Jordanís ďAinít Nobody Here But Us Chickens,Ē would all be standout cabaret performances in any setting.

 
Cheryl Carter as Lena Horne
Each is beautifully accompanied by Campbell and his excellent combo of musicians, who also contribute a fine Ellington medley of their own as a sort of overture to the entire event.
Darryl Alan Reed as the ultra-cool Sammy Davis Jr.-like emcee, Bobby McGee as a bartender with a secret, and Les Lannom as a heckler with a few tricks up his sleeve as well, offer fine support to the proceedings. Blend in the fine accoutrements of the slickly urban B.B. King venue, including a precision sound system and great food and drinks, and I guarantee youíll have a swell time, even if you donít figure out for yourself who the murderer is. Hint: There isnít a butler anywhere in sight, galldurn it, and just because Carter wears an Łber-seductive and sexily slinky killer red dress, that alone isnít a real motive for murder anywhere but in Hollywood.

Dark Legends in Blood plays an open-ended run at B.B. Kingís Blues Club on Universal Studiosí City Walk. For tickets, call (310) 671-6400.

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