Musicians Kenny Nigro, Mark Ryan, Ryan Ford and John DiPinto at TRAV’LIN East Coast premiere at Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, CT. – May 14, 2017
TRAV’LIN is a high-octane, jazzy-soul fest that takes you back to Harlem in the 1930’s when the music was swinging, big bands ruled and the Harlem Renaissance was in high gear. This jazz infused musical follows the romantic escapades of three couples of different ages: the young lovers new to love and oh so innocent, the seen-it-all lovers who bicker and fight but darn it they love each other, and the mature folk who wonder if it’s too late to fall in love one more time. Playing the game of love, they learn enduring lessons when George, a retired Pullman porter and church deacon, meets his match in the guise of a down-and-out stranger who is not the person she pretends to be. TRAV’LIN rediscovers the music of Harlem Renaissance composer J.C. Johnson. Johnson wrote Bessie Smiths’ signature song “Empty Bed Blues” and collaborated with such artists as Fats Waller, Chick Webb, and George Whiting. His songs were recorded by such icons as Billie Holliday, Ethel Waters, Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong, Fred Astaire, Duke Ellington and Count Basie.
Music and Lyrics by J.C.Johnson Book by Gary Holmes and Allan Shapiro