Highlighting performances by Rainey, Smith, Lead Belly, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGhee in small Mississippi towns, Harlem theaters, and the industrial British North, this pioneering study foregrounds virtuoso blues artists who used the conventions of the theater, including dance, comedy, and costume, to stage black mobility, to challenge narratives of racial authenticity, and to fight for racial and economic justice.
In Staging the Blues, Paige A.
Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and other classic blues singers also tapped, joked, and flaunted extravagant costumes on tent show and black vaudeville stages.
By Paige McGinley Singing was just one element of blues performance in the early twentieth century.
Her written works, both published and in-process, document and highlight the contributions of Black performing artists, among them musicians, actors, and playwrights, and underscore the centrality of Black cultural production to American theater and popular entertainment more generally.
Staging the Blues was recognized with the John W..
Description: McGinley shows that even though folklorists, record producers, and festival promoters set the theatricality of early blues aside in favor of notions of authenticity, it remained creatively vibrant throughout the twentieth century.