We’re tempted to call the Harlem Renaissance a golden age of African-American music, which begs the question: Has there been a dry period for that music since the beginning of the 20th century? Jubilee Theatre is staging Bubbling Brown Sugar, Loften Mitchell’s 1975 musical revue paying tribute to that era of music, and as usual with Jubilee’s musical productions, it’s not to be missed.
The revue includes a dance number, “Bill Robinson Special,” paying tribute to the peerless elegance and control of the legendary tap dancer nicknamed “Bojangles.” Most of the evening, however, is given over to the songs of early jazz masters. The dry-wine mastery of Duke Ellington is demonstrated in the likes of “Sophisticated Lady” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).” Against that is the raucous energy of Cab Calloway’s “Jim Jam Jumpin’ Jive,” the sweetness of Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child,” and the rough but soaring qualities of the spirituals that informed those early stompers at the Savoy. There’s a great deal of historical value in this show, but you’ll probably be too busy tapping your feet to take notice.
Bubbling Brown Sugar runs Mar 22-Apr 28 at Jubilee Theatre, 506 Main St, FW. Tickets are $24-34. Call 817-338-4411.