Minnesota original Feature.
Was Just on the air with Larry Englund at KFAI 90.3 Minneapolis. He asked me a question that I did not answer clearly.
My new CD "When a Woman Loves a Man" was originally planned to coincide with my Concert Tribute to Nina Simone at the Capri Theater back in November 2011. The CD arrived later. Sanford Moore and I have had many discussions over the years about my musical style and came up with a few criteria for the CD so that it was true to who I am. The first was that the songs had to be theatrical in the sense that they told a story, created a picture. Several of the songsI have actually performed in theater productions, When a Woman Loves a Man, I wonder Where Our Love has Gone, and Moonlight are from, "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill."
I love to sing the intro of a song. Commonly recorded tunes would include the intro e.g. My Funny Valentine and Something to Live For. At least two of the tunes would need to be Nina Simone tunes, Sugar in My Bowl, The Other Woman. She is my new passion. Two of the songs would be rarely recorded tunes, Rough and Ready Man, which I performed in "Blues in the Night." I also wanted to do one song that my husband loves. That would be Stormy Monday.
Sweet, Sassy, Soulful and a little bit theatrical. "When a Woman Loves a Man"!!!
Thank you for such a warm welcome out there at the AmericInn in Mankato this pass Monday night. It was a beautiful way to celebrate Dr King's birthday by honoring his work and those who continue in the tradition. Bukata Hayes, Dawn Carder , the MLK committee and all of the audience it was a pleasure to be in your presence. I loved that you sang along and took the time to say hello afterward, and to the lady from the African American Student Union (I think), I will find you. You took your Barack button off and gave it to me. I owe you three dollars.
What a week!!!
Dr King's work celebrated the day before the Inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America. For all of you in Rochester who came out to support the Jungle Theatre's "Jump at the Sun;the life and times of Zora neale Hurston" by Buffy Sedlacheck, I would sure like to thank you for sharing inauguration night with me. A special shout out to Felicia and friends, see you at Mixed Blood for "Pure Confidence", the contact and lighting person, the lady painting in the dressing rooms who found me hairpins and offered to mend my dress, the staff, thanks for the snowflake brooche Deb, our host and his wife Cindy and all of the rest of the folks visited with. The two ladies from Africa. One from Kenya and the other from Sierra Leone and and all of the other smiling faces. You have a beautiful theatre doing great work. Peace and many blessings. Regina
Written by Carlyle Brown · Directed by Marion McClinton
January 15 - February 8, 2009
"One surefire crowd-pleaser." - N.Y. Times
Set against a backdrop of fast horses, gritty racetracks, and high stakes betting, Pure Confidence is an extraordinary tale of one of the most successful athletes of his day -- Simon Cato, a slave. In a rare historical drama for Mixed Blood, Pure Confidence is a funny and daring look at the complexity of race, love, and dignity.
Check out the website for the Horror Harrowville. My very 1st horror movie. I hope its only scary in one way. http://www.harrowville.com/locations.html
Blues in the Night runs through May 18, 2008 at Ordway Center in St Paul Minnesota. Check the links and press on my site for reviews and kudos. There is also a special for my friends that runs through April. Call the Box Office 651 224-4222 and ask for code 000RMW. It is only for Tuesday and Wednesday Nights but its a great deal. Hope to see you there. Three solo artists and me make a pretty good ensemble. Austene Van has done a splendid job in gathering just the right folks to make a show that is gorgeous to look at and delightfully delicious to listen to. Really. Some of you may know Julius Collins from the group "Greazy Meal". Or as one young lady (Ershawnda) hushed by her sister, screamed "Oh my goodness I knew that was Julius from 'Always and Forever." And then she melted. He moves, sweats and gets all three of us women beside ourselves. The man just gives us the Blues. Jamecia Bennett must have the biggest lung capacity in the world to move non stop and while still sangin' her face off!!!. She sings it so we ALL understand her joy and pain. You may think you don't know who she is but you have most likely heard her and did not it. Google her but don't miss her in this show. You will miss a sho-nuff treat. And then there is the First Lady of Song is what I think they call her. Miss D. Oh...when Debbie sings Lover Man or any number of songs you are transported. When she bends a note it just takes you to another place. And then she gets raunchy. It is hilarious. You WILL like it. The crowd roars. They really do. And then there is me. Once again I am among greatness. Come see me too. We are well supported by Raymond Berg, Jay Young, Joe Pulice and LOVELY Leo. I think I'd better go look up Leo's last name. I could listen to his guitar all night.
Well, it has been good chatting with you. Come see me and say hello. I will talk to you soon.
Regina Marie Williams nominated for "REDSHIRTS" at RoundHouse Theater. Best Supporting Actress in a Resident Play!
"Bud, Not Buddy" matures and shines at Children's Theatre Company.
By ROHAN PRESTON, Star Tribune
Last update: January 23, 2008 - 10:05 PM
BUD, NOT BUDDY
What: Adapted by Reginald Andre Jackson from Christopher Paul Curtis' novel. Directed by Marion McClinton.
When: 7 p.m. today, 7:30 p.m. Fri., 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sat., 2 and 5 p.m. Sun. Ends Feb. 16.
Where: Children's Theatre, 2400 3rd Av. S., Mpls.
Tickets: $22.50-$37.50. 612-874-0400.
In "Bud, Not Buddy," which opened over the weekend at the Children's Theatre Company, the first act offers a lot of perfunctory exposition. It dawdles a bit in setting up the plot and establishing the play's flashback storytelling style.
But the second act, in which the hopes and dreams of a searching 10-year-old orphan meet the realities of the world, is simply sublime. Poignant and elegant, it made my eyes misty.
Adapted by Reginald Andre Jackson from Christopher Paul Curtis' Newberry-winning book, "Bud" is about a boy in an orphanage, played by Nathan Barlow, who runs away to find his father.
The father may or may not be famous bandleader Herman Calloway (Shawn Hamilton as a hurt and truculent taskmaster). When Bud finds Mr. Calloway, he is not received like he thought he would be. But wise and indefatigable, the young man with the potential to flower perseveres.
The play takes place during the Depression, not today, when Bud's search would be a TV special.
Staged with style and sophistication by Marion McClinton, "Bud" is ostensibly a show for children. Children's Theatre recommends it for ages 9 and up. But McClinton has directed a fierce work with some swinging jazz composed by Victor Zupanc -- not the bright musical underscoring that you might expect for youngsters. In other words, this production, which uses real-looking weapons, does not do too much nodding to children.
The performances, by a very capable company whose members play multiple parts, are all admirable. Barlow, a Children's Theatre veteran, is clearly in a growth spurt and his voice is changing (getting lower). Still, he invests Bud with verve and hard-fought hope.
"Bud" features a lovely turn by Regina Williams as the warm, sensitive singer in Calloway's band. In voice and body, Williams' radiant character wraps the orphan boy in warmth and love. Hamilton is deft and in the pocket as the leader of the jazz band. He moves with stylized syncopation as if he is walking on music. Kevin West, Payton Woodson and the always stellar Marvette Knight join Gerald Drake, Samuel Roberson, Traci Allen, Namir Smallwood and Max Tojtanowicz in this lyrical production that is as apt for adults as it is for children.
It might be at Children's Theatre, but adults could ditch the kids and go to this one for themselves. It's a thought.
Rohan Preston • 612-673-4390
Spirit of Holiday channeled at Stackner
Intense internal energy fuels Williams' organic performance
By DAMIEN JAQUES
Journal Sentinel theater critic
Posted: March 19, 2007
Mesmerizing is a word critics should use very judiciously. It's a term that carries big expectations and responsibilities.
at Emersons Bar & Grill'
Regina Marie Williams uses nuance and exquisitely subtle shadings to portray jazz singer Billie Holiday in the Milwaukee Repertory Theater's production of "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill."
If You Go
What: "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill"
When: Through May 13.
Where: The Stackner Cabaret at the Baker Theater Complex, 108 E. Wells St. Tickets are on sale at the Milwaukee Rep's box office in the complex's lobby, by phone at (414) 224-9490, and online at www.milwaukee
But I can't think of a better way to describe Regina Marie Williams' performance in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill," the new show the Milwaukee Repertory Theater opened in its Stackner Cabaret over the weekend. Williams plays the late jazz singer Billie Holiday in Lanie Robertson's well-written theater piece, a monologue-concert hybrid.
Actually, Williams channels the troubled singer to a degree that few performances attain. She toys with something that seems beyond acting. It's more visceral, organic and almost ghostly.
No wonder the lone act flies by as if time is standing still.
Playwright Robertson used the conceit of placing "Lady Day" in a Philadelphia jazz club near the end of Holiday's short life. She died in 1959 at the age of 44.
Billie is out of prison and has a new boyfriend-piano accompanist. She is on stage at the intimate Emerson's Bar & Grill to entertain the smattering of fans and jazz aficionados who have shown up.
Holiday sings 17 songs, and between numbers rambles on, talking about her life. The star was a poster child for the crushing price of racial bigotry exacerbated by bad personal choices.
She was raped at 10, then handed over by her mother to a brothel madam as a teenager. He first husband introduced her to heroin, begging her to sample it as a sign of her love for him. Billie had a knack for being attracted to the wrong men.
Holiday's career was short-circuited by the double whammy of prejudice and her frequent conflicts with the law. The best jazz songs were often restricted to white singers to record, and Billie talks about the indignities suffered by black touring performers in the first half of the 20th century.
The club appearance we are witnessing is lubricated by the constant sipping of alcohol as Holiday sings and talks. Her stability gradually slips away.
A different route
Most singer-actresses portray an increasingly inebriated Billie sloshing through her final songs. With her intense internal energy, Williams takes a different route.
She exudes the instability using nuance and exquisitely subtle shadings. That makes the character's descent more harrowing.
Williams also underplays her performance of "Strange Fruit," Holiday's signature song about lynching. Broadway composer E.Y. (Yip) Harburg called the number a "historic document." In Williams' interpretation, she sings "Strange Fruit" without a great deal of drama but with impeccable clarity, demonstrating that less can be more.
The singer-actress employs a remarkably expressive face and physicality to suggest a compelling presence despite faded glamour and an erratic spirit. Vocally, Williams has a distinctive style that offers a velvet purr sometimes punctuated with a hint of spunky squawk.
Pianist William Knowles ably handles the keyboard and the few lines of dialogue he has with Williams.
Outstanding Play of 2006: Yellowman
Outstanding Director: Marion McClinton, Yellowman
ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS
#1 on the Top 10 Plays of
Top 10 Plays of 2006: Yellowman
Top 10 Plays of 2006: Yellowman
Regina M Williams – Feel The Spirit RMW Regina M Williams combines her vocal poweress with renowned producer and Sounds of Blackness founder Gary Hines on an album that celebrates the traditional roots of Gospel. It’s not exactly the first time they have worked together as Regina herself was part of the Sounds of Blackness and on her solo effort she pays tribute to what is the African American musical experience. It’s simplistic and uncomplicated on the production front which allows full appreciation of many of the traditional compositions like the mesmerising “Deep River” or “Close To Thee/I Need The Every Hour”. Other popular Negro Spirituals to feature include the bluesy “Hush/Swing Low” and the upbeat “Old Time Religion”. The Jazzy angle placed on “This Little of Light of Mine” has the added input of a ‘kids choir’ effect. In this age where Gospel music has transformed and modernised itself, it’s good to see some of the old favourites kept alive and Regina pays a more-than-worthy homage to this long-standing musical legacy that is such an influence to many other music genres we see today. By DJ El Niño © January 2007
Contact: Regina Marie Williams
Regina Marie Williams releases a new CD: Feel the Spirit! - Spirituals, Gospels, and Hymns
Powerhouse performer Regina Marie Williams reunites with Gary Hines, Founder and Music Director of the Grammy Award winning Sounds of Blackness, to create Feel the Spirit! – Spirituals, Gospels and Hymns, a CD of traditional songs infused with Jazz and Blues. Release is set for November 12, 2006.
A former member of Sounds of Blackness, Regina returns to the African American source of Jazz, Blues, and R & B, taking a beautiful and unique spin on classics such as Ain't Got Time to Die and Every Time I Hear the Spirit.
Inspired by her mother Olive and Olive’s devotion to the 1912 Gospel Pearl Hymn Book, the CD also includes Close to Thee/I Need Thee Every Hour, In the Garden, I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray, Deep River, Hush/Swing Low, Old Time Religion, and Rock of Ages. Background is sung by Patricia Lacy-Aikin and JD Steele. Regina’s children, DrewAnna Flynn and Jack Flynn, join her for a joyous This Little Light of Mine.
Oscar Nominee and Golden Globe Award winner, Angela Bassett, in Entertainment Weekly said “[Regina Marie Williams] is the best singer you’ve never heard.” Leigh Kamman of Minnesota Public Radio’s The Jazz Image said of Regina’s 2004 debut CD, Regina is…, “Down with the barriers! Regina Marie Williams delivers (in tribute to Dinah Washington) compelling performances of ballads and blues. Shaded with grand legacy of the gospel and the spiritual.” Dwight Hobbes of Insight raved, “It’s no secret. Williams’ vocals can tear down in full-blown, heartrending fashion…Her singing is impeccable.”
Feel the Spirit! is destined to be embraced by traditionalists as well as by contemporary music lovers. Gary Hines says, “In the tradition of her Sounds of Blackness roots, Regina Williams intertwines members of the Family of African-American Music effortlessly. Like any family, these members—Spirituals, Gospel, Blues, Jazz etc.—inherently have more similarities than differences and Regina fluidly segues in and out of and in between them as she simultaneously pays homage to, and breathes new life into this rich musical heritage and legacy. The common ancestral parent of those musical genres—Mother Africa, is surely proud of one her most talented daughters.”
CDs will be available at Electric Fetus in Minneapolis and online at cdbaby.com and Regina’s website www.reginamw.com. Check the website for news and info on Regina’s live concerts, TV, and radio appearances.
I have just added three songs from my new Gospel/Spiritual disc soon to arrive in stores Nov/Dec. I'll keep you posted on the specific release date as well as concert dates and where the party will be. This disc is dedicated to my mother Olive, Sammy Denton, Lucille Dixon Williams and Barbara June Patterson. Four women who have guided and encouraged me as a mother should. Sometimes they did it by talking, singing, reading or just being an example. These are AWESOME women. Everybody should have at least one. Feel free to download the songs. The free part is only temporary. I sure hope you enjoy them.
Peace and hair grease as T. Mychael would say. Love you like a neck bone.
I have been intensely
rehearsing and finally opening YELLOWMAN by Dael Orleander Smith. The show is at the Guthrie in the Joe Dowling Studio Theater but is
a coproduction with Mixed Blood Theater. Marion McClinton has done a remarkable job bringing this piece to life. It speaks to the human spirit on so many different levels if you open yourself up to the experience. For some who have seen the performance/gone on the journey with us you have no choice. Tom Jones III plays my love interest and best friend. He is remarkable to watch and work with. I hope you all come out to see what has been taking up so much of my mind space, time and energy for the last month. For all of you big hearted people who have helped me survive the journey, Thanks. This was certainly not something I could have done alone.
Gary, Karl, and Brandon are working away at AtomicK Studios. My new cd of Spirituals, Psalms and Hymns is nearing its finish. The release date is late October or early November. I will be more specific in the next few weeks or so. It was due to release in July but the recording was interrupted by a family emergency. I am very proud of this project which began as an acapella cd. Inspired by my mother Olive. It has morphed from its original idea. I told someone that I was getting away from my vision and they told me that that is what happens with art. OK. Gary Hines' piano accompniament was so extraordinary that I added that and then JD Steele and Patricia Lacey came in for some background work. Strings, organ and other instruments were added. I am looking forward to sharing it with you all. Will keep you posted about concerts, release parties etc.
We had a great bit of fun opening your Guthrie's Joe Dowling Studio Theatre with
Jeffrey Hatcher's play "The Falls". This was an unusual project in that the community joined with the professional theater to put on a real fun piece of entertainment. I met some terrific people and some likely to be life long friends.
Much has happened since last I have written. Where shall I begin...I have been honored by my collegues and am one of three to receive The 2006/2007 McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship. And Yep thats me and Thomasina and Ansa in the Qwest commercial. Several of us took the trip to Chicago to audition for The Color Purple. We had a great time. YES. Penumbra Theatre is doing all musicals this year. I am not in them but I wont miss going. The season looks awesome and boasts extraordinary talent. Am working on the Fall and Spring performance schedules for Jump at the Sun about Zora Neale Hurston with the Jungle Theater. I am Planning holiday concerts and scheduling really exciting things for next year. I will keep you posted. My Gospel/Spiritual CD co-produced with Gary Hines was scheduled for a July 29th release date. Not gonna happen. But thats ok. I am moving in the right direction.
I am currently in rehearsals at the new Guthrie for THE FALLS written by Jeffry Hatcher. The show will open August 23rd in the Joe Dowling Studio Theater. The show is suitable for all ages. You may even recognize someone from your school, church or community. Hope to see you there.
I will post my new schedule as soon as it is solidified.
Bane, Margo, Dana, MARK, Claire, John, Barry. Who'd I miss?...What a fabulous event. Exciting and interesting people, The fabulously versatille talent, Bradley Greenwald sang with a Big Band, great auction items, the food was tasty and it was just a fine time. You know how to throw a party. Congratulations!!!
Thank you all so much for such a warm reception at the Dakota this last Friday on the coldest day of the winter. Lee & Cecilia I really appreciate you brining guests and staying through the night. It is always fun to see people I know. Saturday night brought a packed house. Students from Benilde St Margaret, Guthrie theater colleagues, Tyra Wahman from the Ordway and many others came out to have a fine time. Even Jack's second grade teacher, Ms Hubler hung out. The band was swining and we just had a delightful time. Martial Besombes lead the first set on Piano. Sanford Moore took over for the second set. Darryl Boudreau was on percussion, Dave Graf, trombone, Keith Boyles was solid on bass and Steve Jennings just swings harder everytime we play together.
I just reactivated my guest book and lost some really special comments during a computer crash. Thanks so much for your comments. I had a fine time at Benilde-St Margaret today. So glad you all enjoyed the show, are reading literature, and support the theater. What a beautiful and vibrant group. Ms Naegle, Ms Williams and Ms Regina I really appreciate your recognition of my work. I was suprised and sincerely touched. Thank you. And it was a blast meeting all your friends and classmates. You were a terrific audience. Be sure and say hello if I see you out and about. Peace.
Had two terrififc Zora performances at Normandale College in Bloomington, MN today. And Aleta Macon stopped by for the first show with her friend Sharla. What a lovely suprise. Chatted with a great group of theatre students. The theater there is a fine space to perform and I'd like to thank TD Rick Polenek for his hospitality. Water, flowers, cookies w/hearts in a dressing room fit for a queen. What more can a girl ask for on Valentines day. Thanks Rick. Now back to life on the home front. The loveliest long stem red roses sprout out of my favorite blue vase. My husband and 9 year old son will not be outdone.
I have a job, food, water, heat, a roof over my head, good friends and family. Life is good.
What a day!!! This is said with a sigh of exhausted elation. If I can use those two words together. What do we call that??? An oxymoron. There are so many of those in life. Took the one woman show JUMP AT THE SUN out today for its first two performances of the year. I portray Zora Neale Hurston. Our audiences at South Central College were very receptive. Thanks to both Fairbault & Mankato campuses. Thank you Heidi! You are awesome. Tomorrow we have two performances at Normandale Community College in Bloomington.
Happy Valentines Day.
If I did not have to be at normandale tomorrow I would most certainly be at the Suburban World Theater, 3022 Hennepin Ave South
Minneapolis. Thomasina Petrus, T. Mychael Rambo and Ray Covington will be performing your favorite ballads old and new. check out Thomasina's website www.thomasinaproductions.com. Let me know how it was.
To all of you who came out to the Dakota lastnight I'd like to thank you. It was a great way for me to celebrate my birthday. Thanks for coming to the party!!! I have not forgotten about those who helped me get the party started on Friday night. You were a great crowd. Happy birthday to Marc Halsey as well as the other Virgos there to celebrate. Especially to the young lady who shared her birthday cake with me. And a big HELLO to those in the balconey that I did not get around to visiting.