Sweet Mama String Bean: A Celebration of Blues Legend Ethel Waters at The Grove
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The last date listed for Sweet Mama String Bean was Sunday February 5, 2012 / 2:00pm.
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The music was excellent, the progression of the story was smoothly done and very effective. The costuming was simply done, but powerful and this ladies voice made me laugh and cry and shout for Joy! I would go again tomorrow if I could.! I wept...continued
Quotes & Highlights
“ValLimar wraps merry humor and an indomitable spirit around her engaging performance as she skips and shimmies her way through 16 classic blues songs, and her mellifluous, full-bodied voice has the depth of strong coffee.” —_LA Weekly _
The Grove Theatre celebrates Black History Month with Sweet Mama String Bean, a celebration of blues legend Ethel Waters starring ValLimar Jansen. Born in 1896, the unwanted product her mother’s rape at knifepoint at the age of 12, Ethel Waters grew up unsupervised in the slums of Philadelphia. Violence was more prevalent than warmth or love throughout her poverty-stricken childhood.
Waters left her own abusive marriage at the age of 14, but her voice was beginning to draw attention. She sang and danced at church functions and started performing in black vaudeville in 1917. She then traveled with a carnival and finally moved to Harlem, eventually becoming a celebrated blues singer. She was the first female black singer to be heard on radio and, later, the highest-paid female performer on Broadway. She won a Grammy Award in 1933 and was the second black performer to be nominated for an Academy Award, for her performance in Pinky (1949).
ValLimar Janson brings Waters’ music to life in Sweet Mama String Bean, with her own renditions of songs associated with Waters, including her signature anthem “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” “Stormy Weather,” (which was written for Waters), “Am I Blue” and “My Handy Man Ain’t Handy No More.” Jansen says she avoids imitating Waters’ voice, but instead strives to capture Waters’ unique style. Her desire is to raise awareness of the significance of Waters’ achievements.