Barry Eitel sets the action in 1954 Los Angeles at the legendary Haig Club, on the night when the young Chet Baker first takes to the microphone, unleashing his iconic singing voice.
A cast of fourteen filled Amado's (formerly Viracocha), presenting a dark mirror of classic 1950s Americana. Tussling with the relations between post-war and boomer culture, East vs. West Coast jazz style, predatory police brutality against African Americans, with drug abuse and its repression looming over all, a coterie of jazz lovers, musicians, drinkers, hipsters and lonely hearts convene to hear jazz.
The play, scored with Baker's early hits featured the breezy yet bopping style of Russ Freeman, Philip Watt playing Chet Baker's original solos note for note, with three SF-based jazz heavies. The action occurred within two sets of music.
Smith Dobson co-produced and co-directed with Watt.
Performances were at Amado's
Poster: Kingmond Young Photography and stills
Production shots: Dennis Hearne