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Rollin’ on the
T.O.B.A (1999)

Production still from Rollin’ on the T.O.B.A1999

Ronald “Smokey” Stevens (Concept, Direction, Choreography)
Jaye Stewart (Concept)
Langston Hughes (Source Material)

24 March – 4 April, 1999

           Co-created, directed and choreographed by Stevens, “Rollin on the T.O.B.A.” focuses on the major trials and minor triumphs of three stalwart performers during 1931, the waning years of vaudeville. Power-lunged blues diva Bertha Mae Little (Reaves-Phillips) has taken on the dance and comedy duo of Stevens (Stevens) and Stewart (Levy) to be her opening act as the trio wend their way through a circuit of T.O.B.A. palaces, including the Monogram, Royal, Booker T. and Regal in Chicago. Along the way, the production makes telling use of poet Langston Hughes’ “Simple Stories” as an ongoing social commentary on the hard times of the day and the yearnings of a society struggling to establish its own identity. (Source: Variety)

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