A Spell on You

Of all the great female jazz singers of the mid-twentieth century, Nina Simone was perhaps the most distinctive, enigmatic, occasionally bewildering. And so it makes sense that An Evening With Nina, Shadow Theatre Company’s new musical about her life, would be similarly hard to describe. It’s a sort-of-musical about a group of traveling musicians living Simone’s life story after her death; they encounter the same biographical moments that Simone did and sing her songs. Also, Simone’s ghost is a character.

“I kind of used it as a writing exercise, to see if I could tell someone’s story through the eyes of others,” explains writer/director Hugo Sayles. “So it’s a biography without being a biography, if that makes any sense.” It’s also, of course, a vehicle for Simone’s poignant music — and Shadow commissioned new recordings, allowing for good fidelity and stirring renditions from the actors. “I’ve had more theater moments putting this together than I’ve had in years — meaning I was watching this play instead of being the director,” Sayles reflects. “I have a real good feeling about it.”

Share in the good feelings when the show premieres tonight at Shadow Theatre, 1468 Dayton Street in Aurora. The run continues through December 12; for a schedule and tickets, $25, call 720-857-8000 or visit www.shadowtheatre.com.
Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 6:30 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Nov. 19. Continues through Dec. 12, 2010

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte