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Bill Johnson in the Big Mama Thornton Story (2012-09-27)

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Big Mama! The Willie Mae Thornton Story

The Belfry Theatre is kicking off its new season by filling the former baptist church with the sounds of soulful blues

A co-production with the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Big Mama! The Willie Mae Thornton Story brings Canadian jazz powerhouse and award-winning actress Jackie Richardson to the Belfry stage for the first time in the starring role.

Richardson’s commanding voice and exceptional charisma are a perfect fit for Thornton, the originator of such hits as “Ball ’n’ Chain” and “Hound dog.”

Big Mama! takes a glimpse into the life of this legendary female musician working in a man’s world on Chirstmas Eve in the early ’70s, complete with a full band featuring local Juno-nominated bluesman Bill Johnson (guitar), Andy Graffiti (drums) and music director Ron Casat (keys).

Big Mama opens Thursday, July 26 at 8pm and runs Tuesday to Sunday until Aug. 19. Matinees Wednesdays (1pm) and Sundays (2pm). Tickets at belfry.bc.ca or 250-385-6815. M 





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