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November 1, 2005

Blues Singer Alberta Hunter Story Told in Musical Cookin at the Cookery

Written by
cindy mcleod

The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton is launching Cookin’ at the Cookery: The Music and Times of Alberta Hunter starting Thursday and running through November 20th.

Based on the true story of the life of Alberta Hunter, one of the greatest blues vocalists of the last century, the show is a cross between a musical, a cabaret and a play, and stars Tony Award-winner Gretha Boston in the lead role.

Born in 1895 in Memphis, Tennessee, Alberta Hunter spent her youth as a potato peeler in the segregated south. She studied classical voice as a child, but chose to sing the blues. She left home at the age of 16 and relocated to Chicago, where she began singing professionally in clubs that featured fellow greats Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller and Count Basie. Her career took off when she began recording in 1921, performing clubs in New York and throughout the US, going on to tour Europe in the 30’s.

In spite of her popularity, she never reached the level of stardom met by her peers, and retired from the music business in the 50�s, moving into nursing and working at a New York hospital.

In 1977 at the age of 82, she left nursing to make a comeback in the music business, making her triumphant return twenty years later at the Cookery nightclub in New York. She went on to write the soundtrack for the film Remember My Name and recorded four more albums, including the hugely successful Amtrak Blues. Hunter died in 1984.

Cookin’ at the Cookery details the story of this great artist’s life, and has been widely received by audiences and reviewers alike.

For tickets and information visit www.citadeltheatre.com

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