The musical trip through history comes to The Ritz Theatre Saturday and Sunday, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
The event opens the Ritz Theatre’s Fall Season.
Tom Wofford, executive director for The Ritz and Antique Talladega, calls the performance “an epic musical revue of the history of rhythm and blues.”
The show is written and directed by Birmingham native Annie Joe Edwards, Broadway veteran. Edwards has starred in productions of “The Wiz,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Hello Dolly.”
In film, she has worked with impressive names, including Woody Allen, Wofford said.
Talladega College graduate Rickey Powell is the lead in the production.
Powell has been honored with membership in the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and as a 2010 NAACP Honoree.
He played the title role in “The Wiz” on Broadway and also played in “Hair,” and also in the international tour of “Porgy and Bess.”
He was also in the Spike Lee documentary “Four Little Girls.”
“Rhythm and Roots” explores the history of the influence of the American art form and covers everything from traditional slave songs to Tin Pan Alley, gospel, jazz, swing, early rock and roll, and “old school rhythm and blues,” Wofford said.
Tickets for the shows are $20, available by calling the theatre at 256/315-0000 or on line at www.talladegaritz.com.
There is a $5 discount on tickets for groups of 10 or more.
The season continues Saturday, Sept. 25 with two performances from the Umdabu Dance Company, a Birmingham based dance theatre dedicated to the preservation and presentation of traditional and contemporary South African history and culture.
The company was incorporated in 2000 under the artistic direction of South African dancer, choreographer and drummer, Johannes “Jomo” Xulu.
The company’s debut performance came in 2001 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
They now perform throughout the United States at colleges and universities and festivals. The company members also conduct presentations for local schools and festivals.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students.
“The Umdabu Dance Company includes lots of audience interaction and the singing and dancing is thrilling,” Wofford said.
The Atlanta Rhythm Section performs
Saturday, Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. and again at 8:30 p.m.
The boys from Doraville come to the Historic Ritz Theatre to shoot their latest music video. One of the top Southern Rock groups of the 1970s and ‘80s, ARS brings an old-fashioned “Champagne Jam” to Talladega, full of classic hits along with their latest tunes. Be a part of the new ARS video as you kick back and enjoy all of their biggest hits, from “So Into You” and “Imaginary Lover,” to “Spooky,” and “I’m Not Going to Let It Bother Me Tonight.”
Comic Chonda Pierce performs
Saturday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. and again at 8:30 p.m.
“Growing up a South Carolina preacher’s kid has given Chonda Pierce lots of material, which this stand-up comic has turned into a string of gold and platinum DVDs and a 2009 award as Comedian of the Year from the Christian Music Hall of Fame,” Wofford said.
Wofford said some say she’s the “the Queen of Clean,” she calls her humor “warped,” but most people simply call her “hilarious.” Check her out on YouTube or at www.chonda.org.
Celtic Crossroads appears Friday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.
“Celtic Crosswords are back by popular demand, returning to Talladega from the Emerald Isle, this acclaimed music and dance show has been called ‘the most exhilarating and authentic show to come from Ireland in decades,” Wofford said. There is one show only.
The Fabulous Follies return to The Ritz Nov. 18, 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m.
This year’s production is “Talladega Night Fever: The Sensational 70s.
“Last year’s return of the Talladega Follies was the hit of the season, and this year’s takeoff on the 1970s offers even more,” Wofford said. “There will be more singing, more dancing, more outrageous comedy, and most important, more of your friends, relatives, neighbors and coworkers in a family-friendly salute to the days of bell bottoms, eight-tracks, and pet rocks.”