This week, the City College Center for the Arts and Byron and Sylvia Lewis present the newly created work “On Kentucky Avenue: A Celebration of Atlantic City’s Historic Club Harlem.”
“On Kentucky Avenue” is a true celebration and tribute to Atlantic City’s famed Club Harlem. The setting is the 1969 season’s opening night dress rehearsal. A love triangle develops between the MC (Ivan King), the lead showgirl and the featured female vocalist.
“The show’s original, true-to-era score, along with a nightclub setting, showgirls, comics, specialty acts and great singers and dancers, creates an exciting and memorable performance,” said Gregory Shanck, managing director of the City College Center for the Arts.
Prior to the lavish casinos, Kentucky Avenue was the center of nightlife in Atlantic City, N.J. Music flowed from the clubs on both sides of the street starting Memorial Day and ending Labor Day. Specifically, 32 North Kentucky Ave. was the home of Club Harlem, the most famous club in Atlantic City. During the summer, music began on Saturdays at 10 p.m. and wouldn’t stop until 6 a.m. Monday morning. Oftentimes, headlining acts from neighboring clubs like Steel Pier and the 500 Club would stop by Club Harlem for impromptu performances. These artists included Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle and Duke Ellington, just to name a few.
“On Kentucky Avenue” was created by Jeree Wade. The cast includes Ty Stephens, Cheryl Freeman and Andricka Hall. Lee Summers plays the Comedian and special guest Jeree Wade plays Damita Jo. The live, on-stage band features Frank Owens on piano, Wilbur Bascomb on bass, Greg Bufford on drums, Richard Cummings Jr. on synthesizer and Jack Cavari on guitar.
“On Kentucky Avenue” will be presented Friday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at City College’s performing arts center, Aaron Davis Hall, located at West 135th Street and Convent Avenue. Tickets are $25 for general admission. For information and tickets, visit http://citycollegecenterforthearts.org or call 212-650-6900.