News Archive 4
TAs predicted, Scarecrow Press have now announced publication of Stephen Bourne's new book Ethel Waters: Stormy Weather . As the first independent biography, apart from Ethel's own autobiographical works, this is an event of major importance for admirers of the great diva. Ethel was sharing the same black vaudeville routes as Florence Mills in 1915, replaced Florence at the Plantation in 1925 ( where she introduced the evergreen song "Dinah") and went on to be a major star of stage and screen in movies like "Cabin in The Sky" (1943) and "Member of the Wedding" (1952), and stage shows including: "As Thousands Cheer" (1933) and "Mamba's daughters" (1939).
TFollowing the success of her Florence Mills show "Harlem Renaissance" at Laguna Beach, California, in April 2007, I am reliably informed that Jonelle Allen, of TV fame ("Dr Quinn" amongst others), will now present an adapted version of it (along with actor/producer Steve Josephson as Lew Leslie) for a week at the world-renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in August this year. More info on this exciting development as it arrives (The program will be officially announced on June 7). A Fringe engagement is a major coup for Jonelle and Steve. One of Florence Mills' very last professional engagements was in Scotland at the Glasgow Alhambra Theatre in 1927, where despite being terminally ill and in pain, she received rave reviews for her dynamic performances.
It's time again for the Flo-Bert Awards named in honor of the memory of Florence Mills and Bert Williams. The recipients this year are Bob Audy, Yvette Glover and Deborah Mitchell. They will receive their awards at the Tap Extravaganza in New York on May 27
As always there are sad tidings of ones who have passed away since the last news. Two who died during the early part of this year were amongst the few remaining who can be considered to have been contemporaries of Florence Mills and had significant connections with her. They are:
Isabel Washington Powell (1908 - 2007):
Sister of Fredi Washington (who performed along with Florence Mills in Shuffle Along), and who was herself a leading performer in black show biz in the Twenties and Thirties, including the Cotton Club. She was in the Bessie Smith "St Louis Blues" movie. Best known later for her marriage to Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. See details at:
Judge Jane Bolin (1908-2007)
The nation's first black female judge and the first black woman to graduate from Yale Law School. Her first husband, Ralph Mizelle (d. 1943) had been Florence Mills' attorney at the time of Florence's death. Judge Bolin was a lifelong friend of Florence's husband Kid Thompson. See details at:
That's all for now,
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