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Honoring Bessie Smith – Empress of The Blues

A Concert Celebrating 100 Years of American Music to Benefit The Cabot

$59.50 – $84.50 Buy Tickets Buy VIP Tickets


The Cabot
286 Cabot Street
Beverly, MA 01915 United States

The Empress of The Blues
1894 – 1937

A Unique Gala Concert
To Help Renovate The Cabot by 2020

The Cabot’s 100th Birthday

Hosted by Phillip Martin, 89.7 WGBH fm & WGBH TV News and Boston Globe Associate Editor and Columnist Renée Graham

Created for The Cabot by Artistic Director Paula Cole

With Doyle Bramhall IITerri Lyne Carrington, Shemekia Copeland, Dom Flemons, Nona Hendryx, Meshell Ndegeocello, Valerie Simpson and The Western Den

VIP Seats: 6 pm Gala Dinner & Cocktail Party at Ellis Square Social, your name or other inscription on a balcony seat and premium seating, $1000

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Friends of The Cabot: 7 PM Gala Cocktail Party in The Cabot’s Streetside Bar with open bar and complimentary appetizers from Henry’s Catering, preferred seating and your inscription on a balcony seat, $600

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Orchestra & Front Balcony Seats, $84.50 | Balcony Seats, $59.50 – $72.50

Cabot Club and Chamber Members: Buy your tickets here!

On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, we will proudly present a one-of-a-kind concert evening, “Honoring Bessie Smith, The Empress of the Blues.”  Each artist will perform one Bessie Smith song as well as a song of their own. We invite you to be a part of this unforgettable event!

We intend to celebrate Bessie Smith, along with 100 years of American music.  Our brilliant guest artists will perform a mix of historic Bessie Smith material as well as original music, which in total, will reflect the diversity and brilliance of the great canon of American music spanning one hundred years, revealing styles such as blues, soul, jazz, roots, Americana, country, rock, folk and more.

“As a former Rockport and now Beverly resident, I’ve known The Cabot as a community theater my whole life. From magic shows to movie nights and now to its amazing concerts, The Cabot transports us to another time. Now it is on the cusp of becoming a world-class theater, one of just 250 silent movie and vaudeville survivors. I am bringing some of the most compelling and diverse musicians to the North Shore of Massachusetts, together at The Cabot, in performance to honor the music heroine, the legacy – Bessie Smith – as we help a theater transform into becoming a lasting, iconic venue.” – Paula Cole, Artistic Director

About Bessie Smith:

Bessie Smith earned the title of “Empress of the Blues” by virtue of her forceful vocal delivery and command of the genre.

Her singing displayed a soulfully phrased, boldly delivered and nearly definitive grasp of the blues. In addition, she was an all-around entertainer who danced, acted and performed comedy routines with her touring company. She was the highest-paid black performer of her day and arguably reached a level of success greater than that of any African-American entertainer before her.

Bessie Smith was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1894. Like many of her generation, she dreamed of escaping a life of poverty by way of show business. As a teenager she joined a traveling minstrel show, the Moss Stokes Company. Her brother Clarence was a comedian with the troupe, and Smith befriended another member, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey (a.k.a. the “Mother of the Blues”), who served as something of a blues mentor. After a decade’s seasoning on the stage, Smith was signed to Columbia Records in 1923. Her first recording—“Down Hearted Blues” b/w “Gulf Coast Blues”—sold an estimated 800,000 copies, firmly establishing her as a major figure in the black record market. Smith sang raw, uncut country blues inspired by life in the South, in which everyday experiences were related in plainspoken language—not unlike the rap music that would emerge more than half a century later. She was ahead of her time in another sense as well. In the words of biographer Chris Albertson, “Bessie had a wonderful way of turning adversity into triumph, and many of her songs are the tales of liberated women.”

Bessie Smith was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

Read more about Bessie HERE . . .

In 2015, HBO produced a film called simply: Bessie and it starred Queen Latifah.  Here is the trailer from that film to give you the flavor of The Cabot event.

This exceptional event is being produced by Danny Melnick, President of Absolutely Live Entertainment

The Cabot is a 501 C3 Non Profit Organization
Tax Deductible Proceeds go to The Cabot 100 Capital Campaign