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Last Call at the Downbeat: The Dizzy Gillespie Story

Jazz vocalist, author, and playwright Suzanne Cloud spent about eight months researching Dizzy Gillespie’s life, and writing Last Call at the Downbeat: The Dizzy Gillespie Story. The production debuted in 2013 at the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. The mixture of music and monologue is being presented again during the first two weekends in April in The Red Room at the Society Hill Playhouse. It includes Philadelphia jazz sights and scenes, and reminisces of local jazz drummer Charlie Rice, whose own past is tied to the Downbeat, a once-thriving Center City jazz club at 11th and Ludlow.  Ticket information here.

Take a look at this video of the 2013 production of the play, performed during the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts:


Cloud is a co-founder of Jazz Bridge, a local non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the personal, financial, and health needs of local jazz musicians.

Jazz Bridge’s Suzanne Cloud on her play about Dizzy’s life, his meeting Charlie Parker when the two were in Earl Hines Big Band and the mission of her organization.