The story is one for the ages. A bright-eyed and talented small town girl heads to the big city to pursue her dreams. A Classic Theatre brings this age-old tale new life, however, in their production of “Sweet Emmaline: The Musical Journey of Debbie McDade.” The true story follows St. Augustine’s own Debbie McDade on her trek to New York City. “She became friends with Louis Armstrong,” says Anne Kraft, A Classic Theatre board director, “tried on several different stage names, sang with big name bands of the era, and had a career that took her around the world.”
The play features some St. Augustine talent to showcase the local star. The title role is played by popular blues singer, Mama Blue (middle), while Soranda Louis (left), a Flagler College Theatre Arts student, plays Amanda. Curtis Tucker (right), Artistic Director of First Coast Opera, makes a cameo appearance.
A Classic Theatre, a non-profit company, works to bring historical and original productions to the Oldest City. The show’s director, Deborah B. Dickey, is a frequent contributor and “Sweet Emmaline” is her third original work with the company.
The show’s heroine returned to live in Lincolnville in 1976 after a successful musical career and, to the delight of the cast and crew, was present at Sunday’s show. “McDade is celebrating her 91 birthday in May of this year,” says Kraft, “What a fitting birthday present for this remarkable, talented woman!”
The production will run at Lincolnville’s Museum & Cultural Center, located at 102 ML King Ave, Sunday, May 8 at 3pm and from Monday through Thursday May 12 at 7:30pm. Tickets can be purchased online at www.aclassictheatre.org. For ticket reservations or questions, call 904-501-5093 or email [email protected]