Members say: Great singing, Slow, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing

About the show

The world premiere musical 'Lonesome Blues' is the true story of the legendary bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson: born blind, but ultimately able to express his deepest emotions through music.

... Read more

Discovered on a street corner in the Deep Ellum section of Dallas, Texas in 1925, Jefferson made more than 80 records over the next four years, becoming one the most prolific and influential performers of his generation and propelling the growth of rhythm and blues, soul, doo-wop, rap, and hip-hop.



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$56 Orchestra

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85
Wolf Entertainment Guide

"It is a tour de force performance, with the actor-singer ruminating on Jefferson’s life and singing his repertoire. Developing a distinct, wounded personality, he exhibits the inner longings and passions that Jefferson expressed, in addition to singing a vast number of songs in the style associated with the man who had such an influence on the art of the blues...To the credit of Babatundé, one comes away with a solid impression of the man and his life." Full Review

80
Theater Pizzazz

“Though Babatundé’s Texas accent, likely close to authentic, makes it difficult to understand some of what’s being said, the performer delivers forceful personification. Confident vocals slip/slide with terrific range and evocative accentuation. Lyrics that insinuate do so with flair. The actor somehow communicates Jefferson’s blindness. Overall feel of Jefferson’s oeuvre is spot on. That material runs one into the next a bit too similarly seems the fault of eliminating other voices.” Full Review

80
Show Showdown

"Akin Babatundé is giving a heck of a concert in 'Lonesome Blues' at the York. Babatundé's voice travels from pure falsetto to rumbly bass and back again, and it can thrill every step of the way...However, 'Lonesome Blues' is billed as a musical rather than a concert, and on that level it is less successful...Unfortunately, his story is not clear as written, performed, and directed, and it can be hard to tell who he's talking to and what he's saying. As a result, the show is never really eng... Full Review

75
DC Metro Theater Arts

“The show is sometimes confusing and lacking in fluidity, suffering from truncated musical numbers, abrupt shifts in character, and staccato breaks between the random thoughts being recounted. And the context in which the story is set doesn’t become clear until the closing song...But like the style of the music itself, ‘Lonesome Blues’ is more about feeling than narrative, and Akin Babatundé skillfully delivers.” Full Review

73
City Cabaret

"In an evocative production, the York Theatre Company's world musical salutes Blind Lemon Jefferson...'Lonesome Blues' is not exciting theater. It is not even great fun but its emotion honors the soul of the blues with innovative performances by Babatundé accompanied on guitar by David Weiss. Directed by Katherine Owens, Babatundé poetically expresses Jefferson's era and his psyche, shouting or moaning feelings as he traces his life." Full Review

67
Front Mezz Junkies

“The storytelling in this creation is a tad convoluted, rarely finding its spirit and the internalized beat. The singing wanders around from good to impressive but never hitting that emotional high we keep waiting for. Oddly enough, Babatundé is more engaging when he takes on the voice and mannerisms of the ladies who came into his life. He seems to connect to their internal life more clearly, as the rest of the time, the threads of Jefferson don’t come together in a compelling narrative.” Full Review

65
Theatre's Leiter Side

"His narrative, delivered in a thick Southern drawl, is sketchy and poetic, with a number of sequences in which Babatundé changes his voice to play various characters…The script plays second fiddle to over 30 songs…Most of the blues songs…are in the classic vein, but this creates a sense of repetitiveness over the course of the show's intermissionless hour and 25 minutes…The result is a biographically inflected blues concert for aficionados, not the wider public." Full Review

60
TheaterScene.net

“Features Babatundé’s awesome performance...but unfortunately muddled storytelling...There’s a lack of background information imparted and so despite the great renditions it becomes stultifying...In the second half...the narration is more connected to the musical portions as it successfully concludes...Owens brings presentational polish to the production with her assured staging that injects as much momentum as possible given the problematic material.” Full Review


85
Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Blusey

See it if If you like the blues or American roots music. Of if you just like to hear the unamplified voice of a great singer

Don't see it if If you don't care for the blues or American roots music

Also If you like the blues or American roots music you'll love this. A one ... Read more Read less

85
Ambitious, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you like Texas blues. Blind Lemon is the foundation of this genre. An incredible musician to learn about.

Don't see it if you don't like one-man shows. Exploring new themes.

81
Delightful, Cliched, Slow, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You're interested in music history especially forgotten hero types.

Don't see it if you need a multi-layered complex plot or don't like one-man shows.

80
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Profound, Great singing

See it if You like blues, you like history of music, for a nice night out, Mr Babatunde became all the characters he portrayed. Great singing too

Don't see it if You don't like blues, or one man shows. Or if you expect elaborate stage or sets. Just sit back and enjoy

77
Absorbing, Slow, Great singing

See it if You like old 1920s and earlier blues. You’re interested in the life of Blind Lemon Jefferson. You want to hear great singing.

Don't see it if You want something lighthearted or modern. You want a show with a definite plot or in depth anecdotes. You don’t like the blues.

Also Great singing and interesting subject matter. I took someone who was n... Read more Read less

76
Absorbing, Intelligent, Great singing

See it if Wonderful blues music

Don't see it if Don’t like blues music

76
Delightful, Refreshing, Relevant, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You like blues music and learn about struggle of a blind musician during great depression.The music was great and the actor was entertaining

Don't see it if You do not like one man show or blues music per se. there is no intermission and the elevator (few flights down) was out of order.

Also It is difficult and too much pressure when it was one act/man show but... Read more Read less

75
Ambitious, Indulgent, Slow

See it if You are a Blues enthusiast or interested in musical history. Great guitar, some good singing but sounds too much the same.

Don't see it if You have no interest I the Blues and like a lot of action.

60
Disappointing

See it if you want to see a one-man show that is mostly singing.

Don't see it if you want to see more acting than singing.

Also I really wanted to love this. My preference would be to see Blind Lemo... Read more Read less

87
Enchanting, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You like the blues and an imaginative retelling of one of the greatest blues musicians of which people know little about.

Don't see it if You don't like one-man shows, or the blues.

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy a strong performance from a captivating actor

Don't see it if you dislike one-person shows.

85
Ambitious, Resonant

See it if you enjoy old school blues music performed by an incredible guitarist, and one man shows.

Don't see it if You don't like one man shows or musicals based off of real people/events.

89
During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Riveting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if you want to see a compelling summary of the life of a blues great

Don't see it if you don't like blues or one man shows

85
During previews
Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Must see, Slow, Great singing

See it if want to know more about Lemon Jefferson and his legend.

Don't see it if you don't like solo shows.

83
During previews
Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if You enjoy old-time blues / jazz

Don't see it if you don't enjoy "blues/jazz"

82
During previews
Delightful, Great acting, Indulgent, Great writing, Dated

See it if You love blues. You want history of great depression while being seranated by a man, his cane, and a guitarist.. you don't expect much.

Don't see it if You dont like one man, blues songs.. if you can't read this or the title of show hinting you about it. Want a spectacle with lots movement.

82
During previews
Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if Akin Babatunde is quite engaging and the guitarist David Weiss plays some mean Blues cords. Enjoyable 80 minutes of the Blind Lemon Blues.

Don't see it if You only like big production and casts. This is a quiet storytelling with great lighting of a show.

80
During previews
Great acting, Masterful, Slow, Great singing

See it if You love blues, interested in history of Americana music-blues. Akin a masterful engaging singer & actor accompanied by super guitarist.

Don't see it if Don't like The Blues,one man shows or expect traditional musical theater. It's not a fluffy or"Disney-fied" production, nor truly a concert

Also Production itself falls short on aiding the understanding Blind Lemon ... Read more Read less

80
During previews
Slow, Great singing, Great guitarist

See it if You enjoy the blues.

Don't see it if You dislike one man shows and/or expect to learn much about BLJ.

80
During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great singing

See it if You’re curious the history of 20th Century Blues. It’s a bit confusing but the performance is stellar

Don't see it if You’re looking for a straight play.

79
During previews
Ambitious, Great acting, Slow, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you know who Blind Lemon Jefferson was or you love the blues or you are curious about famous musicians who were almost lost to history.

Don't see it if you don't like The Blues or one person (with a great accompanist ) shows that are probably 10 minutes longer than they should be.

79
During previews
Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You like want learn abt Blind Lemon, or like blues music. Singing was fantastic.

Don't see it if If you don't like rhythm and blues or musicals

78
During previews
Great music, Guitarist rocks, Awesome backdrop

See it if you love music particularly blues and country blues. See it if you adore great guitarist, this one rocks.

Don't see it if you don’t appreciate blues.

77
During previews
Intelligent, Masterful, Great singing

See it if You get the blues, love the blues, feel the blues. Babatundé sings the story in familiar and obscure songs ‘til you feel it in your bones.

Don't see it if You need a linear storyline. This is told as memories, almost pure song, and the truth is elusive.

Also This has nothing to do with the play, but with the theater itself. The... Read more Read less

77
During previews
Great acting

See it if you like the blues, one man shows,great singing,and biographical material.

Don't see it if you dislike one man shows and blues music.