Dwight is in the cut sipping whiskey. Rhonda figures you can’t win the
lottery if you don’t play. Young Theo has a new gospel record out that
they’ve been spinning a lot on the radio, “especially in the south.” Sure,
Theo. Tell it to your girlfriend nobody’s ever met.
These are the regulars at Ricky’s Place. They’ll take turns singing later
on because they feel like it, as good a reason as any, and because they’re
in a play about people at a decadent blues bar who do nothing but sing old
songs all night and sit around wearing satin, a reason that’s not so great.
The house band’s warming up behind them. Check out Robert Reddrick, the
drummer; dude’s ripping. Why are blues bands always funkiest during sound
check? Oh, hey. Ricky just got here. Hi, Ricky. How are you?
Rick Stone you might know from real life as the actor Rick Stone, or from
his iconic 1975 film debut as the stick-up kid Rick Stone in Cooley High. Stone’s main role at the Black Ensemble Theater,
where he’s been performing for 30 years, is himself—and Howlin’ Wolf, whose
blistering voice his channels without parody. Tonight, over the course of
90 minutes that are not exactly a play, not a concert, not church, but a
mixture of the three, Stone will sing the real down-and-dirty blues with
total absorption. “Hey, Dwight,” he’ll say. “Remember when blues was king
in Chicago?” v