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Blind Lemon Blues (musical) (110-minute manuscript)



  • Full Length Musical
  • Drama
  • 110 minutes

  • Time Period: 1920s
  • Target Audience: Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13), Teen (Age 14 - 18), Appropriate for all audiences, Adult
  • Set Requirements: Bare Stage/Simple Set

  • Performance Group:
  • Community Theatre, College Theatre / Student, High School/Secondary, Senior Theatre
Blind Lemon Blues celebrates the legacy of Blind Lemon Jefferson and his profound influence upon the development of American popular music.

Jefferson was a blind street musician who played his guitar at the corner of Elm Street and Central Avenue in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas, Texas, until a Paramount Records scout discovered him. Between 1926 and his untimely death in 1929, Jefferson made more than 80 records and became the biggest-selling blues singer in America.

Set in New York City in 1948 at the last recording session of the legendary Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly, Blind Lemon Blues combines elements of traditional blues, gospel, rhythm and blues, soul, doo-wop and rap to evoke the enduring legacy of Blind Lemon and his contemporaries, Blind Willie Johnson, Lillian Glinn, Hattie Hudson, Bobbie Cadillac, Lillian Miller and Lead Belly himself. 


"The variety of the music is, in fact, the most surprising part of Blind Lemon's musical story. He didn't just write and sing the blues, he also wrote religious songs ("Lord, I Want to be Like Jesus in My Heart"), comedy numbers ("Fence Breakin' Yellin' Blues), and protest songs ("'Lectric Chair Blues"). And some of his songs were personal and deeply moving, like "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean." And while they were written more than eight decades ago, most of these songs remain very compelling, as is Blind Lemon's mostly forgotten story."

"Babatunde creates a larger-than-life icon. He captures the pain, joy, and earthy humor of Jefferson's country style."

"I listened to the music of Blind Lemon every day for five years," Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson has said about the artist whose music resonates throughout his plays. "Blind Lemon Jefferson was the voice of black America at that moment."


  • Casting: 3M, 3F
  • Casting Attributes: Minority casting, Room for Extras