Klea Blackhurst
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Klea Blackhurst

Fee Range1: $ 7500 - $10000

Everything the Traffic Will Allow The Songs and Sass of Ethel Merman


American LegendsArts/Culture/MusicEntertainmentMusical Program




Klea Blackhurst

Klea BlackhurstEverything the Traffic Will Allow The Songs and Sass of Ethel Merman

Klea Blackhurst – the “jolly broth of a lady with a voice the size of a TWA terminal,”(The New York Observer) took New York by storm in 2001 with this award-winning and critically acclaimed tribute to Ethel Merman and the show has continued to wow audiences and critics alike nationwide ever since. 

“Klea Blackhurst is engaged, trained and talented enough to give us wonderful intimations of Merman the performer without being crushed by her. And she is smart enough and a good enough writer to turn the story of Merman’s star power into a folk tale. We were watching a real talent, a performer we knew could delight us without ever singing a note that had once been commandeered by Ethel Merman. We were not in thrall to the past: we were watching an interpretation of it that turned into something new.” —Margo Jefferson, New York Times April 19, 2001 

Everything The Traffic Will Allow is Klea Blackhurst’s loving tribute to the songs made famous by the legendary stage personality Ethel Merman. The concert highlights what is arguably the greatest body of show music ever written for a single performer featuring such songs as “I Got Rhythm” from Girl Crazy, “You’re the Top/Blow Gabriel, Blow” from Anything Goes, and “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from Annie Get Your Gun. Also present are Merman ballads such as, “Just a Moment Ago” from Happy Hunting and “I Got Lost in His Arms,” from Annie Get Your Gun that show a tender contrast to the brash staccato that made Merman famous. Merman aficionados will recognize “World Take Me Back,” and original song written especially for her from Hello, Dolly! that was cut when she chose not to do the original run of the show. When Merman finally agreed to play the title role of Dolly Levi on Broadway in 1970 for more than 200 performances, composer Jerry Herman returned the song to the show. Everything The Traffic Will Allow is not a recreation of Ms. Merman, but a paean to the great Broadway legend and serves as a potent and happy reminder of Ethel Merman’s sheer, undeniable importance to both the history of twentieth century entertainment and to the unbridled jubilation of show business at its best. 

Klea herself has been praised by the New York media for both her “extraordinarily exciting singing” and her “humor and ebullience.” Additionally, and in a succinct display of the insight and the capacity for communication that enabled her to write such a vehicle for herself the entertainer has offered, “Ethel Merman embodies the music, the legend, and the style I was practically weaned on and that I long to express as a performer. Once I was old enough to realize the full impact of Merman’s talents on the Broadway stage, I kept her close to my heart and championed everything about her (including) her wicked sense of comedy. She was dazzling and gutsy, raising the bar to remember not just what she looked like or sounded like, but what she inspired in those who were propelling theater music forward at the time.” 

Among many accolades Everything The Traffic Will Allow earned Klea the inaugural Special Achievement Award from “TimeOut New York” magazine and it was named one of the “Top 10 Theatrical Treasures & Pleasures of 2005” by The Austin Chronicle. The recording of Everything The Traffic Will Allow (Ghostlight Records) was named one of the top ten show albums of 2002 by Talkin’ Broadway.com. 

Klea’s theatre credits include the dual roles of Bernice/Marilyn in the Off Broadway production of Bingo; Nails O’Reilly Duquesne in Red, Hot and Blue at San Francisco’s 42nd Street Moon (Bay Area Critics Circle Award as Best Actress); Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven; the role of Debbie, the perpetually enthusiastic drummer in the original Off Broadway production of Oil City Symphony at Circle in the Square Downtown; originating the role of Rennabelle in the world premiere production of Radio Gals at Arkansas Rep and subsequent regional productions culminating in an Off Broadway run at the John Houseman Theatre; and the role of Hippolyta in By Jupiter in the York Theatre’s Musicals in Mufti series. 

Klea’s television and radio appearances include “The Caroline Rhea Show”, “The Rosie O’Donnell Show”, “Sesame Street”, “Law and Order: SVU” and “A Prairie Home Companion”. Klea is featured on the newly released Julie Styne in Hollywood, on the PS Classics label. Klea can also be heard on the original cast recordings of Bingo and Radio Gals as well as “Lost in Boston IV,” “Unsung Irving Berlin,” and “The Best of Off Broadway.” The recordings of “Everything the Traffic Will Allow” and “Autumn in New York: Vernon Duke’s Broadway, “are on the Ghostlight Records label.

To book this speaker please visit www.cassidyandfishman.com or call 508.485.8996