New York City
Crossroads presents Cookin’ at the Cookery, about the music and times of blues legend Alberta Hunter, written and directed by Marion J. Caffey. The play takes the audience through the intriguing journey of Hunter’s life from the early days in Memphis to Chicago and on to the world’s stages. Her musical career included performing in the 1928 original Showboat with Paul Robeson and singing on the same stages as Josephine Baker. Also known as a songwriter, she wrote Bessie Smith’s biggest hit “Downhearted Blues.” Although her singing career flourished from the 1920s to the 1940s, by the 1950s she was out of work and went on to become a nurse. Hunter stopped singing for twenty years only to make a comeback at the age of eighty-two performing fifteen shows a week. The energetic performer became a hit at the Cookery in Greenwich Village and went on to release two new albums and become a popular talk show guest before her death in 1984 at the age of eighty-nine.