New York City
Waiting for a Train: The Life and Songs of Jimmie Rodgers follows the musician’s path using drama, song and dance along with images of the early 20th century. The play explores Rodgers’ childhood adventures performing in medicine shows, his work on the railroad and his early tutelage from black musicians he encountered during these formative stages. The interwoven plot provides brief glimpses of his partnership with Ralph Peer who produced his recordings for the Victor label, his relationship with his wife Carrie and his collaborations with other songwriters and recording artists including Louis Armstrong and the Carter Family.
One of the first recording artists to sell a million records, Jimmie Rodgers was born in Mississippi, but performed more in Texas than anywhere else in the world. His 111 recorded songs include “Blue Yodel (T for Texas)”, “Waiting for a Train” and “In the Jail House Now”. His influence on popular music was profound and inspired countless artists. Tom Piazza of the New York Times writes “his career was a meeting point for images and folk material from the American South and West, from black and white traditions, and it offered clues to ways in which that material could be blended into the mainstream of popular music.” In recent years Rodgers’ work has inspired numerous tribute albums by the likes of Merle Haggard and Bob Dylan, who wrote in his liner notes: “Jimmie Rodgers is one of the guiding lights of the 20th century … a blazing star whose sound was and remains the raw essence of individuality in a sea of conformity, par excellence with no equal.” The first artist to be inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame, Rodgers’ success helped the popularity of phonograph machines, recordings and guitars. An East African tribe even chose him for a deity. In 1986 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In addition to the regular schedule, two Saturday matinees are arranged for September 16 and 30 at 2:30 PM.