Premiere performance of When the Swan Sings on Hastings by Detroit author and playwright Thomas Galasso; with special guests Marsha Battle and actor Treyvon Carter. Musical selection by Arthur Ray, direct descendant of Bessie Smith, the Empress of the Blues.
Detroit, 1956—Cars were rolling off the assembly line, jobs were plentiful, and some great music was being created and performed in a district called Paradise Valley. The Valley’s main artery, Hastings Street, was the center of it all. Paradise Valley was an exciting collage of culture—jazz and blues, vice and illegal numbers running—a mecca for after-hours establishments where blues greats like John Lee Hooker and jazz giants like Dizzy Gillespie often played until well into the morning hours. Its businesses were mainly black-owned and everyone seemed to look out for one another. However, all that changed when “urban renewal” caused Paradise Valley to recreate itself and to relocate in an age of racial segregation.When The Swan Sings On Hastings is a journey through the underbelly of Paradise Valley, its circle of musicians, numbers runners, hustlers, business owners and the everyday inhabitants struggling to deal with the loss of their neighborhood.