Washington theatergoers are enjoying the serendipitous opportunity this fall of seeing and experiencing productions about Bessie Smith and Nina Simone, two of the most compelling figures in the annals of female blues and jazz performers.
At the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE, Mosaic Theater Company has already begun its third season under its founding artistic director, Ari Roth, with “The Devil’s Music: The Life & Blues of Bessie Smith” by Angelo Parra. The show runs through Sept. 24 in the Theresa and Jane Lang Theatre, with the multi-talented and multitasking Miche Braden in the title role.
Later this fall, from Nov. 10 to Dec. 24, Arena Stage, 1101 6th Street SW, will bring Christina Ham’s “Nina Simone: Four Women” to its Kreeger Theater. Harriett D. Foy stars in this exploration of Simone’s dynamic and often troubled life.