A Sensational Story of Unparalleled Success

Ada “Bricktop” Smith, a native of Alderson, WV and a celebrated Jazz Age personality, is brought to life in this World Premiere production. Full of music, both original and classic, this production will take the audience on a journey through the life of one of history’s most unique individuals.

 

Starring as the title character is singer and dancer Gabrielle Lee. This talented performer has had her fair share of success, both solo and with some very notable acts. She has performed with Steely Dan, Harry Belafonte and Natalie Cole, to name just a few. Her impressive resume also includes starring roles in Dreamgirls, Man of La Mancha and Little Shop of Horrors, as well as multiple TV/film appearances.

 Gabrielle Lee*, who will be portraying Ada “Bricktop” Smith in GVT’s upcoming World Premiere production of  Bricktop: Legend of the Jazz Age . (Photo Courtesy / Greenbrier Valley Theatre)  * denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Gabrielle Lee*, who will be portraying Ada “Bricktop” Smith in GVT’s upcoming World Premiere production of Bricktop: Legend of the Jazz Age. (Photo Courtesy / Greenbrier Valley Theatre)

* denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association.

A talented star such as Lee had no trouble connecting with a character like Bricktop, or with an audience. She found that she could charm a crowd with her personality, much like the title character, and could connect with anyone through her performances.

 

“I could talk to anyone from all walks of life, from all over the world – a natural connection was made. That was the real performance, not the song and dance,” said Lee. “That’s Bricktop! Bricktop was full of life and personality, a huge presence, a fun story teller and a welcoming Spirit.”

 

Feeling right at home onstage, with characters that shine so bright, Lee finds the process of bringing Bricktop to life both challenging and rewarding. Though research into such an elusive figure can be frustrating, the actor is finding that drawing on her own creativity is just as inspirational as the texts that she has read.

 

“This is a gift opportunity because I get to be the ‘artist’ like any painter painting a portrait. I get to create right here on my feet and build a story, bring a character to life,” the performer said.

 

Lee may have her work cut out for her, but between her talent, creativity and a determination that equals Bricktop’s, there’s no doubt this character will be a beacon of inspiration for all who see her. Lee’s only hope is that by the end of the show the audience is shouting for more.

 

This World Premiere production runs October 26 & 27 at 7:30 p.m., November 1-3 at 7:30 p.m. and November 8-10 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance November 3 at 2:30 p.m. and a Pay-What-You-Can Preview performance October 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 for general adult admission, $27 for seniors (60+) and $20 for children/students. For tickets or more information, call GVT’s Box Office at 304-645-3838 or visit www.gvtheatre.org. This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Arts, Culture & History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Laura Kastenbauer