Oct 26-Nov 10: Bricktop – The Legend of the Jazz Age

I’m tired honey. Tired of staying up all night.”

So said nightclub impresario Bricktop in 1961, as she announced she was closing her eponymous Roman nightclub and moving back to the United States. By that time, Bricktop had lived an extraordinary life. And though she may have been tired, her days and nights continued to be filled with adventures and ventures that most of us can only imagine until her death in New York City in 1984.

From her humble roots in Alderson, WV to her nightclubs worldwide, Ada “Bricktop” Smith’s story is set to be told on the Greenbrier Valley Theatre stage in downtown Lewisburg, through stories and song.

GVT Producing Artistic Director Cathey Sawyer has devoted much of 2018 to penning this world premiere play, traveling from New York to Georgia and back again in order to access Bricktop’s archives and dispel (and confirm) some of the myths about the larger-than-life persona.

She was born in Alderson in 1894 to an Irish American father and black mother. Local residents were said to be quite taken by this extraordinary baby, with her fair skin, freckles, and red hair. “I was the talk of the town,” she wrote in her 1984 autobiography, Bricktop by Bricktop, “the first red-haired baby, Negro or white, born in that area in many a year.”

Bricktop was an expatriate… just ask Langston Hughes. Or F. Scott Fitzgerald or Cole Porter or Josephine Baker, or any number of the glamorous expats of 1920s and ‘30s Paris.. Through her nightclubs she created a home for the artists who’d come to France seeking equality, inspiration, and the freedoms of Jazz-Age Europe during the time of Jim Crow and American puritanical oppression.

Despite her humble beginnings in Paris, Bricktop’s charms and position as only the second black, female entertainer in Paris kept her on the fast track to fame among the city’s cultural elite. She became the toast of Jazz Age Paris, introducing Duke Ellington to Franklin D. Roosevelt (the two would become friends), hosting Cole Porter on the early morning stages, and rubbing elbows with royalty and multinational millionaires.

When Bricktop died at 89 in 1984, her obituary was published in the New York Times: BRICKTOP, CABARET QUEEN IN PARIS AND ROME, DEAD, read the headline. Greenbrier Valley Theatre is so excited for this larger-than-life character to be rejuvenated on the GVT stage. BRICKTOP: LEGEND OF THE JAZZ AGE by Cathey Sawyer will be on the GVT mainstage October 26 – November 10. Call the box office at 304-645-3838 or visit gvtheatre.org for more information and to purchase tickets.

– HashtagWV #106. October 2018.

Submit a Comment

Fall Fashion & Fun Things to Do w/ your Lewisburg City Paper!

Fall into Fashion & Things to Do w/ your Lewisburg City Paper! - Fall into Fashion as unique as you are at Wolf Creek Gallery in downtown Lewisburg. Since 1994, Deva Wagner (owner of Wolf Creek Gallery) has invested thousands of hours into this creative store to offer the coolest up-and-coming brands that have people stopping her clients in the streets. The store offers a selection of carefully curated […]

Stay Updated w/ HashtagWV!

Want to stay updated with the paper or thinking about advertising? Sign up today for the latest HASHTAGWV monthly newsletter!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Best Things to Do in Lewisburg, WV

Best Things to Do in Lewisburg WV! - Spending a day in Lewisburg? Here are a few of the best things to do while you’re visiting. Start your day at the Wild Bean coffee shop.  Located downtown, this cafe offers premium coffee, tea, veggie cuisine, wi-fi, entertainment, and more! The breakfast menu consisting of breakfast burritos, egg scrambles, breakfast sandwiches and granola w/ […]
"Over the last 10 years, we have tried several avenues for advertising. Beyond a doubt, our greatest return has been through HASHTAGWV. Whether it be in the HASHTAGWV print edition, or online, our customers, both locals and tourists, really do look for this media form to be in tune with what’s going on in the area and for destination shopping. Advertising with LBSPY (now HASHTAG) has unequivocally been a great asset for our business!" - Craig Miller w/ Serenity Now Outfitters. Ad rates start at just $20! Click here for MEDIA KIT  

LBMEDIAKIT
LBSPY-Testimonials1
Patrick4CMPLTshrp "LBSPY is the best thing that has happened in Greenbrier County since I have been here for seven years. Maybe the whole state.... a first class operation and a lot of hard work," Patrick O'Flaherty (pictured above), The Irish Pub, Lewisburg, WV

Donating = Loving

HashtagWV remains D.I.Y. in nature and it takes hundreds of hours a month to research and write, and thousands of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy and value in it, please consider making a one time or recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee at The Wild Bean and a good dinner at Food & Friends
Adam DeGraff "LB Spy always has their finger on the pulse of this community!" - Adam Degraff (pictured above), (The Weight/ The Dueling Fiddlers / Pianafiddle)

Instagram

  • Starting the day w/ the smoked salmon bowl and a good read featuring @retrodonutswv in this month’s paper. Pick us up or visit HashtagWV.com
...
#lewisburg #lewisburgwv #gotowv #igers_of_wv #wv_igers #simplygbv #greenbriercounty #eatlocally #retrodonuts #retrodonutsandmore #salmonbowl
  • Taste of our Town!!
...
#lewisburg #lewisburgwv #gotowv #greenbriercounty #wv_igers #igers_of_wv #eatlocally #toot2018 #toot #tasteofourtown #carnegiehall #andrewcarnegie #fundraiserevent #wehaveissues #hashtagwv #citypaper
  • #Repost @wang1963 at #ChinaPalace. Happy Birthday to my sweet & hard working sister @silverdragonlewisburgwv ! Love you to the moon and back! 🎉🎈🎊🎂🎁😘❤️
...
#lewisburg #lewisburgwv #gotowv #wv_igers #wv_captures #igers_of_wv #wildandwonderfulwv #simplygbv #greenbriercounty #eatlocally #smallbusinessesrock #silverdragon #chinesefoods #restaurantowners #hashtagwv #citypaper #birthdayballoons

Follow Us!

LBSPY ARTICLES

Wonder How HashtagWV Remains Free?

WONDER HOW HASHTAG LEWISBURG CITY PAPER REMAINS FREE? - Wondering how Hashtag Lewisburg City Paper gets published and distributed FREE every month in-print and online? Do we have wealthy parents or did one of us seduce a millionaire? No. Are we financed by bank loans or grant money? Nope, not that either. Until we hit it BIG in the lotto, every issue of HASHTAGWV comes […]