Pearl Bailey is a legend in the entertainment industry. At age fifteen, she won the famed Apollo Theater Amateur Contest and quit high school to star as a Vaudeville Entertainer during The Great Depression.
Pearl became the Janet Jackson/Beyoncé of her time in the 1930’s and 1940’s. This is the Pearl we’re bringing back to life on stage.
Pearl released close to thirty albums with countless hit songs, starred in movies; received an Emmy Award and the prestigious Tony Award. She defied segregation barriers marrying her soul mate, famed Italian/American drummer and orchestrator Louis Bellson, in 1952. Pearl was the first female African American entertainer to have her own network variety television show. Four United States Presidents awarded her the rank of Ambassador to the United Nations. And that’s only scratching the surface of this historic American icon’s life. PEARL is a story that is relevant to current social issues and needs to be heard in today's society.
PEARL is a dynamic musical drama revealing the intimate life and times of a true American icon. The book follows Pearl during the peaks of her phenomenal career, spanning more than five decades. We're introduced to the awesome influences and friendships that molded her. We're also given access to her personal pains and struggles, allowing us a glimpse into the humanity of a celebrity whose persona was larger than life. PEARL transports us through the Great Depression, World War Two, the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam, all via the magic of Music and Love.
Pearl Bailey was my aunt. She left an indelible mark in our family.
I’ve worked as an artist here in New York City for over 30 years performing, writing, directing and creating. I feel that now is the perfect time to share her story, struggles, accomplishments and legacy with the world.