The tour that altered us forever
On one side of the stage, the story is told and narrated by a white prize winning journalist who covered the tour, which followed the lunch counter sit-ins all across the south in that smoldering summer, the journalist, who wrote a series of articles called “When the Fat Man Sang,” he told how it all happened, and along the way, had a burning love affair with a black female singer (who was in the show), the tour changed his life and hers (and the rest of the world) forever; on the opposite side of the stage, songwriter writer Dave Bartholomew tells the story of legendary rhythm and blues singer “Fats Domino” who headlined the tour and was at the center of multiple death threats), Dave Bartholomew, who told, and saw it all, had met Fats at a little club in Cleveland up on the hillside next to a Blueberry patch… and wrote number ONE song called “Blueberry Hill,” it sold 25 million singles by 1955 (95% were black buyers), with hits like “Walking to New Orleans,” “My Blue Heaven,” “I’m Walking,” “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” “Let the Four Winds Blow,” etc., his story and all their hits run in and out of the show. Black/white kids sat together in the audience and black/white performers sang together on stage (in the audience)… and by the end of the tour, some black/white families saw the shows. Some black/white families boycotted the tour… Martin Luther King went to the mountain top, segregationists turned dogs loose on lunch counters and Fire Marshals tired to close down the show during the last week of the show outside Little Rock High School, the National Guard “stepped” away and allowed integration to take place “peacefully” as the sun set on that historic day. The kids at that school held up signs saying “Fats Domino for President.” The tour had altered us forever, a white journalist, a black song writer and an integrated America all brought together by the infamous “Irvin Feld”… a little drugstore pharmacist from Washington, DC, and a piano player with processed hair and shiny rings on every finger… it all happened “When the Fat Man Sang.”