We celebrate some of the ladies of Jazz who musically touched Billy Strayhorn. We Salute:

Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, Marian McPartland, Hazel Scott, Ivie Anderson, Kay Davis, Joya Sherrill and Carmen McRae, just to name a few.

The musical tells the captivating story of musical genius Billy Strayhorn as he navigates a world rife with homophobia and racism: We see him develop relationships with jazz legends Duke Ellington and Lena Horne as well as his romantic partner for several years, Aaron Bridgers. Nominated for 8 awards, WHEN JAZZ HAD THE BLUES won in 3 categories: Best Musical Direction, Best Ensemble Cast and Best Set Design. Its initial production was at the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles.

The 27th annual theatre awards ceremony was held February 26th at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. The mission of the NAACP Theatre Awards is to entertain, educate and inspire as well as create diversity in the arts and entertainment industry.


The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance, by Mark Whitaker, profiles a number of notable black figures from Pittsburgh and explores the intersection of their lives from the 1920s to the 1950s. Each personality, in separate chapters, provides an entree into a major “Smoketown” social, political or cultural development, be it sports, entertainment, the media or the arts.  You can read an excerpt below, highlighting the relationship of Pittsburgh residents Billy Strayhorn and Lena Horne.