Hot Funky Butt Jazz

Photo Credit: Bob Stacke

Hot Funky Butt Jazz cast: Zena Moses –  Marie Laveau star of the show, Messiah Moses Albert – young Louis Armstrong, Jeremy Phipps – Stringbean Russell, Michael Wolfe – Professor James London, Naa Mensah — Essie.

created by the INTERACT ENSEMBLE 
directed by JEANNE CALVIT
music and lyrics by AARON GABRIEL
in collaboration with New Orleans’ musicians ZENA MOSES, JEREMY PHIPPS, and EUGENE HARDING

Former Guthrie Artistic Director Liviu Ciulei once said that “a community can be measured by the questions its theater asks.”

That is what I love about the Dowling Studio – Level 9 at Guthrie Theater! Affordable tickets to original shows, many created by our local theater companies. They create art to help us understand and address important questions in our society.

That is exactly what Hot Funky Butt Jazz did. Beautiful, entertaining art while opening our eyes to the challenging beginning of jazz simultaneously reminding us that people with disabilities still face the same struggles today.

Photo Credit: Bob Stacke

Hot Funky Butt Jazz takes place in the early 1900s in Storyville, New Orleans’ infamous red-light vice district where many musicians like Jelly Roll Morton, Buddy Bolden, and Louis Armstrong grew up. The show is fun, full of life and tells the story of how it took strong, tenacious people to stand together against all odds to bring us “hot music” now known as jazz.

The full cast is made up of 50 actors with and without disabilities. As the show ended, I looked at the stage and thought…this is what “normal” really looks like not what society has taught me to believe. How it is up to me, us, the people to work to change the perceptions. I struggle with my own disability and have felt less. I was reminded that I’m not. That it is through our own hard times that we can create change. That diversity is everything. When we watch, listen, and hear the same things over and over, we become robots not people.

Go enjoy the magic of jazz and New Orleans!

Now through November 18, 2018.

Click HERE for tickets!

Photo Credit: Bob Stacke

The Interact Center’s mission is to create art that challenges the perceptions of disabilities. Read more at

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I'm a freelance content creator and photographer. My passion is telling stories through my photography and writing. Freelancing has allowed me to fulfill my dream of traveling alongside my freelancing husband and our rescue dog. We share our experiences on our blog offering inspiration for life and travel. We hope to stir your soul from our backyard in Minnesota to road trippin’ the US!

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