Making The Music
The Dallas Theater Center’s Stagger Lee is the story of black Americans searching for a better life — from the Great Migration through the civil rights era and beyond. It was co-composer Justin Ellington’s idea to move the musical across decades, creating a mini-history of 20th-century American music. Here, Ellington shows us how he shifted chords and bent notes to evoke musical styles that defined their time and place — from Mississippi in the 1890s to Detroit in the 1980s. You’ll see how his early ideas are incorporated into later versions of the show and get a feel of each decade and city from vintage footage.