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Josephine Baker is focus of Miss Lottie's Cafe show

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Singer-dancer Josephine Baker was an iconic and groundbreaking star. She earned global fame, starting with the revues she performed in at the Folies Bergere in Paris in the 1920s.

She is credited with being the first person of color to star in a major film (1934’s “Zouzou”), but the stage was where the performer really thrived. She dazzled even her fellow luminaries. Ernest Hemingway once said Baker was “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw.” Shirley Bassey said, “I swear, in all my life, I have never seen, and probably never shall see again, such a spectacular singer and performer.”

Baker was politically active, too. During World War II, she helped the French Resistance, and, in the 1960s, she was involved in the Civil Rights Movement. (Coretta Scott King reportedly offered Baker the unofficial leadership of the movement after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.)

A show about Josephine Baker and starring Sharece M. Sellem of New Haven will be presented Friday at the Norwich Arts Center. It’s part of Miss Lottie’s Café, the NAC’s jazz series, and the timing couldn’t be better: it’s the start of Black History Month. 

Miss Lottie’s Café, 8 p.m. Friday, Donald L. Oat Theater, Norwich Arts Center, 62 Broadway; $20, $18 seniors, military and students, $17 NAC members; (860) 887-2789,



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