First mystery solved: T.O.B.A. stands for Theatre Owners Booking Association, an all-African American traveling entertainment circuit in the '20s and '30s of the previous century. One wag remarks in this show that it also stood for Tough On Black Asses, which is a pretty good line and a summary of those entertainers' experiences. While recreating the music and comedy of black vaudeville, the staged numbers here are intercut with depictions of the brutal travel demands and racism the entertainers had to deal with. The show was conceived by Ronald "Smokey" Stevens and Jaye Stewart (with nods to stories by Langston Hughes), and it's an enjoyable evening that at times feels a bit thin. Much credit for the production's appeal goes to the skilled three-person cast, led by Yolanda Bruce as singer Bertha Mae. Benny S. Cannon and T. Mychael Rambo chip in as comedy duo Stewart and Stevens; the two share a loose and easy chemistry in both their comedic performances and... More >>>