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A Night With Jackie Moms Mabley
Anacostia Art Center
Washington, DC
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Wednesday Oct 02, 2019 7:00 PM - Sunday Oct 06, 2019 3:00 PM | $30.00


A Night With Jackie Moms Mabley
"A Night With Jackie "Moms" Mabley," is an honorific evening of zingers about
everything from sexuality to racism. Delivered with political correctness, Loretta Mary Aiken, better known as Jackie "Moms" Mabley endured sexual, racial and political oppression while paving the way for many of the women actors we enjoy today. A Night With Jackie Moms  Mabley was a 1996 Helen Hayes Award nominated play for the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play.

About Moms Mabley

Loretta Mary Aiken (March 19, 1894  May 23, 1975), known by her stage name Jackie "Moms" Mabley, was an American standup comedian. A veteran of the Chitlin' circuit of African-American vaudeville, she later appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

Early years
Loretta Mary Aiken was born in Brevard, North Carolina on March 19, 1894 to James Aiken and Mary Smith, who married on May 21, 1891, in Transylvania County, North Carolina. She was one of a family of 16 children. Her father owned and operated several businesses, while her mother kept house and took in boarders. Her father, a volunteer fireman, died when a fire engine exploded when Loretta was eleven. In 1910, her mother took over their primary business, a general store. She was run over by a truck while coming home from church on Christmas Day.

By age 14, Mabley had been raped twice and had two children who were given up for adoption. At age 14, Mabley ran away to Cleveland, Ohio, joining a traveling vaudeville show, where she sang and entertained.

She took her stage name, Jackie Mabley, from an early boyfriend, commenting to Ebony Magazine in a 1970s interview that he had taken so much from her, it was the least she could do to take his name. Later she became known as "Moms" because she was indeed a "Mom" to many other comedians on the circuit in the 1950s and 1960s. She came out as a lesbian at the age of twenty-seven, becoming one of the first openly gay comedians.

During the 1920s and 1930s she appeared in androgynous clothing (as she did in the film version of The Emperor Jones with Paul Robeson) and recorded several of her early "lesbian stand-up" routines. Mabley was one of the top women doing stand-up in her heyday, eventually recording more than 20 albums of comedy routines. She appeared in movies, on television, and in clubs.

Mabley was one of the most successful entertainers of the Chitlin' circuit, earning $10,000 a week at Harlem's Apollo Theater at the height of her career. She made her New York City debut at Connie's Inn in Harlem. In the 1960s, she became known to a broader audience, playing Carnegie Hall in 1962, and making a number of network TV appearances, particularly her multiple appearances on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour when that CBS show was number one on television in the late 1960s, which introduced her to a whole new Boomer audience.

Mabley was billed as "The Funniest Woman in the World". She tackled topics too edgy for many other comics of the time, including racism. One of her regular themes was a romantic interest in handsome young men rather than old "washed-up geezers", and she got away with it courtesy of her stage persona, where she appeared as a toothless, bedraggled woman in a house dress and floppy hat. She also added the occasional satirical song to her jokes, and her (completely serious and melancholy) cover version of "Abraham, Martin and John" hit #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 19 July 1969. At 75 years old, Moms Mabley became the oldest living person ever to have a US Top 40 hit (Louis Armstrong, who would have been 86 when "What a Wonderful World" became a hit in 1988, is the oldest overall, although Armstrong was younger than Mabley when the song was recorded).

Personal life
Mabley had six children: Bonnie, Christine, Charles, and Yvonne Ailey, and two given up for adoption when she was a teenager. She died from heart failure in White Plains, New York on May 23, 1975. She is interred at Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, New York.

About the Artists

Charisma Wooten was born in North Carolina and raised in Morocco, Europe and the United States.  She is a graduate of the University of Maryland. She wrote her first play when she was in 7th grade and has never stopped. She has performed as a featured soloist in Germany and France in such works as Messiah and The Seven Last Words of Christ. She has also performed as a background vocalist with such artists as Philip Bailey, Deniece Williams, Bernard Mavritte, Myrna Summers, Albertina Walker and Aretha Franklin to name a few.  She has performed with jazz notables Marshall Keys, Beverly Cosham, Lawrence Wheatly and Stef Scaggiari.  As an actor she has performed in works ranging from Macbeth to Aint Misbehavin and The Wiz.  Many of Charismas plays have premiered at the National Theatre in Washington, DC: "The Old Landmark," "Carries Dream" and "Abishag: A Song of Solomon."  A veteran actor/singer/playwright, she has toured throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa.  She has performed at the University of Marylands Scott Gliner Center for Humor Studies, the historic Karamu Theatre, the Fords Theatre, Blues Alley, Charlies Georgetown, The Marquee Lounge, The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Corcoran Gallery, Source Theatre, Studio Theatre, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Washington Performing Arts Society, and is currently enjoying a 10 year run at Germanos Cabaret Theatre in Baltimore, MD. She was nominated by the Washington Area Music Award for a WAMMIE as Best Cabaret Theatre Artist  in 2011 and is a member of several choral societies, soloist at several Washington, DC churches, a member of the Central Maryland Chorale and a member of the choir and Ministerial Staff of Refreshing Spring Church of God in Christ.

Everett P. Williams, Jr. has a Bachelor of Performance and a Masters Degree in Music Education from Oberlin University, Ohio.  He is a past performer/accompanist with Voices, Inc. (a Harlem based Theatre Repertoire Company).  He is recently retired from the Montgomery County Public School System as a Music Educator and is now Adjunct Professor of Piano at Bowie State University.  He is Director of Music and Liturgical Arts at Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington, DC.


Anacostia Art Center (View)
1231 Good Hope Road, SE
Washington, DC 20020
United States


Arts > Theatre
Comedy > Stand Up

Minimum Age: 16
Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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