His Eye is on the Sparrow is a musical biography of Ethel Waters with seamless transitions between telling stories of her life and singing her songs. Maiesha McQueen successfully carries the show for 2 hours with a single intermission and costume change, along with Darius Smith on piano.
The show began with the actress and pianist quietly walking into the room and onto the ground level stage without a grand announcement. She begins telling the stories of her birth to a mother that was raped and never wanted her, and then her lonely childhood after the death of her beloved aunt. From there, her story starts to unveil her relentless desire to achieve a better quality of life. She left her first husband who forbid her to go out singing and dancing, whom she married at the age of 13. Waters went to work as a maid. Not long after that, her voice fell upon the right ears and she started getting paid for singing. Although she had to overcome hardships and racism along the way, her success continued to grow until they knew her name around the world.
Along this biographical journey, songs such as “Old Man Harlem”, “Am I Blue?”, “Sweet Georgia Brown”, and “Heat Wave” are belted with no audible flaws along with the title song “His Eye is on the Sparrow”. It truly is a spectacular show worth experiencing to witness the flawless acting, singing, and piano playing of these two performers.
Get your tickets now! The show is only playing Portland Center Stage at The Armory through March 26th!