During the 1930s, America was strife with racism, and lynchings of African Americans were common. In response, the writer, Abel Meeropol wrote a protest poem called 'Strange Fruit'. Turned into a song, it was most famously sung by Billie Holiday at the Cafe Society in 1939. The Cafe Society was New York's first integrated nightclub that strove to treat black and whites equally, and described itself as 'the wrong place for the right people'.
In 2012, Alex Webb wrote a musical about the Cafe Society. It told the story of its idealistic left-wing beginnings in 1938, to its demise in 1949 due to anti-Communist hysteria. During its eleven years, the club saw some of the finest musicians take to the stage, including Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Big Joe Turner, and Nat King Cole.
Cafe Society Swing debuted at the Tricycle theatre and received rave reviews; then in 2013 it had two sell out performances on the West End. Now the Musical returns to Leicester Square Theatre with a new cast that will perform the jazziest songs of the twentieth century. Tickets are £20, with shows on the 17th, 18th, 20th, and 21st June.