Stage Door News

Toronto: The Royal Alex will dim its marquee lights to honour Salome Bey on September 15

Monday, September 14, 2020

“Canada’s first lady of the blues,” which Salome Bey was often called, was also an award-winning theatre artist — actress, director and playwright — who played twice on the stage of the Royal Alexandra Theatre.  In 1973, she starred in the Broadway touring production of Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, a show that also featured such luminaries as Nell Carter and Sherman Hemsley.  In 1985 she starred in the holiday pantomime Mother Goose opposite Ross Petty and Andrew Sachs.

Born in Newark, NJ, Salome got her start in show business when she was a teenager on the stage of the Apollo Theatre on one of the venue’s famous amateur talent nights. After university, she joined her sister and brother and the three toured the world as a musical act. Coming to Toronto on one of their tours, the siblings visited an after-hours club. Salome met the club’s manager, Howard Matthews. In 1964, Salome moved to Toronto and the two married. While raising three children, Salome continued creating music and theatre in Toronto and on Broadway. Her groundbreaking revue, Indigo, an exploration of the history of Black music, was a commercial and critical hit that showcased the talents of African-Canadian artists.

“Salome was a remarkable artist and person,” said David Mirvish. “Toronto was blessed to have had her choose us as her home."

The theatrical life of Salome, who died on August 8th at the age of 86, will be marked by the dimming of the marquee lights of Canada’s oldest and most prestigious theatre, the Royal Alex, on Tuesday, September 15th, 8 PM.

Photo: Salome Bey.