Ethel Waters: His Eye is on the Sparrow

June 26, 2019 - August 10, 2019 |  Keating Theatre

This powerful musical biography celebrates the life of actress and singer Ethel Waters. From abject poverty to Broadway and Hollywood stardom, Ethel Waters crossed racial barriers to become a legend. No matter what challenges she faced, music gave Waters strength, solace, and success. This is her remarkable story, filled with the greatest hits of a lifetime, including “Stormy Weather,” “Sweet Georgia Brown,” "This Joint is Jumpin,'" and “Am I Blue?”

Run Time: 2 hours with a 15-minute intermission

Ethel Waters: His Eye is on the Sparrow by Larry Parr.

 View the Keating Theatre Seating Chart


Director  | Kate Alexander
Music Director  |  Dr. Justin P. Cowan
Scenic Designers  |  Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay
Costume Designer  |  Adrienne Webber
Lighting Designer  |  Nick Jones
Sound Designer/Supervisor  |  Thom Korp


Ethel Waters |  Jannie Jones*
Pianist | Jim Prosser

* Denotes member Actors’ Equity Association. The Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

JANNIE JONES (Ethel Waters) was most recently seen on the FST stage in back-back hit Cabarets, Guitar Girls (2019) and Blue Suede Shoes (2018). Earlier this year, she portrayed Lena Younger/Mama in the musical Raisin at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. Jones created the role of Annabella in Gathering Blue (World Premiere) at the Mt. Gretna Theatre and was Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone in A Night with Janis Joplin at Capital Rep. and the Barter Theatre. She performed with The Black Stars of the Great White Way with Tony Award-winners Norm Lewis & Andre DeShields and Emmy Award-winner Obba Babatunde at the National Black Theatre Festival. Catch her episode of The Get Down (Cool Herc’s Mom) on Netflix and Power on Starz. BROADWAY/ FIRST NAT’L BROADWAY TOURS: The Full Monty (u/s Annie Golden as Georgie) All Shook Up (Sylvia), Hair (Dionne) CARRE THEATRE: Mama, I Want to Sing (Sister Carrie), Faith Journey (Traci). She won an Audelco Award for August Wilson’s Fences (Rose) and A Bay Area Critics Award for Black Pearl Sings (Pearl). She received critical acclaim for two one-woman shows, My Castle’s Rockin’ (Alberta Hunter), and Ethel Waters: His Eye is on the Sparrow, both written by Larry Parr and premiering at Florida Studio Theatre. She can be heard on Barry White’s (CD) Practice What You Preach, and has performed at Carnegie Hall. 

JIM PROSSER (Piano) This season marks Jim’s 25th season as resident pianist in FST’s Cabaret, where he has arranged and co-developed many shows including: Guitar Girls, Unchained Melodies, Dancing In The Street, By Gershwin, European Cabaret, That’s Life Again, British Invasion, Too Darn Hot, Older Than Dirt, and  last season’s Mack the Knife and Blue Suede Shoes. He has served as Composer/Music Director for FST’s Education department, writing numerous scores for children’s shows such as Deck the Halls, Androcles and the Lion, RAP-Punzel, The Velveteen Rabbit, and the WRITE A PLAY Elementary Tours.  Jim is also a Music Director for FST Improv, for which he has played many shows including the improvised musical, When X Meets Y.



Bringing Ethel to Life: An Interview with Jannie Jones  |  READ


Healing Waters: From Poverty to Stardom by Michael Nichols  |  READ

Am I Blue: The Ethel Waters Story by Michael Nichols and Becca Jennings  |  READ

A Play's Journey: The Beginning of the Ethel Waters Story by Michael Nichols  |  READ


Learn More About Ethel Waters' Impressive Career Performing Onstage and Onscreen  |  READ

Watch Trailer for Pinky (1949), the Film That Earned Waters an Oscar Nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role |  WATCH

Watch Ethel Sing The Eponymous "His Eye is On the Sparrow" from the 1952 movie, The Member of the Wedding  |  WATCH