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Alia Jones-Harvey, Katori Hall and More Join BOLD to Discuss Black Women “At The Table”

Broadway Black

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Black girl magic was in full effect on Monday night at the Actors Equity building as an impressive panel gathered to discuss the position of black women in the production and performance of popular theater.

“At The Table: A Panel of Black Women Creating Change in Theatre” was hosted by Actors Equity Association in collaboration with BOLD, a thriving interest group committed “to building up black women in the performing arts for the restoration of culture.”

The panel included famed producer Alia Jones-Harvey (Eclipsed, Trip to Bountiful),  playwright Katori Hall (Mountaintop, Hurt Village), actor Jocelyn Bioh (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, playwright: Nollywood Dreams), Hi-Arts artistic director Kamilah A. Forbes and choreographer Camille A. Brown. (A Streetcar Named Desire, Fortress of Solitude).

Among the issues discussed was the opportunity for presence in an industry where African-Americans are severely underrepresented in both the audience and the art.  While Jones-Harvey has mastered innovative consumer outreach with partner Stephen Byrd, Hall, who now demands producer privileges in her contract, noted that she is often the only person of color in the creative room.

“Establish your rules and your voice from the start!  We have to write ourselves into existence. We are becoming the norm.”

According to choreographer Brown, she is working for the dances/dancers that were appropriated.

Katherine Dunham received no credit for her choreography in Cabin in the Sky. I’m speaking for myself but also those voices that have been silenced.”

When asked when she feels most brilliant, Brown responded, “for me, brilliance is in our resistance, power, and perseverance. I hear the stories of black folk- so rich and full. In spite of it all, we still rise and walk our paths. That’s brilliant!”

BOLD is a movement founded by Tia DeShazor and Destinee Rea that is driven by the belief that black women will change the world.
 
For more information on BOLD, visit Boldnyc.org

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Events and Happenings

Brennyn Lark, Allison Semmes, & More Featured in Darkness RISING: Live 2! A Mental Health Benefit Concert

Drew Shade

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Brennyn Lark

Join the Black Broadway community tonight, April 8th, as they perform inspirational cover songs at Darkness RISING: Live 2. The concert benefits Darkness RISING Nonprofit, an organization founded by Carlita Victoria, focuses on mental wellness in the Black community. Audience members will enjoy songs of hope from a range of genres: musical theatre, pop, R&B, and gospel under the musical direction of David Rowen of David Rowen Creative.

Darkness RISING Nonprofit is a mental health project with the goal of inspiring conversations about mental health, and helping to create access to mental health resources in the Black community in an effort to tell our stories and erase the stigma. The project was created as a means of Carlita facing her personal struggles with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. African Americans are 20% more likely to have serious psychological distress than other Americans. The project includes a newly released album on iTunes, a visual album on YouTube, live concerts, and free wellness workshops.

The event will be held at the Knitting Factory Brooklyn at 7 pm (doors open at 6:30pm) Located at 361 Metropolitan Ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The evening will include vendors, raffle prizes, a silent auction, and a full bar. $20 In advance, $25 At the door $40 VIP includes: Wristband, free drink, premier seating, swag bag, cast meet & greet. The show will be hosted by Broadway Black’s Drew Shade.

Tickets can be purchased at bkknittingfactory.com.

The cast features soloists:

Brennyn Lark, (DREAMGIRLS WEST END, LES MISERABLES BROADWAY)

Liisi LaFontaine (DREAMGIRLS WEST END, THE WINNER IS ABC)

Allison Semmes (MOTOWN BROADWAY, BOOK OF MORMON)

Gabrielle Reid (BEAUTIFUL THE MUSICAL, HAIRSPRAY BROADWAY, THE COLOR PURPLE NATIONAL TOUR),

Kris Roberts (BEAUTIFUL THE MUSICAL, FAME NATIONAL TOUR),

Jasmin Richardson (GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER, THE BODYGUARD NATIONAL TOUR)

JoNathan Michael (DREAMGIRLS INTERNATIONAL TOUR, FAME NATIONAL TOUR)

Cedrina Shari (BONEY M),

Anita Welch (AVENUE Q NATIONAL TOUR)

Gerard Williams (JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at North Carolina Theatre)

Nattalyee Randall (ROCKTOPIA)

Tamala Baldwin (DREAMGIRLS at NSMT)

Darkness RISING Founder, Carlita Victoria (HAIRSPRAY at Paramount Theatre).

The ensemble features Vlad Dorson, Valton Jackson (HALFTIME at PAPERMILL PLAYHOUSE), Ashley Jeudy (SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER at IVORYTON PLAYHOUSE), Nichollette Shorts (PHOENIX RISING), Sheniqua Trotman (DREAMGIRLS at IVORYTON THEATRE), David LaMarr (LITTLE MERMAID at TUACAHN), and Tatianna Mott (AVENUE Q at SMITHTOWN PAC).

Band memebers include: Ian Jess (Bass), Mark ‘Lace’ Gibbs (Guitar), Quinton Robinson (Drums), and David Rowen (Piano/Musical Director)

Darkness RISING: A Mental Health Awareness Project is sponsored, in part, by the
Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural
Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) and Fractured Atlas. For more info: darknessrisingproject.org. Follow: @darknessrisingproject.

 

 

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🌟 ALL STAR CAST 🌟 These amazing vocalists will be performing at Darkness RISING live 2. You will not want to miss this performance on April 8th. Link in bio for tickets. _____ Monday 4/8 7pm Knitting Factory Williamsburg _____ $20 in advance $25 at the door _____ $40 VIP: + Swag Bag + Premier seating + Free drink + VIP photo + Wristband + Cast meet & greet This event is made possible by @nyscouncilonthearts, administered by @bkartscouncil. _____ #promo #rise #Riseup #discount #dontmissout #nyc #nycevents #eventscalendar #livemusic #livesingers #inspirationalmusic #thingstodoinnyc #benefitconcert #musicheals #Brooklyn #citylife #knittingfactory #nightlife #nycnights #BroadwayBlack #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthmatters #Blackmentalhealth #DarknessRISING

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As someone who does their best to rise up every day in spite of depression & anxiety, mental healthiness, access to resources, and conversations particularly centering Black people are important to me. The @darknessrisingproject is doing the good work and I’m honored to be hosting their next benefit concert to further bring awareness and support for those in need. Join #broadwayblack along with some of Broadway’s finest voices April 8th, 2019 7 PM @knittingfactorybk to be uplifted and encouraged and also support the awesome organization that is @darknessrisingproject! 🔗 Link on bio for tickets! Thank you, @itscarlitav for your tireless efforts! What you’re doing is so important and necessary! That is #broadwayblack! 💜🙌🏽✊🏽

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Events and Happenings

Erika Dickerson-Despenza Addresses Flint Water Crisis with Cullud Wattah

Drew Shade

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Playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza

There is limited seating left for Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s new play CULLUD WATTAH at The Public Theater. Opening today, Thursday, March 7th and running until Sunday, March 10th in the Public Studio is about three generations of Black women living through the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

“It’s been 936 days since Marion’s family has had clean water. When local activists file a class action lawsuit against the city, Marion—a third-generation employee at General Motors—must decide how best to support her two daughters, sister, and mother while lead seeps into the community, their home, and their bodies. As corrosive memories and secrets rise among them, the family wonders if they’ll ever be able to filter out the truth.”

2018 Relentless Award Semifinalist and poet-playwright makes her Public Theater debut with CULLUD WATTAH directed by Lilly Award winner Candis C. Jones; the cast includes Deonna Bouye (Marion), Alana Raquel Bowers (Reesee), Caroline Stefanie Clay (Big Ma), Nikiya Mathis (Ainee), and Kara Young (Plum).

The creative team includes Production Stage Manager Gregory Fletcher, Stage Manager Priscilla Villanueva, and Movement Director Adesola Osakalumi. Along with scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, Costume Design by Ntokozo Fuzunina Kunene, lighting Design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, and sound design by Megan Culley

We believe in this work so much we’re giving away 4 tickets to the performances on March 10th. 2 tickets to the matinee and two the evening performance thanks to our founder Drew Shade and actress/playwright Jocelyn Bioh. Go to our Instagram to find out how!

Also, find out more about how you can help the Flint Water Crisis and support this show HERE.

Listen to Erika talk about her work on an episode of Off Book Podcast below

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