We can add producer and content curator to his already rapidly growing resume as Tony and Grammy Award winner Billy Porter returns with a new studio album, Billy Porter Presents The Soul of Richard Rodgers, due for an April 14th release.
If you remember a few months ago, Broadway Black posted an article speculating what Porter was up to after he posted multiple photos in a recording studio with Amber Iman, Adrienne Warren, Rema Webb, Nicolette Robinson, and Leslie Odom, Jr., on social media. Well, it seems we were right to speculate there might be something in the works in the form of a full-fledged album.
The album, which features fresh, soulful takes on classic Richard Rodgers songs includes solos and duets from YouTube sensation and recent Kinky Boots alum Todrick Hall, Tony and Grammy winners Cynthia Erivo, Renee Elise Goldsberry, and Leslie Odom Jr., Tony Award winner Patina Miller, Tony nominees Joshua Henry, Brandon Victor Dixon, and Christopher Jackson, and Grammy winners and nominees India.Aire, Deborah Cox, and Ledisi.
“I’d like to think of this as the Richard Rodgers version of the Hamilton Mixtapes,” Porter said in a press release. “There are classic songs that everybody knows and loves, and I’m so excited for people to hear them in a brand new day.”
In March, Porter plans to launch a national tour, kicking off at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center in New York on March 19th.
Preorder the album here.
Michael R. Jackson’s “A Stange Loop” Musical at 54 Below Tonight
54 Below announced it’s newest “New Musicals at 54,” this time featuring Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop. New Musicals at 54 is a series that showcases new and diverse musicals by a selection of talented up-and-coming writers, many whose shows premiere in New York City for the first time.
From the Feinstiens/54 Below website:
Bookwriter and composer-lyricist Michael R. Jackson takes us on a concert-style jaunt through his seriocomic concept musical A Strange Loop. The show follows Usher, a black, gay musical theater writer who works as an usher in the back of the house at a long-running Broadway show. This show serves as the literal and metaphorical backdrop for the war he wages against the thoughts in his own head… while struggling to write a self-referential musical called A Strange Loop. The concert will feature several special guest stars who will portray Usher and an ensemble of men who will portray his thoughts manifested in forms including his parents, men on online sex apps, and Tyler Perry gospel play stage characters. A Strange Loop follows Usher as he fights to disrupt the static repetition he feels in his life… until he is swept into a painful confrontation with his long held negative perception of himself.
I for one am excited about this concert. As a person who fully believes in supporting new works, especially by people of color, A Strange Loop comes at an important time in theatre. Where we have a 45th street that is decorated with black and brown people and amazing things happening uptown and downtown alike.
A Strange Loop was developed with the support of Musical Theatre Factory and features Carl Ryan Clemons-Hopkins, Derrick Cobey, Elijah Caldwell, Nathan Lee Graham, Larry Hamilton, Darius Anthony Harper, James Jackson, John-Andrew Morrison, Larry Owens, Cartreze Tucker, Jamaal Clark Turpin, Jason Veasey, and Reggie D. White.
There is a cover charge that ranges from $30 – $40. An additional $5 will be charged if you purchase tickets at the door. The show is Tuesday April 26 at 7pm (doors open at 5:15) and 9:30 (doors open at 8:45) tickets can be purchased here.
Intiman Theatre Fest Features Black Women Playwrights
When it opens May 24, the 2016 Intiman Theatre Festival – in its fifth year – will place the greater Seattle area in the center of the national conversation about race and equity with a spotlight on Black women playwrights.
Festival passes are now on sale for a lineup that includes Lydia R. Diamond’s Stick Fly (May 24-June 19) and Alice Childress’ Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White (Sept. 6-Oct. 2).
The Festival also will feature the second year of its emerging artist program (June 27-Aug. 12). In an effort to diversify the theatre industry, 30 local artists will be selected for free professional training and development as they participate in a culminating showcase of Adrienne Kennedy’s work.
According to Producing Artistic Director Andrew Russell, “We’re having critical conversations right now – locally and globally – about race and equity; how we see ourselves and others, how we communicate across our differences, how we develop empathy and compassion for others.”
Having garnered more than $75,000 from 500-plus donors in two weeks for its online fundraising campaign, Intiman – with a 40-year history – demonstrates the appetite for such stories and artists.
The co-curator of the Festival is Valerie Curtis-Newton, head of acting, and director at University of Washington’s School of Drama and founder of theatre lab The Hansberry Project. “We believe that the stories these writers tell are important for everyone to hear. And we are just brave enough and just crazy enough to take the leap,” she said.
Additional Festival events include:
- Can You Hear Me Now? Plays by Black Women (July 12-16): A reading series of contemporary plays by Dominique Morisseau, Mfonsio Udofia, Tanya Barfield and Shontina Vernon as well as a sampler of work from Seattle-based writers.
- Untamed – Body, Hair Attitude (July 17-18): An evening of short plays presented by The Hansberry Project on themes of beauty, image and representation. Curated by Morisseau, works by Chisa Hutchison, Cori Thomas, Lenelle Moise, Jocelyn Bioh and Nikkole Salter will be featured.
- Black Women Wisdom (Sept. 23-25): A private summit for the participants with a public conversation facilitated by Curtis-Newton.
In 2016, Intiman will produce a festival dedicated to incredible American theatre written by award-winning black women, co-curated by nationally renowned director Valerie Curtis-Newton. #Intiman2016 Learn more and get involved: http://www.intiman.org Videography by Matt Holmes