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Harlem Stage Announces 2015-2016 Lineup

Broadway Black

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The award-winning arts organization Harlem Stage recently announced its 2015-2016 season, securing their reputation as one of the leading performing arts media in the community.

“This season stands out as one that truly honors Harlem’s longstanding heritage as a cultural trailblazer,” boasted Brad Learmonth, Harlem Stage Director of Programming.  “The artists we are presenting honor, celebrate and understand the legacy they draw from and, because of that firm footing, are creating new forms that will define the future in exciting and lasting ways. We cannot wait to experience their genius and share it with the world.”

Housed at the state-of-the art performance space, Harlem Stage Gatehouse, this season touts a bevy of culturally enriched, historic and enlightening pieces by “visionary artists of color.”

Returning for another season is the popular ongoing series Uptown Nights, giving the audience an opportunity to experience the artists in an intimate context.  The series features producer and DJ Jason King,  jazz trumpeter Christian Scott, soul vocalist Meshell Ndegeocello, “Classic Man” artist Jidenna, a multi-day Prince tribute assembled and led by Grammy Award-winning bassist Ben Williams, and many more.

The theater is thrilled to host a screening and a post-screening discussion of the fascinating documentary Mary Lou Williams: The Woman Who Swings The Band.  “Williams was a woman in a ‘manʼs world,’ a Black person in a ‘whites only’ society, an ambitious artist who dared to be different and struggled against the imperatives of being a ‘star.’”  The film tells the story of one of the greatest jazz musicians whose inspirational story has never been told…until now.

Harlem Stage has also teamed up with the Museum of Modern Art to present the extraordinary exhibit 100 Years In Post Production: Resurrecting A Lost Landmark of Black Film History.  Featuring recently discovered, unedited footage, “this premiere installation stages a close reading of suppressed moments from the struggle for minority access to visual media.”

For over 30 years, Harlem Stage has been one of the nation’s leading arts organizations, achieving this distinction by commissioning, incubating and presenting innovative works by visionary artists of color, and by facilitating a productive engagement with the communities it serves through the performing arts.

For the full schedule and performance information, click here. Tickets and reservations to Harlem Stage are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.HarlemStage.org, or via phone at 212.281.9240 ext. 19/20. 

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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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Events and Happenings

Surely Goodness and Mercy by Chisa Hutchinson Begins Off-Broadway

Broadway Black

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Performances begin today, Tuesday February 26th, for the New York premiere of  Surely Goodness and Mercy, presented by Keen Company. A story about an exceptional boy living a troubled life in Newark, NJ who does a good deed for an often unnoticed person.   Sarita Covington, Jay Mazyck, Brenda Pressley, Courtney Thomas, and Cezar Williams star under Jessi D. Hill’s direction.

Set in an under-funded public school in Newark, Surely Goodness and Mercy by rising playwright Chisa Hutchinson, tells the story of a bible-toting boy with a photographic memory who befriends the cantankerous old lunch lady. Against all odds, Tino and Bernadette help each other through the mess of growing up and growing old.  

Surely Goodness and Mercy has spent the last year charming audiences across the country: “Notably absent from Hutchinson’s frank and sobering story: cynicism” – Chicago Reader; “(Surely Goodness and Mercy has) a soul-stirring quality, touching audiences with its sincerity” – Daily Utah Chronicle; “it’s impossible not to like it” – The Salt Lake Tribune. Now, Keen is honored to bring this big-hearted new play to New York for the first time.

Performances for this limited Off-Broadway engagement of Surely Goodness and Mercy will continue through Saturday, April 13th only, with opening night set for Wednesday, March 13th.

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