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Concert Night

iLLA! A Hip Hop Musical Returns to New York Musical Festival

Broadway Black

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After a sold-out run in Atlanta and Toledo, the award-winning iLLA! A Hip Hop Musical continues its reign and returns as part of the 2016 New York Musical Festival this week for concert performances at The Pearl Theatre. Directed by J. Kyle Manzay, the show features a book, with music and lyrics by Ronvé O’Daniel, and additional music by Jevares C. Myrick. David Coffman produces.

With the recent success of Hamilton, Coffman believes audiences are ready for this kind of story.

iLLA!, which is slang meaning, “to be greater,” tells the story of Prince, a classically trained dancer who dreams of becoming a hip-hop star. After suffering a humiliating defeat at a leading open mic competition, Prince struggles to redeem himself in the eyes of his friends and family.

He falls in love with a girl named Stacy but their family prejudices threaten to tear them apart. Can Prince overcome his fears and troubled home life to achieve his dreams? It’s a journey of Swagger, Survival and the Search for Self.

Watch the extended trailer below:

Titus Makin Jr. leads the cast as Prince. Many may remember him as one of the original Warblers in the hit-musical television show “Glee.” He’s joined by Andrew Bancroft, of Freestyle Love Supreme, and Danielle Lee Greaves (A Streetcar Named Desire, Rent).

Performances take place on Friday, July 29th at 5pm; Sunday, July 31st at 9pm; and Tuesday, August 2nd at 9pm.

Last year, iLLA! received its first reading at the New York Musical Festival Developmental Reading Series, where it won the 2015 Award for Excellence. It performed in subsequent workshops at the Toledo School for the Arts in Ohio, and the Cobb County Center for Excellence in Performing Arts in Atlanta, Georgia.

Per its mission statement, the NYMF “nurtures the creation, production, and public presentation of stylistically, thematically, and culturally diverse new musicals to ensure the future vitality of musical theater.” In its thirteenth year, more than 90 shows have seen productions on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters all over the country, and in more than 24 countries worldwide.

The 2016 NYFM runs from July 11th to August 7th.

For tickets and more information, visit NYMF.

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Concert Night

Once On This Island’s Hailey Kilgore Will Make Her Solo Concert Debut!

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Hailey Kilgore Photo via IBDB

Tony & Grammy Nominee Hailey Kilgore will make her solo concert debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below this month! The Once On This Island star makes her debut following the closing of the Tony-winning revival, and she’s clearly got more stories to tell!

The concert entitled Mirrors is a night of celebration including the music that has influenced her meteoric rise. On January 30th 9:30 pm she shares her personal life story as a young girl to a young woman on the Broadway stage.

The 19-year-old vocalist has a set list that ranges from Jason Robert Brown to Alicia Keys. One thing we can say is that this show will sell out! So, stop waiting for life to begin and mark your calendars.

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Concert Night

About Last Night: Montego Glover, Nicholas Christopher, Brandon Victor Dixon & More!

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Broadway may go dark on Mondays, but Broadway Black stars were still shining all over New York City last night.

First up was the New York POPS Underground performance.  Formerly known as “Cabaret Evening,” Underground is the intimate offering of New York Pops orchestra.  Hosted at the infamous Feinstein’s/54 Below the benefit supports NY Pops music education program, PopsEd.  Last night’s special guests were Tony Yazbeck and Tony Award nominee Montego Glover.  The ever joyful Glover performed a few musical favorites including “I Loves You Porgy,” “I Dreamed a Dream,” and a jazzy rendition of the Memphis delight, “Someday.”

Before recognizing Queens P.S. 175 Principal Patricia Cooper as the first honoree of the NY PopsEd initiative, Glover shared, ” I know from experience that music has the power to save, to guide, to inspire.  I am standing as living proof that music has done exactly that.”

Glover and Yazbeck closed the show with an exciting duet of “Feelin’ Good” featuring Tony’s incredible tapping skills and Montego effortlessly belting notes that only dogs can hear.  Hate that we couldn’t share it with you, but we were just too busy being entertained to capture it on film!

Next, it was down to the West Village to see Darling, a developmental piece by Ryan Scott Oliver.  Following the smooth Nicholas Christopher (Hamilton) as Peter and the vocally stunning Kerstin Anderson as Wendy “Darling,” this abstract musical is a contemporary telling of Peter Pan like you’ve never imagined it before.

Producers, Motown Choreographer Warren Adams and Hamilton star Brandon Victor Dixon, were on hand to introduce the show to an enthusiastic audience at the hip Le Poisson Rouge.  The brilliant musical arrangement told a captivating story while highlighting the young cast’s musical aptitude and artistry. Vocal standouts included leads Christopher and Anderson, singing for the GODS for the duration of the show, the Lost Boys, with their soulful, sassy musical quips, and Les Miserables vet Brennyn Lark, taking sexy to a WHOLE other level.  The recorded event concluded with a thunderous standing ovation from the audience, confirming this show is exactly what young theater lovers want.  Keep an eye out for this one.  It’s gonna be big!

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