On Monday, April 16, 2018, Mike Yard and Emmy Award-winning actor Rory Albanese will co-host the Urban Arts Partnership 2018 Benefit titled AmplifiED at the Ziegfeld Ballroom (141 West 54th Street). The event will raise money to help combat injustices found in public education. Performances will include headliners Alex Newell (Once on this Island) & Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple) with UAP Artistic Board member Michael Kenneth Williams (Boardwalk Empire, The Wire) among the honorees. Marissa Shorenstein (President AT&T Northeast Region) & Niclas Nagler (UAP Board Member) will be honored, as well.
“UAP is a leading non-profit education organization that uses arts-integrated education programs and works to improve the lives of students of 100 low-income schools across New York and Los Angeles.”
Among the special guests, Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple, OITNB), Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels of Run-D.M.C., Tracie Thoms (Falsettos, Rent), Jenna Ushkowitz (Waitress), Amir Arison (The Blacklist), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Cecily Strong (SNL), Jillian Jacobs, Diane Neal (Law and Order: SVU), Sadat X, & Geoffrey Arend.
We real cool. We Left school. We Lurk late. We Strike straight. We Sing sin. We Thin gin. We Jazz June. We Die soon. In 1960 Pulitzer Prize winner Gwendolyn Brooks’ haunting crescendo from innocence to downfall, “We Real Cool,” was published by Harpers.
Tickets begin at $750 & run upwards to $50,000 Table Packages
Cocktails begin at 6 pm with dinner at 7 pm, & DJ Dance Set ending out the night.
For tickets and more information, visit UrbanArts.org
Nicolette Robinson, Leslie Odom Jr., & Cynthia Erivo Sign On to Produce Witness Uganda
It’s official! Tony Award winners Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple) and Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton), along with his wife Nicolette Robinson (Waitress) have joined on as producers for the biographical contemporary musical Witness Uganda. Abigail Spencer of Hulu’s Timeless has also joined this list of new producers
Formerly Insivible Thread, Witness Uganda has currently extended its West Coast premiere until March 3rd at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Creators Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould take on the roles of director and musical director respectively. The show has added new material and musical numbers since it’s Off-Broadway run at Second Stage Theater.
Based on a true story, Witness Uganda follows Griffin, a New York City-based American volunteer, as he arrives in Uganda to help build a village school and escape his church’s condemnation of his sexuality. When he falls into a complicated relationship with a group of destitute, orphaned teenagers, he finds himself driven by a mission that will change his and their lives forever. From the rolling hills of the Ugandan countryside to a stifling apartment in New York City, from a joyous celebration of African youth to a terrifying abduction 8,000 miles away, Witness Uganda explores the question, “is changing the world even possible?”
The musical stars twelve-time Grammy nominee, Ledisi as Rain Lady/Church Lady, Hamilton alum & Off Book Podcast co-host Amber Iman as Joy, and original cast member of Invisible Thread Jamar Williams now takes on the role of Griffin.
The cast also features Emma Hunton (Ryan), Kameron Richardson (Jacob), Naärai (Grace), Sha’leah Nikole (Eden), Dexter Darden (Ibrahim), Jordan Barrow (Ronny), Jai’len Josey (Vocalist/Understudy for Rain Lady/Church Lady) and Antwone Barnes, Kennan D Washington and Thurzday holding down the ensemble.
The creative team is rounded out with choreography by Abdur-Rahim Jackson, music supervision by Remy Kurs, sets by Connor MacPhee, lighting by David Hernandez, costumes by Carlton Jones, and sound design by Martin Carrillo.
For more info visit Witness Uganda
Iconic Entertainer Gregory Hines Honored With a Black Heritage Series Stamp
The U.S. Postal Service honored iconic entertainer Gregory Hines with a Black Heritage Series stamp in a ceremony on January 28th. As the 42nd entry in the series, the stamp featuring a 1988 photo of a smiling Hines is now available at Post Offices and usps.com.
At the ceremony Tony Award winner Savion Glover talked about the role Hines played in elevating tap into an art form and the value of his work. Joining him in the celebration were Maurice Hines, actor, dancer, choreographer, and Hines’ brother; Daria Hines, actress, costume designer, and Hines’ daughter; dancers Chloe and Maud Arnold; Tony Waag, the American Tap Dance Foundation’s artistic director, and tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith.
“I don’t exist without this man,” said Glover, “These young people that you see, they aren’t born without this. We are not here today without this.”
The Chief Postal Inspector, Gary Barksdale, who led the ceremony, said “Gregory Hines was an extraordinary artist in every sense of the word. This Forever stamp pays tribute to his life and career as an actor, singer and most importantly, as a performer whose unique style of tap dancing injected new artistry and excitement into a traditional American form.”
Gregory Hines’ Broadway credits include Eubie!, Sophisticated Ladies, & Comin’ Uptown, all of which garnered him Tony Award nominations. He became a Tony Award winner for his starring role in “Jelly’s Last Jam” in 1992. In 2003 he passed away at 57 years old from cancer.
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