In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Council set their sights on Selma, AL as the stomping ground for voter registration reform. Twenty-four years later, Selma The Musical took the stage at New Federal Theater to tell the story of the civil rights leaders that inspired its very existence. Tommy Butler, the show’s creator, wrote the book, music and lyrics and then turned to his community to help tell the story.
This 1978 musical not only put black history in the spotlight, the creative team itself featured makers of history. Cornelius A. Tate, Selma’s musical director, has a long list of Broadway credits. This list includes the infamous Hair, a show that gave him the title of being the first Black musical director on Broadway. The accomplishment is well deserved considering Tate led the cast of Selma through a demanding score that cast a light on the pain and injustice throughout Black history.
Selma is unapologetic in its critique of race relations during the Cvil Rights Movement. It uses the same painful language that ran ramped alongside hoses and hounds in Alabama streets. This musical served as a wake-up call. It shook the critics of its day and introduced new performers to voice the frustrations of inequality. Tommy Butler, the shows creator, starred in the musical alongside a collective of newcomers. Denise Erwin, Susan Beaubian, Carton Williams and Ernie Banks led the cast in songs calling for justice, equity and peace. A cry we can still hear from our community.
Selma The Musical was a show that asked the obvious in the most honest way it knew how. The voices who deny the existence of injustice will call Selma “unfinished” and “archetypal.” I invite you to reflect on the events that brought this musical to fruition, the limitations we are still overcoming, and the necessity of telling the difficult stories in our history. The show’s original cast recording can be found on Apple Music. New Federal Theater, where the show saw its debut, continues to release productions that question the justice and equity that is denied to Black people in America. You can view their upcoming projects.
Off-Broadway Hamilton Spoof Spamilton Cast Recording Out Now
Spamilton, the off-Broadway parody of the musical phenomenon Hamilton, released a cast album on DRG Records last week.
The cast recording features original Spamilton cast members Dan Rosales, Nicholas Edwards, Juwan Crawley, Chris Anthony Giles, Nora Schell, with special guest stars Christine Pedi and Glenn Bassett, and Music Director Fred Barton on piano.
The show, created by Forbidden Broadway creator Gerard Alessandini, celebrates and roasts Broadways golden musical, but also features outrageous references to Gypsy, Chicago, The King And I, Assassins, Camelot and Sweeney Todd.
Not only are the stars of the original cast of Hamilton comically roasted, but they are joined by “caricatures of living Broadway legends the likes of: Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Barbra Streisand, Bernadette Peters and many more beloved icons”, even Beyonce.
Spamilton began previews at The Triad (158 West 72nd Street) on Tuesday, July 19, 2016 and opened on September 8 to rave reviews. The show most recently celebrated its 200th performance on February 19, 2017, and it was announced a second Spamilton company began a sit-down production at Chicago’s Royal George Theatre this month.
Dreamgirls Original London Cast Recording Gets an April Release Date
So, you can’t make it to London anytime soon? No worries! The West End production of the five-time Olivier nominated Dreamgirls has announced an April 14th release date for its original London cast recording.
Sony Classical will release the highly-anticipated cast album in a stunning new double-disc recorded LIVE at London’s Savoy Theatre.
Directed by Casey Nicholaw, with book and lyrics by Tom Eyen, the album, produced with Olivier-nominee and composer Henry Krieger, captures the on-stage exhilaration of the original London cast, the 14-piece band, and the audience.
This cast album features Olivier-nominees Amber Riley and Adam J. Bernard as Effie White and James “Thunder” Early, respectively, Liisi LaFontaine as Deena Jones, and Ibinabo Jack as Lorrell Robinson, with Joe Aaron Reid as Curtis Taylor Jr, Tyrone Huntley as C.C. White, Nicholas Bailey as Marty, and Lily Frazer as Michelle Morris.
The company also includes Michael Afemaré, Jocasta Almgill, Callum Aylott, Hugo Batista, Samara Casteallo, Chloe Chambers, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Joelle Dyson, Kimmy Edwards, Candace Furbert, Nathan Graham, Ashley Luke Lloyd, Gabriel Mokake, Siân Nathaniel-James, Sean Parkins, Kirk Patterson, Ryan Reid, Rohan Richards, Noel Samuels, Durone Stokes, and Tosh Wanogho-Maud.
Pre-order now on Amazon.
And if you just so happen to make it to London in the near future, purchase tickets at Dreamgirls West End.