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We Were There: #TonysBlackOUT

Jerrica White

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Photo by Tristan Halstead for Broadway Black

There’s nothing better than a room full of Black people. Dressed to the nines. Having a good time.

You know what. I take that back.

There’s nothing better than a room full of Black people filled with the spirit of honor and celebration.

Broadway Black hosted its inaugural Tony Award Watch Party on Sunday June 12, 2016 at Row NYC Hotel. The event was designed with the purpose of highlighting and celebrating the achievements of #BroadwayBlack artists over the 2015-2016 season, and that we did.

We danced. We ate. We sang. Unified in the love of theatre— it’s magic and it’s inclusivity.

We said the names:

Daveed Diggs

Renée Elise Goldsberry

Paul Tazewell

Leslie Odom Jr.

Brian Stokes Mitchell

Cynthia Erivo

We cheered as they took to the stage representing the hard work and determination it takes to get to The Great White Way. People from all walks of life—lovers of theatre—stepped foot on our step and repeat, with melanin shining bright, as if to repeat the affirmation #WeAreBroadwayBlack. We shouted and we praised because we were represented. We are enough. And while we gathered in the heart of New York City in tuxedos and gowns, what matters the most is that some children at home saw the casts of Shuffle Along, Hamilton, and The Color Purple perform. They saw people who look like them win. The seed was planted that there’s room for them too.

That thought leaves me full.

We are truly humbled to be part of this community. It brings us joy to highlight the achievements of African-Americans on and off Broadway. We are grateful for the love and support we receive.

Out of the 7 decades of honoring the best of Broadway, this season stands out as historic. 18 #BroadwayBlack nominations. Eighteen. Wow.

We’re constantly reminded how lucky we are to be alive right now. Let’s hope and strive for the day diversity is no longer the problem, but the norm. We’ll be here, filling you in show by show.

Did you attend The Black Out Party? We’d love for you to send in any photos, stories, or feedback. See you next year!

See some of our favorites tweets and pictures from The Black Out party below! Thanks to all who came out to celebrate with us, especially our friends from Shuffle Along, The Color Purple, & Matilda The Musical.

 

Photos by Tristan Halstead for Broadway Black

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Events and Happenings

Brennyn Lark, Allison Semmes, & More Featured in Darkness RISING: Live 2! A Mental Health Benefit Concert

Drew Shade

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Brennyn Lark

Join the Black Broadway community tonight, April 8th, as they perform inspirational cover songs at Darkness RISING: Live 2. The concert benefits Darkness RISING Nonprofit, an organization founded by Carlita Victoria, focuses on mental wellness in the Black community. Audience members will enjoy songs of hope from a range of genres: musical theatre, pop, R&B, and gospel under the musical direction of David Rowen of David Rowen Creative.

Darkness RISING Nonprofit is a mental health project with the goal of inspiring conversations about mental health, and helping to create access to mental health resources in the Black community in an effort to tell our stories and erase the stigma. The project was created as a means of Carlita facing her personal struggles with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. African Americans are 20% more likely to have serious psychological distress than other Americans. The project includes a newly released album on iTunes, a visual album on YouTube, live concerts, and free wellness workshops.

The event will be held at the Knitting Factory Brooklyn at 7 pm (doors open at 6:30pm) Located at 361 Metropolitan Ave in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The evening will include vendors, raffle prizes, a silent auction, and a full bar. $20 In advance, $25 At the door $40 VIP includes: Wristband, free drink, premier seating, swag bag, cast meet & greet. The show will be hosted by Broadway Black’s Drew Shade.

Tickets can be purchased at bkknittingfactory.com.

The cast features soloists:

Brennyn Lark, (DREAMGIRLS WEST END, LES MISERABLES BROADWAY)

Liisi LaFontaine (DREAMGIRLS WEST END, THE WINNER IS ABC)

Allison Semmes (MOTOWN BROADWAY, BOOK OF MORMON)

Gabrielle Reid (BEAUTIFUL THE MUSICAL, HAIRSPRAY BROADWAY, THE COLOR PURPLE NATIONAL TOUR),

Kris Roberts (BEAUTIFUL THE MUSICAL, FAME NATIONAL TOUR),

Jasmin Richardson (GETTING THE BAND BACK TOGETHER, THE BODYGUARD NATIONAL TOUR)

JoNathan Michael (DREAMGIRLS INTERNATIONAL TOUR, FAME NATIONAL TOUR)

Cedrina Shari (BONEY M),

Anita Welch (AVENUE Q NATIONAL TOUR)

Gerard Williams (JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at North Carolina Theatre)

Nattalyee Randall (ROCKTOPIA)

Tamala Baldwin (DREAMGIRLS at NSMT)

Darkness RISING Founder, Carlita Victoria (HAIRSPRAY at Paramount Theatre).

The ensemble features Vlad Dorson, Valton Jackson (HALFTIME at PAPERMILL PLAYHOUSE), Ashley Jeudy (SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER at IVORYTON PLAYHOUSE), Nichollette Shorts (PHOENIX RISING), Sheniqua Trotman (DREAMGIRLS at IVORYTON THEATRE), David LaMarr (LITTLE MERMAID at TUACAHN), and Tatianna Mott (AVENUE Q at SMITHTOWN PAC).

Band memebers include: Ian Jess (Bass), Mark ‘Lace’ Gibbs (Guitar), Quinton Robinson (Drums), and David Rowen (Piano/Musical Director)

Darkness RISING: A Mental Health Awareness Project is sponsored, in part, by the
Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural
Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) and Fractured Atlas. For more info: darknessrisingproject.org. Follow: @darknessrisingproject.

 

 

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🌟 ALL STAR CAST 🌟 These amazing vocalists will be performing at Darkness RISING live 2. You will not want to miss this performance on April 8th. Link in bio for tickets. _____ Monday 4/8 7pm Knitting Factory Williamsburg _____ $20 in advance $25 at the door _____ $40 VIP: + Swag Bag + Premier seating + Free drink + VIP photo + Wristband + Cast meet & greet This event is made possible by @nyscouncilonthearts, administered by @bkartscouncil. _____ #promo #rise #Riseup #discount #dontmissout #nyc #nycevents #eventscalendar #livemusic #livesingers #inspirationalmusic #thingstodoinnyc #benefitconcert #musicheals #Brooklyn #citylife #knittingfactory #nightlife #nycnights #BroadwayBlack #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthmatters #Blackmentalhealth #DarknessRISING

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As someone who does their best to rise up every day in spite of depression & anxiety, mental healthiness, access to resources, and conversations particularly centering Black people are important to me. The @darknessrisingproject is doing the good work and I’m honored to be hosting their next benefit concert to further bring awareness and support for those in need. Join #broadwayblack along with some of Broadway’s finest voices April 8th, 2019 7 PM @knittingfactorybk to be uplifted and encouraged and also support the awesome organization that is @darknessrisingproject! 🔗 Link on bio for tickets! Thank you, @itscarlitav for your tireless efforts! What you’re doing is so important and necessary! That is #broadwayblack! 💜🙌🏽✊🏽

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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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