Greetings! We give thanks to the late Dr. Carter G. Woodson, "The Father of Black History," who created Negro History Week in 1925, which gave birth to Black History Month in 1976. Woodson's organization, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, has set the national Black history theme for 2012 as "Black Women in American Culture and History."
- National Black Touring Circuit presents the Black History Month Play Festival Feb. 3-26, honoring African-American political heroes and sheroes A. Philip Randolph, Zora Neal Hurston, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Rep. Barbara Jordan. Performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. For locations and more information, call (212) 279-4200.
- The opening play of the festival is "When the Chickens Come Home to Roost," an open dialogue between the leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad, and his protegee, Malcolm X, written by Laurence Holder and directed by the original director, Allie Woods. The production stars Ted Lange as Muhammad and Marcus Naylor as Malcolm X. It opens Fri., Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. and runs through Sun., Feb. 6 at the Dwyer Cultural Center, 258 St. Nicholas Ave. , entrance on 123rd Street between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and St. Nicholas Avenue. Seating is limited. For more information, call (212) 222-3060 or visit www.dwyercc.org.
- Also at the Dwyer Tues., Feb. 7 is the second annual National Black HIV/Aids Theatre Initiative, 7-10 p.m., featuring guest artist performances commemorating National Black Family HIV/Aids Awareness Day. Free.
- The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture presents "Lyrics From Lockdown": One man. One mic. Forty characters. Two unbelievable stories of wrongful imprisonment told through hip-hop, theater, spoken word, blues, comedy, calypso and classical music. Written and performed by Bryonn Bain, and directed by Mei Ann Teo. Special preview for New York City public schools Fri., Feb. 10 at 11 a.m. and a Black History Month performance Sat., Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. At the Langston Hughes Theater, 515 Malcolm X Blvd. Free with RSVP; to reserve, email email@example.com. For more information, call (212) 491-2234 or visit www.showclix.com/event/LyricsfromLockdown.
- Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson star in "The Mountaintop," Katori Hall's Olivier Award-winning drama, directed by Tony Award nominee Kenny Leon with original music by Grammy Award-winning saxophonist and Tony Award nominee Branford Marsalis. In a limited engagement at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W. 45th St. For tickets, visit Telecharge.com.
- "Black Angels Over Tuskegee," the story of the pioneering first African-American fighter pilots, now playing at the Actors Temple Theatre, 339 W. 47th St. between Eighth and Ninth avenues. For tickets, call (212) 239-6200 or visit www.telecharge.com.
- Alicia Keys presents "Stick Fly" ("When it comes to family...you're stuck"), a new play by Lydia R. Diamond directed by Kenny Leon. Now playing at the Cort Theatre on Broadway, 138 W. 48th St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues. For tickets, call (212) 239-6200 or visit www.telecharge.com.
- Whoopi Goldberg's "Sister Act," the stage musical based on the 1992 movie of the same name, features funky, soulful songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater and the dynamic debut of Patina Miller. At the Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway. For more information, visit www.sisteractbroadway.com.
- "Platanos y Collard Greens," David Lamb's hilarious hit romantic, comedic Off-Broadway play, is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud, inspire you and make you think. The play welcomes VH1's "Basketball Wives" star Royce Reed at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Ave., 25th Street between Lexington and Third avenues. For show schedules, call (212) 352-3101 or visit www.platanosand collardgreens.com. For group sales, call (646) 522-4348.