The Coalition of Theatres of Color’s much-anticipated town hall meeting at Manhattan’s Little Schubert Theater last Sunday, May 18, was a resounding success. It drew a near-capacity audience to the spacious 400-seat showplace, and consistently made a point of both honoring the essential past and present of Black and Latino theaters and powerfully expressing ways of advancing their collective future. Deemed “A Conversation with New York Theatres of Color: Sharing concerns regarding the issue of sustainability,” the meeting was hosted by Bob Law and attended by celebrity guests–including legendary actress Ruby Dee and award-winning actor James McDaniel (“NYPD Blue”)–who expressed their concern and commitment to the CTC and Black and Latino theaters. So did the event’s iconic moderators Gil Noble, Felipe Luciano and Imhotep Gary Byrd. Kudos also to the 2008 Oscar-nominated IMPACT Repertory Theatre, whose amazing vocal and dance performances had the rafters shaking and the excited audience applauding. The A-list CTC panelists for the spectacular event were Woodie King, Jr. (CTC chair–New Federal Theatre); Carl Clay (CTC vice Chair–Black Spectrum Theatre); Marjorie Moon (CTC second vice chair–Billie Holiday Theatre); Dr. Barbara Ann Teer (CTC third vice chair–National Black Theatre); Lorna Hill (Ujima Theatre); Voza Rivers (New Heritage Theatre); and Emanuel Moran (Teatro Sea). Each passionately and consistently brought his various ideas and sincere messages of expanding the scope, impact and influence of so-called minority theaters. They also reached out to the public and attending press to help them do so. “We want to thank everyone who attended and participated, including the public, press, social activists, celebrities and political figures, including Councilman/activist Charles Baron,” said NFT founder and artistic director Woodie King, Jr. Among the many positive things I, personally, took away from the town hall meeting was that the Coalition of Theatres of Color’s combined belief that the continued and much appreciated support of us all will help assure that New York-based Black, Latino and other theaters of color will not just survive but also thrive, and eventually realize a successful and totally inclusive future. So get involved and support the CTC and its commitment to make a positive difference.
MAKE THE ‘SCENE AT NEW FEDERAL’ ON MAY 24
For 38 years the New Federal Theatre has nurtured “craft, foundation and artistic endurance” qualities, providing a great deal more for writers, actors and directors. The legacy continues as NFT presents: “Scene at New Federal,” offering a showcase sampling of new theatrical work and performances from artists in NFT’s current 2008 acting and writing programs. And YOU are invited! It will feature written works by Hugh Fletcher, Natasha Lowery, Ayanna McMichael, Kermit Frazier, Jill Chenault, Eric Mack, and Herb Donaldson. Its directors are Jo’Issa Diop, Kim Weston-Moran, Freedome Bradley, Eric Mack, and Herb Donaldson. Its excellent actors are Maurice Brown, Ronald DeSuze, T. Renee Mathis, Eric Mack, Tashion Folkes, Tealeda Nesbitt, David Fuentes, Darnell Williams, Ralph Tolbert, Eon Grey, Ceclia Foreman, Charlene Courtney, Sheryl Penson, Beatrice Johnston, Jill Chenault, Yvette Curtis, Eric Eugene Waltower, Mutiyat Ade-Salu, Leon Lewis, and Johnathan Craig. Free and open to the public, the showcase happens Friday, May 23, at 7 p.m., at Henry Street Settlement’s Abrons Arts Center/Recital Hall (466 Grand St., NYC). For more information, call Herb Donaldson (Program Director/NFT) at (212) 353-1176 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NFT’s ‘IN SEARCH OF MY FATHER’ SET TO ROLL AND ROCK
“In Search of My Father…Walkin’ Talkin’ Bill Hawkins,” written by and starring W. Allen Taylor, continues to gather momentum as its opening day draws nearer. Directed by Ellen Sebastian Chang, “In Search of My Father…” will run at Henry Street Settlement’s Abrons Arts Center/Recital Hall (466 Grand St., lower Manhattan) from Thursday, June 5 through Sunday, June 29. This moving, insightful, award-winning play explores the intimate story of Taylor’s life-long search for his real-life father, Bill Hawkins, the first Black disc jockey in Cleveland, Ohio. With the period R&B, gospel and jazz music serving as a backdrop, Taylor performs a wide range of richly defined characters. The search becomes a bittersweet journey of self-discovery as well as a celebration of the rich cultural legacy of Black radio. General admission is $20. Show times are: Wednesday-Friday–7:30 p.m. Saturday–3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday–3:00 p.m. For credit card orders: (212) 279-4200, or online at TicketCentral.org. For more information call (212) 353-1176 or go to www.NewFederalTheatre.org. Make those reservations earlier. You don’t want to miss “In Search of My Father…Walkin’ Talkin’ Bill Hawkins.”
REV. RUN’S IN NEW SNEAKERS IN NYC
On Thursday, May 15, legendary Run DMC rapper-entrepreneur-author-MTV star Rev. Run (aka Joseph Simmons), took over New York City’s Herald Square for the day! The rev made an exclusive in-store appearance that day from 3 to 5 p.m. at FootAction USA, 430 Seventh Ave. (at 34th Street), to introduce his new Run Athletics ICON sneaker. Inspired by Run’s legacy and his 2007 BMI Icon Award, the brand new ICON sneaker has a classic look, reminiscent of the Adidas Shell Toe. The star of his own acclaimed reality show, MTV’s “Run’s House,” which debuts its fifth season this summer, Run then “ran” over to New York’s famed Madison Square Garden (a venue he’d performed at numerous times with his award-winning rap group Run DMC) to make a special guest star appearance at the Kid Rock concert. He did his own performance and also jammed with Pam Anderson’s wild child former boyfriend, Kid Rock.
That’s it for now. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Exit, Stage-Write…