Black theater family, make your plans and get ready to pack your bags this summer. The destination is Winston-Salem, N.C. The purpose is to revive your soul by attending the National Black Theatre Festival. New Yorkers, I’m so excited to tell you that out of 27 productions, one-third are from New York City! Yes, that’s right, nine of the 27 productions are from the Big Apple, New York theater companies and artists.
The productions and companies are—drum roll, please—“Accept ‘Except’ LBGT NY” from New Federal Theatre; “Adam: The Story of Adam Clayton Powell Jr.” from the National Black Touring Circuit; “An Evening With Vivian Reed” from Kedtron Productions; “Fried Chicken and Latkes” from Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre; “Hands Up: 6 Testaments, 6 Playwrights,” also from NBT; “Kings of Harlem” from the Layon Gray American Theatre Company; and “Maid’s Door” from the Billie Holiday Theatre.
Additional New York productions include “Mr. Joy” from Daniel Beaty Productions. The festival’s main stage production will be the brilliant, stunning “Black Stars of the Great White Way,” a Chapman Roberts Concept production that celebrates 100 years of Blacks on Broadway and at Carnegie Hall. Chapman Roberts was also recognized and honored at the 2014 Audelco Awards with the Pioneer Award for producing “Black Stars of the Great White Way,” and believe me, he deserved special acknowledgement. This production was phenomenal to experience. The show will play two performances, opening night Aug. 3 and Aug. 4. The production will feature an all-star Black cast of men and women who have graced the Broadway stage in productions such as “Dreamgirls,” “The Wiz,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and so many more.
In addition to the nine shows coming from New York, productions will come from Kansas City, Mo.; North Hollywood, Calif.; Winston-Salem, N.C.; Edgewater, N.J.; Greensboro, N.C.; Los Angeles; New Brunswick, N.J.; Sarasota, Fla.; Durham, N.C.; Norfolk, Va; and Cape Town, South Africa.
The festival has something for everyone. There’s the International Colloquium, International Vendors Market, “Larry Leon Hamlin Solo Performance Series,” Midnight Poetry Jam, NBTF Film Fest, National Youth Talent Showcase, NBTF Fringe, TeenTastic, the Readers’ Theatre, workshops, seminars, Youth/Celebrity Project and a “Celebration of Life Salute to Garland Lee Thompson Sr.,” founding executive director of the Frank Silvera Writers’ Workshop.
Visit www.nbtf.org to see descriptions of all that the festival has to offer. There will also be amazing people receiving the Living Legend Award, such as Grace Jones, the president of Audelco, who was featured previously in the AmNews.
Get your things together, mark it down in your datebooks and let’s meet at this Black theater family reunion to rejuvenate our souls.