The new reality for theater is free programming and live streaming. It is no surprise to me that Woodie King Jr., founding director and producer at New Federal Theatre (NFT)–a man I like to refer to as “Mr. Theater”–is offering programming titled, “Tuesdays in June 2020: Rapping with the Artists & Play Readings.” NFT will offer seven live-streamed discussions and play reading events with some of the top people in the business and I really wouldn’t expect anything less. These livestreams will keep your need for creativity, inspiration and entertainment satisfied during these trying times. To be part of them you must register at email@example.com.
I’m so thrilled that “Mr. Theater” has been recognized for his longevity and his contributions to the craft, when he was honored on May 19 at the 10th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Awards with the “Legends of Off Broadway Award,” recognizing sustained achievement in Off-Broadway theater. I’ve been so fortunate to have known Mr. King the 35 years I’ve been a theater critic and I can appreciate his love and passion for making sure that he gives life to theater, and makes it his life mission to continue to bring it with excellence, vitality and respect to generations of audiences.
The artists who will be part of the June 2, 3 p.m., “Rapping With The Artists” event are S. Epatha Merkerson, Barbara Montgomery and Ruben Santiago Hudson. It will be thrilling to hear them discuss their artistic journeys. On June 9, at 3 p.m., “Rapping With The Artists” will feature J. Alphonse Nicholson and Howard Craft as they discuss the theatrical realization of the play, “Freight: the Five Incarnations of Abel Green.” I had the distinct pleasure of seeing this brilliant, powerful work when NFT produced it. On June 16, 3 p.m., “Rapping With The Artists” will feature Director Petronia Paley and playwright Larry Muhammad on the birth of the production, “Looking for Leroy.” This was a tremendous work that revealed to audiences the life of playwright and poet laureate Amiri Baraka a.k.a. Leroy Jones. On June 16, 7 p.m. there will be a play reading of “Looking for Leroy” featuring AUDELCO Award winning actors Tyler Fauntleroy and Kim Sullivan, directed by Petronia Paley. June 23, 3 p.m., “Rapping With The Artists” will feature playwright Bill Harris and actors Denise Burse-Fernandez and Guy Davis discuss their collaboration. June 30, 3 p.m., “Rapping With The Artists” will feature Tony Award winning and Broadway star extraordinaire André DeShields and Chuck Smith as they rap about creating theater centered around historical figures. June 30, 7 p.m., the play reading will be of Trevor Rhone’s “Two Can Play,” featuring Ron Bobb-Semple and Joyce Sylvester, directed by Clinton Turner Davis.