Kay Bourne Arts Report – Issue #88

February 11th, 2011  |  Published in Kay Bourne Arts Report

Contents
ODLE PLAY AMONG SIX ABOUT LOVE
KAMI RUSHELL SMITH IS A 10 IN “NINE”
SECRET GARDEN IS MAGICAL AT WHEELOCK
KIRSTEN GREENIDGE TALKS ABOUT WRITING
WHERE ARE THEY NOW………
HONORING THE LIFE OF JAMES SPRUILL
LIVING LEDGENDS – MUSEUM OF AA HISTORY
LILLY’S PURPLE PURSE
SEEING IT LEE’S WAY AT HIBERNIAN HALL
WHEN MAHALIA SINGS
BLACK HISTORY AT BOSTON CITY HALL
558 MASS AVE CELEBRATES BLACK ART – SUN.


ODLE PLAY AMONG SIX ABOUT LOVE
745 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #88(pictured: Kaili Turner)
“How do I love you?” the 19th century poet responded famously. “Let me count the ways.” Six local playwrights came up with imaginative variations on the theme of love Elizabeth Barrett Browning so movingly probed long ago. The result was an afternoon of theater that amply demonstrated love’s highways and byways is a topic that’s arrived safely into the 21st. Some of the one-acts were hilarious, others disturbing. Every one of them got you to thinking about the intricacies of the hearts of men and women.

Clifford Odle had a dandy whose premise is, as they say, ripped right from the headlines. “Our Girl In Trenton” juxtapoised a newly elected black mayor waxing importantly about the high ethics of her campaign while back at the office two of her workers find that his marriage is no impediment to their embraces. Sonya Joyner was suitably smug as the newly elected black official while Kaili Turner smilingly followed where her desires took her with a shy but willing Marc Harpin.
On the more worrisome side Lyralen Kaye took a serious look at what happens to a pair of lovers who met at alcohol and drug recovery meetings in “Rescue.” In her well written piece that moved along in real time, the lithe Julia Short as Sunny and the muscular Joan Mejia as Jake found that physicality was the least important connective point to a happy relationship.

Yet another play looked at a confession of gay impulses between two boys from Southie that reached its apotheosis at the Broadway T stop as strobe lights flashed with a pronounced disco throb. The exceedingly well written “Birdbaths, ‘Twilight,’ And Other Sundry Topics” from Rick Park was a treat with actors Derek Fraser and Bryan Hoy matching Park’s writing with wit and panache.

Another Country Productions (named after the novel by James Baldwin) showed with this staging at Boston Playwrights Theater, Feb. 3-5, that they truly believe in their mission to offer diverse, innovative, and multicultural work. The other playwrights on the bill were Mark Harvey Levine, Ginger Lazarus, and Alison Potoma. Take note of all these names so that when you see them next, you’ll head to their shows.

By Kay Bourne


KAMI RUSHELL SMITH IS A 10 IN “NINE”

746 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #88 (pictured: Kami Rushell Smith)

Whether dressed in a slave’s tattered rags or an elegant gown right out of Italian “Vogue”, Kami Rushell Smith has that “wow” factor. But she’s more than a pretty face. Smith fills those clothes with real people.

“When I first look at a character,” said the actress currently in SpeakEasy’s production of “NINE,” “I find the humanity. I find out what’s different about this character than myself and also what’s similar. What makes this character tick.”

Circumstances dictated many dimensions of her two most recent roles. In NINE, Smith says of her role Our Lady of the Spa, one of the bevy of women surrounding filmmaker Guido, “because she owns the spa, she’s ever present. Sometimes she’s Guido’s confidant,” at other times she’s running her business.

Clothes do make the woman, Smith found. “Getting into the costume, this elegant gown designed by Charles Schoonmaker, was helpful” in my identifying who she is. Schoonmaker, a 4-time Daytime Emmy Award winner and resident costume designer at Jacob’s Pillow for seven seasons, also designed the costumes for Harriet Jacobs, the story of a slave girl’s resistance in which Smith played the title role.

The 1982 Broadway musical “NINE” based on the classic film 8 ½ by Frederico Fellini, and featuring a book by Arthur Kopit and music and lyrics by Maury Yeston continues at the Boston Center for the Arts through Feb. 20. As Guido, the Fellini character, approaches his 40th birthday, he’s facing personal and career crises; utmost he needs an idea for a new film after suffering three flops yet his mind is clouded by his current relationship with three women and memories of women in the past.

Smith’s role before “NINE” was the title character in the Underground Railroad Theater’s production of “Harriet Jacobs” by Lydia Diamond based on a mix of a slave narrative published prior to the Civil War in 1861 and Jean Fagan Yellin’s monumental biography of the narrative’s author Harriet Jacobs (“Harriet Jacobs, A Life”) published in 2004. Harriet Jacobs’s recollections of life as a slave in Edenton, North Carolina are capped by seven years hidden in a crawl space to avoid the sexual advances of her master, the town’s doctor. (She then escapes North).

“I’m from the South,” says Smith who grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi (birthplace of rock and roll’s Elvis Presley), and I was and still am an avid reader, as was Harriet (although it was against the law for slaves to read). “As a diary keeper, I loved to read. In my school, reading was not the cool thing to do.” When the doctor’s wife, Smith’s mistress, finds Harriet reading a novel the woman flings the book into a wash tub filled with water as well as admonishing Harriet.

Smith was the youngest of three sisters, “the only one interested in theater.” Her father, a lawyer worked for the federal government, her mother was the director of the housing authority in Tupelo. The entire family traveled North to see Smith in “Harriet Jacobs” which “they loved. Both my parents grew up right after the Civil Rights Movement and both have been pioneers in their fields. The story of a woman who beat the odds in dire circumstances was appealing to them.” There’s a family visit planned for “NINE.”

In what is a contrast to her role in “NINE” and most certainly to the intellectual minded Harriet, Smith the season before, when she was earning a master’s in musical theater, played April in the Boston Conservatory’s student production of “The Life,” which was directed by Jacqui Parker. Like many actors of color she was leery of playing a prostitute. These roles, along with domestics, were about the only parts offered to black actresses for decades in the Broadway theater and were usually one dimensional if not racist stereotypes. “I struggled with myself about auditioning,” said Smith. One of her reasons for trying out was the opportunity to work with Parker.

“She brought a safe place to explore the character,” says Smith, “to find the humanity and to probe what brought her to this situation. It’s not portraying a prostitute that’s the problem, it’s reflecting back on the history of theater.

“I look at it as a useful exercise in preparation for a Law and Order episode,” she says jokingly.

“I feel like with my schooling and the roles I’ve had a chance to do that I’m trained to play a wide variety of characters. And my number one goal is to tell their whole stories,” she said. In that vein she credits the strengths of directors whose work has informed her abilities to develop a role, for other examples, Megan Sandberg-Zakian (Harriet Jacobs) who emphasized knowing about “what was happening in the world at the time” the story takes place and Paul Daigneault (“NINE”) who is “inspiring because his vision is so clear. He imparts the story for each character so his direction is more than blocking, it’s knowing why they are going where they’ve gone.”

Among others, she adds Steve Maher into the mix of directors she’s learned from. Smith played Lady MacBeth in the “MacBeth” done by Shakespeare Now! performed at Mass College of Art in 2009. Smith was a radiant Hero in Actors Shakespeare Project’s “Much Ado About Nothing” also in 2009 which played at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury.

Smith attended college at Carnegie Mellon “because they offered me a great scholarship,” she says. She minored in theater participating in the student theater troupe Scotch ‘n Soda where as an undergrad Stephen Schwartz provided an original musical “Pippin Pippin” (which eventually became the Broadway show Pippin). Her senior year Smith performed in the 40th anniversary production.

Her major at Carnegie Mellon in writing which was journalism, grant writing, manual writing, and other practical writing skills has led to jobs such as her current position running Bostix.org. for Arts Boston.By Kay Bourne

NINE continues through Feb. 20 in the Roberts Studio Theater in the Stanford Calderwood Pavillion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St. in Boston’s South End. For more info you can phone 617-933-8600 or go on-line to www.SpeakEasy.com.

Official Website of Speakeasy Stage Company


SECRET GARDEN IS MAGICAL AT WHEELOCK
747 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #88
The clash of two ornery children provides the fireworks in “The Secret Garden” at the Wheelock Family Theater.
This version, which hews closely to the 1911 children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, is the work of WTF stalwarts Susan Kosoff (a founder of WFT), who wrote the book and lyrics, and Jane Staab, who composed the music as she has for many past productions at the theater. This production is an up-date of the script the duo created some 14 years ago.

Their work is being given an impressive staging, effectively directed by Susan Kosoff, with new music arrangements from Jonathan Goldberg.

Adaptations of ‘The Secret Garden” have been a perennial favorite over the past century – there have been three film versions: a silent version, a 1930s Hollywood adaptation with child star Margaret O’Brien and a more recent one, directed by Agnieszka Holland and produced by Francis Ford Coppola.

On stage it is best-remembered from its 1991 stage version, which played on Broadway for nearly two years and is famous for its line-up of female talent: Lucy Simon (music), Marsha Norman (book and lyrics), Susan H. Schulman (direction) and Heidi Landesman (its Tony-winning set).

The story takes place in 1849 during the early years of the reign of Queen Victoria. Sour puss Mary Lenox (Katherine Leigh Doherty), orphaned at age 11 (in the WFT version), is repatriated from India to Yorkshire, England, the home of her uncle whom she’s never met. Rebuffed by her parents who didn’t have time for her, she is an angry child wearing a perpetual scowl. Waited on by servants (who even dress her), she can do little for herself. Doherty (a veteran of WFT productions who in the 7th grade originated the role of Jane Banks in the Broadway production of Mary Poppins) gives a sturdy performance of the little girl who matures a lot in the course of the show.

Archibald Craven, Mary’s uncle, is the owner of Misselthwaite Manor, which butts up against the foreboding moors. He is a retiring figure, absent in mind and spirit as he mourns the death some 11 years ago of his wife. He is also physically absent, staying away home a good deal. He is portrayed with aristocratic grace by Russell Garrett.

The task of keeping order in the house belongs to Mrs. Medlock, something of a less malevolent version of Mrs. Danvers from “Rebecca.” Jacqui Parker provides Medlock with a firmness that is appropriately scary. She also, though, makes it apparent that she has a great deal on her hands, particularly with the sick child whose tantrums set everyone scurrying. Given, however, that Parker has as wonderful a voice as anyone in this cast of exceptional singers (her most recent role was Billie Holliday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” at the Lyric), it’s a pity there wasn’t an aria for her in this script. Also, a song would have given her more of an equal footing with the other characters as being a multi-dimensional person.

Under Mrs. Medlock’s thumb is a housemaid, played with zest and great good humor by Jennifer Beth Glick, who won an IRNE last season for her performance as Gertrude in WFT’s production of the musical “Seussical.” Glick’s Martha Sowerby does her best to make Mary’s stay at Misselthwaite Manor a happier one even though at times it jeopardizes her job whose income her family desperately needs. Her brother Dickon, a fey character who talks to animals and totally has their trust, is charmingly portrayed by experienced actor Andrew Barbato (artistic director of Cellar Door Stage which does original children’s musicals). He too is pivotal to Mary’s personal growth.

The cranky gardener Ben Weatherstaff in a strong performance from Neil Gustafson, sees a kindred spirit in Mary. He is impressed when a robin takes to the odd child. The robin, which appears with some frequency, is a beautifully carved and painted wood puppet from props designer Marjorie Lusignan manipulated by a hidden stage hand.

Mary’s cousin, the invalid Master Colin Craven, son of the owner of the manor, is played with a nicely-honed venom by Ellis Gage. He is, by his own choice, hidden away, just as the secret garden is. Mary scales the garden’s wall, and, figuratively speaking, scales his wall too; but not without drama. Theirs is a clash of titanic brattiness through which they emerge far improved in behavior.

Matthew T. Lazure, who has done many of the Gold Dust Orphan shows, designed the magnificent set. Lazure effectively creates the panorama of the bleak manor with its long corridors off which there are many rooms, including the sick room of the willful Colin. While outside on the estate property with its formal gardens another garden is hidden behind a high stonewall whose gateway is covered with vines.

The first rate costumer Stacey Stephens has dressed them all with flair. And the talented Goldberg, at the keyboards, doubles as orchestrator and music director, conducting a capable 4-piece ensemble in a lyrical score where much of the dialogue is sung and there are many arias.

“The Secret Garden” has held a magical appeal for children and in the memory of adults who were fond of it growing up for over a century. The production at Wheelock Family Theater is a happy revisit to this favorite story.

The Secret Garden continues through Feb 27 at the Wheelock Family Theater, 200 The Riverway, Boston. Performances are Fri. nights at 7:30 with Sat. and Sun.matinees at three. There are also school vacation week matinees at one, Feb. 22-25. More info on-line at tickets@wheelock.edu.

By Kay Bourne
Official Website of Wheelock Family Theatre


KIRSTEN GREENIDGE TALKS ABOUT WRITING
748 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #88(pictured: Kirsten Greenidge)
The truism that black people profoundly understand whites (it’s been a matter of survival) is exampled in Arlington resident Kirsten Greenidge’s “The Luck of the Irish.” Her perceptive drama about a black family who pays an Irish couple to buy a house on their behalf in 1950s Boston and the impact of that agreement 40 years later had a dynamic reading as part of the Huntington Theatre Company’s new play development program.

The up-and-coming playwright whose drama “Bossa Nova” starring Ella Joyce premiered a month ago at Yale Repertory Theater (the launching pad for many August Wilson plays) benefits from the Huntington Theatre Company’s broad ranging commitment to the development of new plays, particularly from local writers.

“The Luck of the Irish” read Feb 3 by a top flight cast of actors under the direction of Melia Bensussen was staged as part of the Breaking Ground reading series. Past Breaking Ground playwrights include Lydia R. Diamond, Ronan Noone, Theresa Rebeck, David Rambo, and Melina Lopez.

KBAR interviewed Greenidge by phone the following day regarding the importance to a playwright of the Huntington Theatre Company’s involvement in developing her script.

“Theater offers live bodies,” said Greenidge about the value of the reading to her. “You get an idea how the play’s working. Afterwards I can do re-writes based on making sure of the clarity of the story or cut for repetition. Also, I don’t write comedies so if I have a joke in there that doesn’t get a laugh, I’ll cut it.”

Greenidge says the Huntington Theater Company does “a wonderful job” supporting a playwright. She was active with their development program for two years starting in 2008. “I’d meet once a month with the other playwrights, there were four of us, to discuss each other’s work which we’d read beforehand. There was an hour devoted to each play in which you got feedback.”

Greenidge sets her plays in Boston and environs, as for instance, “103 Within the Veil” staged several seasons ago by Company One which looked at the life of a black photographer in the South End at the turn of the 20th century. “Bossa Nova” is set in a home and at a private girls’ school in the Boston area. She has had seven plays staged. “I live here,” she explained about locating her stories here. You write about what you know.

“Movies set in Boston are doing well. I hope my work about Boston will ride that trend,” she said.
By Kay Bourne



WHERE ARE THEY NOW………

749 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #88
(pictured: Tony Rose)

The interview with record producer and book publisher Tony Rose currently of Phoenix is the second in a series of conversations KBAR will run with artists who were active in Boston but now ply their art in other places.

1. How did Boston inspire you as an artist?

Roxbury inspired me by its harshness, to be strong, tough and determined to succeed. Along with the knowledge to find another way of life away from my reality of poverty, alcohol, drugs and extraordinary violence. Roxbury inspired me by the spoken word and activism of the men and women of the Sixties. Roxbury inspired me by the talent of the young men and women I met during the Boston Black Music Scene of the late Seventies, early Eighties. Roxbury inspired me by the beauty of its people, its women all through my creative life. Roxbury inspired me by the R&B music on the radio (WILD AM) in the Fifties and Sixties I heard while growing up in the Whittier St, Housing Projects. Roxbury gave me the St. Francis de Sales School on Cabot St. where I learned the power of God and the will to learn. Roxbury gave me my voice, my strength, my courage, my spirit to take on the whole world.

2. What is your happiest memory regarding a) living and b) creating in Boston?

The streets of Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester and it’s women during all seasons, all types of weather, the warmth and love they gave, that would include my wife of thirty years Yvonne Rose, and the day the truck pulled up to my house at 428 Talbot Avenue in Dorchester, October 19, 1979, with my first record on my own record company, Solid Platinum Records and Productions, that I had executive produced, and produced with Charles Alexander, Maurice Starr and Michael Jonzun, by my new act that I was just starting to manage Prince Charles and the City Beat Band.. A little 12inch record called “In the Streets”. We had all just met and known each other a few months, we were all struggling to be heard, to get some musical name recognition. The record gave us all a local, national and international name immediately and I guess you could say with a lot more hard work, we never looked back. I met Yvonne Willis that same year also. What a beautiful year. I had gone to see Pope John Paul II at the Boston Commons, September, 1979 and prayed with him for courage, strength, stamina and wisdom. I wanted to succeed so bad. I attribute that to all the people that have helped me, all the glory that God has given me, to that day standing on a hill at the Boston Commons.

3. What supports for your art did you find in Boston?

First the people from Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester, then becoming known to a strong media force in Boston who supported my efforts through promoting the records, shows, concerts, parties, all that I was doing.
The African American media was the first and greatest – the newspaper and radio – Kay Bourne at the Banner and the Seventh Son at WILD radio and then Boston television. We did a lot of work, with a great station at that time Channel 68, then Karen Holmes, Tanya Hart, Denise Rollins, Mel Miller, all my friends in Boston. They were wonderful.

4. What drew you to where you now create?

The peace and quiet. I lived in Boston, Los Angeles, back to Boston, New York City, London, Paris, back to Los Angeles, back to Boston, back to New York City, back to Los Angeles and then to Phoenix, AZ. I lived in the whole world traveling and working, making a whole lot of noise , living a whole lot of life, creating and doing creative business always. So the peace and quiet for me in Phoenix is good.

5. How has your new location affected your art?

It hasn’t affected it one way or another, as the goal is always to just keep moving forward. I moved back to Los Angeles in 1995 and sold my music catalogue in 1995 and transitioned from the recording industry to the book Publishing industry in 1997. Since moving to Phoenix in 1996 I’ve written and published three best-selling books. Formed Amber Books and Colossus Books which incorporated to Amber Communications Group, Inc. and has a catalog of over one hundred titles, making it the nation’s largest African American Publisher of Self-Help Books and Music Biographies in the world, and started Quality Press in 2000, now the largest African American Self-Publisher/Vanity Press Book Packager in the country, having helped along with Yvonne, thousands of Self-Publishers publish their books.

6. Do you think of yourself as a Bostonian or otherwise?

I think of myself as a Roxburian, born and raised. The good and the bad. The best of the best.

7. What sort of a life have you made for yourself where you now are?

A very good life. A peaceful and quiet life, when I am here. Actually I am now just starting to really live here, meaning that I am getting involved in the city in a major way with the Phoenix Book Fair and Arts Festival which I founded in 2010. The city is sponsoring the Burton Barr Central Library and The Margaret T. Hance Park for our two day book fair use on October 21st and 22nd, 2011. It is going to be huge. With the digital Ebook age and getting older I don’t and can’t travel as much as I used to.

Bio. Tony Rose attended the University of Massachusetts and the University of California in Los Angeles. He was employed as a production assistant at the Burbank Studios (Warner Brothers and Columbia Pictures), in the accounting and sales division at Warner/Electra/Atlantic Records (WEA), an accounts representative at Warren Lanier Public Relations and as an A & R representative at RCA Records, Los Angeles, California.

He returned to Boston and along with record producer Maurice Starr became the primary architect of that, which in the late 70′s and 80′s would be called “The Boston Black Music Scene” a movement that ultimately led to the discovery of the international blockbusters Prince Charles and the City Beat Band, The Jonzun Crew, New Edition and New Kids on the Block. In the 80′s he held recording / production deals with Virgin Records, Atlantic Records and Pavilion / CBS/Sony Records and has earned Gold and Platinum Albums and Golden Reel Awards for his musical efforts.

In 2004 he co-founded and became the Executive Director of The African American Pavilion at BookExpo America bringing together as exhibitors and attendees a community of thousands of African American book publishers and book publishing industry professionals, a feat that had been unprecedented in the 109-year history of BookExpo America. In 2005 he founded the Katrina Literary Collective, which has been responsible for collecting and donating over 90,000 books for the Hurricane Katrina Survivors and serves as a founding Director of the Harlem Book Fair National, The Harlem Book Fair/Roxbury, Mass and in 2010 founded the Phoenix Book Fair and Art Festival a subsidiary of the National Coalition of Citywide Book Fairs, Art Festivals and Pavilions.
He can be reached at 602-743-7211 or amberbk@aol.com. You can view his company at www.amberbooks.com and www.qualitypress.info.



HONORING THE LIFE OF JAMES SPRUILL

750 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #88Renowned theater artist and scholar James Spruill, who died of pancreatic cancer on December 31 at the age of 73, will be memorialized, Saturday afternoon, February 12 from two to 4:30 pm at the Boston Center for The Arts. The Baltimore native had already made a name for himself as an actor in New York when he was called to Boston in the late Sixties to act in Athol Fugard’s “Blood Knot” for David Wheeler’s Theater Company of Boston. Many young actors such as Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Jon Voight, and Robert DeNiro were helped to launch national careers from performances at the Jewel Box Theater but Spruill would make Boston his home and Boston would embrace him as one of their own. In turn, Spruill would himself launch actors into national careers from his position as a tenured associate professor of theater arts at Boston University and earlier as a teacher at Emerson College and as an artistic director of the Roxbury-based New African Company which he brought into being with actor Gus Johnson and ran for over 30 years with his wife playwright Lynda Patton. His research into the where-abouts of escaped slave and abolitionist William Wells Brown’s never performed play “The Escape:or A Leap for Freedom” led to Spruill’s staging the drama which he did twice. Interestingly, Well’s play was written in 1868, a century before the founding of The New African Company in 1968.



LIVING LEDGENDS – MUSEUM OF AA HISTORY

751 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #88 LIVING LEGENDS AWARDS
FRIDAY EVENING, MARCH 11, 2011
Four Seasons Hotel Boston

In April 1833, William Lloyd Garrison, editor of the antislavery newspaper, The Liberator, and founder of the New England Anti-Slavery Society made his first trip to England intending to raise funds for a school for black children. Before he left Boston, Garrison gave a farewell address on April 2 at the African Meeting House. The next evening a group of black Boston leaders presented him with this silver cup. Garrison’s letter of gratitude acknowledged the gift “as a pledge of your friendship and appreciation of my labors in that noblest of all enterprises, the rescue of the whole colored race from servitude and degradation.” A replica of this cup is presented to the Museum’s Living Legends.
For more information, please email the Development Office at development@maah.orgor call the Museum at (617) 725-0022, ext. 222.



LILLY’S PURPLE PURSE

752 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #88The irrepressible mouse heroine of Chester’s Way and Julius, the Baby of the World, Lilly loves everything about school, especially her teacher, Mr. Slinger–until he takes away her musical purse because she can’t stop playing with it in class. Lilly decides to get revenge with a nasty drawing of “Big Fat Mean Mr. Stealing Teacher!” but when she finds the kind note he put in her purse, she’s filled with remorse and has to find a way to make things right again. Based on the story book suitable for ages 4 to 8. Two shows remaining, Sat. & Sun. afternoons at two, Feb, 12 & 13 at YMCA Greater Boston, 316 Huntington Ave. near Jordan Hall. For more info go to info@bostonchildren’stheatre.org.


SEEING IT LEE’S WAY AT HIBERNIAN HALL
753 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #88 What a night! A free opening reception for the first exhibit in the Center Gallery, “Seeing it Lee’s Way,” will be held on Thursday, February 17, 6:00-7:00 p.m. The selection of photographs by Elliot Lee, curated by his daughter Patti Lee, depicts the South End and Roxbury during the 1970s. The public is invited to view the photography and greet the curator in the third-floor meeting room, and then segue into the ballroom for our weekly supper club, Cafe Tatant.

Milton Wright, accompanied by keyboardist Alonzo Harris, will offer a program of love songs at 7:30 in honor of Valentine’s Day. Four emerging young singers will be special guests: Shaffney Terrell, Zakiyyah Sutton, I Rose, and Supreme. As always, the music will be served up with a fine meal prepared by George Huggins of Ethnica Gourmet. Admission $12, meal and show combo $28, combo for two $54. Reservations preferred; contact Dillon Bustin: dbustin@madison-park.org or 617-849-6322.


WHEN MAHALIA SINGS
754 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #88 WHEN MAHALIA SINGS
A JOURNEY WITH THE WORLD’S GREATEST GOSPEL SINGER
PRESENTED BY MIXED MAGIC THEATRE
· PERFORMANCES: 2/4-2/20

FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS @8PM, SUNDAYS @4PM

Jackson was a giant in a world of musical and social giants, listing among her friends some of the world’s most respected entertainers, writers and civil rights leaders. Though she reigned as a pioneer interpreter of Gospel music, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was described by Little Richard as “the true queen of spiritual singers.” This original play (with music) takes you on a train ride from Jackson’s hometown of New Orleans to Chicago, and traces her life and the story of America in the throes of deep change. It is a celebration of musical greats that inlcude Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Clara Ward, Thomas Dorsey, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. It is also the story of her friendship with Martin Luther King and her commitment to the civil rights movement. Written & directed by Jonathan Pitts-Wiley.

BUY TICKETS

GROUPS OF 15 OR MORE: PLEASE EMAIL BOXOFFICE@CMACUSA.ORG TO GET GROUP DISCOUNT CODE INFORMATION.
Cambridge Multi Cultural Arts at 41 Second St., East Cambridge. For more info 617-577-1400 or go on-line www.cmacusa.org.


BLACK HISTORY AT BOSTON CITY HALL
755 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #88In celebration of Black History Month, Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s Office of Arts, Tourism & Special Events presents exhibitions at Boston City Hall from January 10, 2011 to February 25, 2011. The three exhibits include the AAMARP artists in The Scollay Square Gallery.

Urban Celebrations, selected works from the African-American Master Artists in Residence Program. AAMARP is a center of excellence in multicultural visual and performing arts dedicated to creating an enriching cultural environment for a diverse community through exhibitions, concerts, performances, lectures, and workshops. Founded in 1977 by Dana Chandler, AAMARP today provides studio space for artists whose work has made an invaluable contribution to Northeastern University and to the vitality of the African-American art scene in Boston and throughout the nation. It remains a prominent center for discussion of the African Diaspora cultural growth and development. AAMARP is an adjunct of the Department of African American Studies, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts. The participating artists include Kofi Kayiga, Gloretta Baynes, Susan Thompson, Jeff Chandler, Walter Clark, Bryan McFarlane, Khalid Kodi and Hakim Raquib.

Also on exhibit are works on paper from Elisa H. Hamilton and Memories of Haiti’s Earthquake curated by E. Barry Gaither.


558 MASS AVE CELEBRATES BLACK ART – SUN.
756 Kay Bourne Arts Report   Issue #88
The League of Women for Community Service is hosting a Black history month program ”History of Black Art in Boston: Then and Now,” this Sunday, Feb.13 from 2-4p.m. at 558 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA Our own Chandra Ortiz will be presenting, along with Edmund Barry Gaither, director and curator of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists. (see the attached program)

In Boston’s Historic Southend558 Massachusetts AvenueBoston, MA 02118Phone: 617-536-3747www.leagueofwomen.org

Official Site of the League of Women for Community Service

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