Monday, June 16, 2008

Broadway Dreamin' --- Yes we can...

Last night, in our separate homes, we watched the Tony Awards with particular glee. Yes, we were happy for all of the award recipients, particularly for winners In the Heights and Stew from Passing Strange who bring a different flavor to the Great White Way.

But our excitement really comes from visions of next year’s Tonys dancing in our heads. Now, at this point you already know we’re prone to hallucination—we do it professionally. It’s called writing fiction. But we were transporting ourselves to Radio City, 2009, and imagining the new revival of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, being a multi-nominated play. In this daydream we are in the theater, applauding ourselves silly and so proud we can barely stand it.

We’ve mentioned that our friend Keryl (along with last night’s Tony host Whoopi Goldberg among others)is on the team that is producing Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem, which we like to think of as spokenword from back in the day of Gil Scott-Heron, and The Last Poets among others—back when rap was a lame line delivered (with appropriate swagger) by a brother who thought he was bad. India.aire will star (there’s more casting news, but we have to keep our lips sealed a little while longer). And now they have a theater so it’s really on! The production will be mounted at Circle in the Square Theater on Broadway—rehearsals to begin mid July, previews in August and opening in early September. WE CAN’T WAIT!!!

Donna is particularly delirious because the play has always held special meaning:
I was 19 when I first saw it. My friend and sister Arlene and I were in college and we heard about this play and had to see it. So we took ourselves down to the Public Theater—not our usual stomping ground. We we’re catching more stuff at Henry Street Settlement, the Negro Ensemble Company, Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theater, Black Spectrum Theater (where I used to perform, but that’s a whole ‘nother story) . . . Anyway, it never occurred to us that the performance would be sold out, but it was. This was not possible. We HAD to see it—that day. So somehow we found an usher and pled our case. We were either persuasive or pitiful, but after the house lights went down, he led us to two spots in the aisle, and we watched, sitting on the stairs. By the end we were so excited we could not speak in whole sentences, but we didn’t have to. The Ladies in Brown, Purple, Red, Green, Blue and Orange had spoken to us, touched us, were us. And for me, I realized very personally, that writing could be about telling the truth of what you know. It was a major moment. My copy of For Colored Girls is yellowed and well loved—I read it every few years and it is still as fresh to me as ever.

We’ll share more news as soon as we can. But all y’all who plan a getaway weekend or arrange busloads from your hometown to come to NY to see a “black” play (and you know who you are)—get your email lists and phone trees ready--- there’s another great show on the way!! Autumn in NY is so wonderful...and the Holidays are amazing!!!

Onward to opening night!

Sometimes we really have to pinch ourselves—our 4 Colored Girls Productions team is producing a movie, our friend’s Dream Team is producing the much acclaimed For Colored Girls... on Broadway and an African American man is the Democratic Nominee for President of the United States. “Umph--- umph—umph!” is what we know our grandparents would say.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 2:15 PM


Anonymous Madaline Sparks said...

The first time I came to visit NYC, in 1976, I came from from Garrison, IA (now under water) where I was working as a theatre slave in various jobs at a regional theatre company. I saw "4 Colored Girls". It was my first show on Broadway. My 2 friends and I bought Student Rush tickets which were fantastic seats. It was transforming. It was altering. It played a significant part in my burgeoning feminist awareness. It will be so restorative to see it again.

After the show, we repaired to a nearby tavern (no longer in existence). When some members of the cast and some celebrities (a young Al Pacino, with his friend John Cazale) showed up there after the show we thought we had entered the firmament! It was a night to remember.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Eisa said...

This is amazing news, Sisters! I can not wait to see For Colored Girls on stage. Wonderful!

I think something new and very fresh is happening in Black Theatre...


2:21 PM  

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