As part of its inaugural Locally Grown Festival Theater J is presenting the world premiere of The Hampton Years. Written by Jacqueline E. Lawton and directed by Shirley Serotsky, The Hampton Years explores the development of African-American artists, John Biggers and Samella Lewis while under the tutelage of Austrian Jewish refugee painter and educator, Viktor Lowenfeld during their time at Hampton Institute – now Hampton University - during WWII. As the play unfolds it reveals the dreams and travails of young artists in a still segregated society while examining the impact of World War II on a Jewish immigrant and his wife finding shelter in the US and his controversial influence in shaping the careers of African American students. The Hampton Years runs through June 30.
Archive for arts
This year, February is a month to explore and enjoy dance for arts lovers in the Washington. Friday, February 1 Ron K. Brown brings his Brooklyn-based dance company Evidence back to George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium for a program that includes On Earth Together, comprised of Stevie Wonder songs. February 5 – February 10, now under the direction of Robert Battle, America’s cultural ambassador to the world, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the Kennedy Center for its annual engagement featuring a combination of captivating new work and enduring classics. And not to be missed is the area debut of a new collaboration between choreographer Bill T. Jones and SITI Company’s Anne Bogart. In A Rite, these two artists have deconstructed the original score of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring to create a provocative meditation on the power of singular new works of art to alter the way we think.
The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) is making U Street, Howard University, Shaw, and Logan Circle the focus of its free community engagement activities in January 2013. Between January 8 and 14, members of the NSO are breaking into small ensembles to perform chamber music and educational activities as requested by community organizations. The NSO has worked with approximately 20 partners in these communities, and has agreed to fulfill more than 30 activities requested by the neighborhoods. Venues include the Lincoln Theater, Florida Avenue Baptist Church, Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium, Whole Foods and Dahlak Eritrean Restaurant.
The culminating event in the will be a concert by the full NSO at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium, January 14, at 7 p.m. which will be led by NSO Music Director Christoph Eschenbach and NSO Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke. The celebrated soprano Jessye Norman, a graduate of Howard University, will perform, and the program will include the Washington premiere of George Walker’s Sinfonia No. 4, co-commissioned by the NSO. Events are free but some do require registration in advance. View the full schedule here.
Election Day isn’t the only time to weigh in on what is going on in your community. Help shape the landscape of art grants in Washington, DC. On Thursday, November 8th and Wednesday, November 14, 2012, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) will host open forums to receive feedback from the District’s arts community on upcoming plans for the increased arts budget for FY 2013. The top priority of the forums will be to discuss the agency’s new grant program, the Arts Stabilization Grant (ASG).
The Arts Stabilization Grant (ASG) is one-time funding to support cultural organizations that have demonstrated a long-term impact within the District of Columbia. The program provides general operating funds to arts and humanities organizations whose primary function is exhibition, presentation or training in the arts and humanities.
The forum on November 8th will take place at the University of the District of Columbia in Building 44, Room A05. Attendees are encouraged to take Metro due to parking restrictions. The nearest metro rail station is Van Ness (Red Line). The following week, the DCCAH will host its second forum on November 14th at the new DCCAH office at 200 I (Eye) Street, Southeast, in the conference room. The Navy Yard Metro station (Green Line) is two blocks from to the office. Public transportation is encouraged because of limited street parking. Photo identification is required to enter the DCCAH office building. Both forums will begin at 6:00 PM and will run until 8:00 PM.
The fall 2012 arts season will bring a breath of fresh air to the Washington theater community, and also a number of works featuring African American actors. With a mixture of dramas and musicals, familiar favorites and new work, offerings that appeal to old and young, several theaters are offering five very good reasons to visit them during the first half of their season.
Ralph Ellison’s groundbreaking novel that shined a penetrating light on race in America, Invisible Man, first published in 1952, has been adapted for the stage by Oren Jacoby and opens September 5 at the Studio Theatre. The show was first mounted last season at the Court Theatre in Chicago receiving tremendous praise and attention from audiences and became the highest grossing drama in that theaters history. The Studio Theatre production is the Washington area’s premier and is being directed by Christopher McElroen, a co-founder of the Classical Theatre of Harlem.
In late September Fly, written by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan lands on the stage of Ford’s Theater. Directed by Mr. Khan, Fly explores the lives of four Tuskegee Airmen that helped to break barriers of segregation in the United States military during World War II. Fly is the second in a series of productions being presented through the Lincoln Legacy Project, an initiative by Ford’s Theater to use the stage in fostering dialogue around the issues of tolerance, equality and acceptance.
As the holiday season approaches, the musical reigns supreme. Arena Stage makes your foot tap and soul sing with the world premier of Pullman Porter Blues, written by Cheryl L. West, who also wrote Before It Hits Home, Jar the Floor and Holiday Heart. In Pullman Porter Blues three generations of men from the Sykes family are all porters on a train heading from Chicago to New Orleans in June 1937 and the audience gets to take that ride with them on a journey through conversations about race, hope and reality, laced with 14 original and classic blues songs.
The Broadway musical that made stars out of Jennifer Holiday, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine and an Oscar winner of Jennifer Hudson, for her film portrayal of Effie White, Dreamgirls comes to the Signature Theatre in November. An exciting score that everyone can sing along to with characters in search of success and love that everyone can relate to, Dreamgirls is an American theater jewel that always shines.
And because theater is truly for everyone, children can’t be left out. Imagination Stage’s popular production of P.Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical will run again from September 29 – October 18. A modern take on the tale of Pinocchio with a hip-hop twist, P. Nokio learns the power of truth. Through fun music, rhymes and dance it is an incredible lesson any kid can cheer about and it is a great introduction to the theater for young arts lovers in the making.
The AIDS Memorial Quilt was started in June of 1987 to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, and to be used as a tool to help the world understand the impact of the disease. More than 20 years later the Quilt remains a reminder of a pandemic that still exists. As Washington, DC hosts the International AIDS Conference, sections of the Quilt are on display on The National Mall and at more than 40 other locations throughout the Washington, D.C. area from July 21- 25. Most venues will be open from 10 am to 5 pm during this time.
The Quilt consisting of 48,000 panels has rarely wholly been on display. With the advancement of technology however, a collaboration of researchers and academicians have created a digitized quilt that allows for more accessibility and the ability to search panels by name.
If you are interested in expressing yourself, ONE and (RED) recently launched (2015) Quilt to engage a new generation in fighting the pandemic where anyone can create a panel. Learn more about their campaign for the beginning of the end of AIDS here.
There is no place like home and Step Afrika!, DC’s renowned dance company is proving that to local audiences during its annual Home Performance Series through Sunday July 1 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. This year, Step Afrika! is using this showcase to show off its world premiere of nxt/step, an all new production that remixes the power and international influence of stepping with hip hop, multimedia and rhythm. The show highlights the very best of the artistic and athletic company, which includes the striking finesse of Andrew Vinson Jr.
This year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival kicks off with the free “Bring Back the Funk” concert presented by The National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall, Wednesday, June 27, from 6 pm to 9 pm in the Festival’s “Panorama Room” performance tent between 12th and 14th Streets. “Bring Back the Funk” will open the Folklife Festival’s evening concert series and will take place within view of the future site of the museum. Music legend George Clinton will be joined by Meshell Ndegeocello, Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk. Tom Joyner who will serve as emcee for this summer spectacular. The concert is part of a year-long series of events celebrating the groundbreaking of The National Museum of African American History and Culture and Black Music Month.
Art is for everyone and with that belief the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities has opened up their Art Bank Collection in a new way to make it even more accessible for more to enjoy. The Art Bank Collection is a collection of artworks purchased from District artists and placed in District Government buildings throughout the city. This year DC Commission on Arts and Humanities has created wallpapers of more than 20 paintings and photographs that can be placed on your computer desktop and mobile phone or tablet. Step-by-step instructions are provided on the site.
Many can dance, but not everyone can dance like Bill T. Jones. Many can sing, but not everyone can sing like Audra McDonald. Many can rap, but not everyone can craft complex raps over beats and rhythms like the 54 rap artists that Ice-T has assembled for his highly anticipated documentary Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap. Ice-T interviews icons KRS-One, Rakim, Chuck D, Ice Cube, Eminem, Big Daddy Kane and a plethora of younger artists. Rappers share from a more intimate place about themselves and their art. The limited Washington, DC engagement of Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap begins at E Street Cinema on June 15.