Friday, January 28, 2011

Amun Ra Theatre's New Season

Some interesting news from Amun Ra Theatre today as they announced their new season: this year is the last one in which they'll produce plays using adult performers. Here's the presser:


NASHVILLE - (January 28, 2011) - Amun Ra Theatre (ART) is proud to
announce the 2011 Season, themed "This Far By Faith," which includes the
Nashville professional premiere of Mahalia, A Musical, by Tom Stolz,
directed by Kenetha carr; the Nashville premiere of The Old Settler, by
the legendary John Henry Redwood, directed by Artistic Director Dr. jeff
obafemi carr; and the Nashville Premiere of Jar The Floor, by modern giant
Cheryl West; this year for the holidays, Music City audiences will be
treated to an all-star performance of Fats Waller's Broadway Musical smash
Ain't Misbehavin'.

In celebration of 10 years of providing opportunities for minority actors,
playwrights, directors, and theater technicians, ART announces that
commencing in 2012, Amun Ra Theatre will evolve into a full time,
year-round arts training and performance institution for youth and teens,
building on the success of its Youth Performing ARTs Academy. Young people from ages 7-18 will take the reins of writing, acting, and performing
seasonal plays, building sets, designing lights, and learning the
foundations of dance, music, and visual arts, all under the guidance of
professional artists.

Founder and Artistic Director Dr. jeff obafemi carr states, "It's awesome.
This is a huge move, but it's a timely and needed one. When I first moved
back here from New York to start ART, it was because there was a drought
in cultural offerings in Nashville for black actors and I wanted be a part
of offering a solution. I'm proud to say that over the last decade, we've
trained and given opportunities to over 100 adult aspiring artists,
several of whom have moved on to work at many of the union houses in
Nashville and abroad. Now it's time to turn a page and pass this on to the
children so that they can be equipped to grab their dreams by the horns.
They will have a building, a reputation, and a group of what we're calling
ART Alums to mentor them to higher heights."

One of the benchmark events for 2011 will be ART To Africa. The Youth
Performing ARTs Academy children and ART staff will travel to the Village
of Champions Orphanage, located outside of Accra, Ghana in July. There
they will participate in a cultural exchange with the youth while building
a physical addition onto the facility, resulting in a permanent
performance space that will be christened with a joint performance by ART
and the Village of Champions young people. The performance will feature
music, drama, dance, and visual art.

"We're acting really 'grown' for a 10-year old," carr added. "But if we
are going to hand over a theatre like Amun Ra--with its established
national reputation--to young people, they need to know that the stakes
are high and so are our expectations. In the meantime, the adults are
promising Nashville a 2011 that will be long-remembered in their minds and
hearts." All proceeds from all shows this season will benefit the youth
programs of ART.


Written by: Tom Stolz
Dates: February 25th - March 13th

Mahalia, A Gospel Musical is a tribute to the late, great gospel warrior
who captivated the nation and audiences around the world with her
distinctive soulful voice and effervescent delivery. Her legacy is so
profound that her first name alone conjures up enough stirring memories to
bring a church crowd to its feet, and might even save a wayward soul or
two. This production will feature ART favorite Vera Warrick (The Colored
Museum, Black Nativity) in the title role.

The Old Settler
Written by: John Henry Redwood
Dates: May 13th - May 29th

"Redwood's gentle, sweet-natured comedy about life in Harlem in 1943. It's
a play that chooses to remember the good without the bad, being about the
relationship of two aging, church-going sisters.and what happens when a
handsome young fellow, newly arrived from the Deep South, rents a room in
the apartment they share.For all of its decent sentiments, THE OLD SETTLER
avoids sentimentality. It has the authenticity and lack of pretense of an
Early American sampler." -NY Times.

Jar The Floor
Written by: Cheryl West
Dates: September 16th - October 2nd

A quartet of black women spanning four generations makes up this
heartwarming dramatic comedy. The four women, plus the white woman friend
of the youngest, come together to celebrate the matriarch's ninetieth
birthday. It's a wild party, one that is a lovable lunatic glance at the
exhilarating challenge of growing old amidst the exasperating trials of
growing up.

Ain't Misbehavin'
Written by: Fats Waller
Dates: December 2nd - December 18th

The outrageously prodigious comic and musical soul of 1930s Harlem lives
on in this rollicking, swinging, finger-snapping revue that is still
considered one of Broadway's best. Ain't Misbehavin'' evokes the
delightful humor and infectious energy of this American original as a
versatile cast struts, strums and sings the songs he made famous in a
career that ranged from uptown clubs to downtown Tin Pan Alley to
Hollywood and concert stages in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

All productions will be held at the Amun Ra Theatre Playhouse, located at
2508 Clifton Avenue, unless otherwise noted.

Tickets may be purchased online at or reserved by
calling 1-800-838-3006. For local information, and to inquire about group
sales discounts, call (615) 329-iACT (4228).

Amun Ra Theatre is a not-for-profit, 501 (c)(3), professional performing
arts ensemble. Founded by film and stage actor jeff obafemi carr ("The
Second Chance"), the company's mission is to expose audiences to the
wealth of African-American culture through dance, music, drama and spoken word. To learn more about Amun Ra Theatre, visit

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