Longtime Jubilee Theatre patrons who have been missing seeing a new work from late founder Rudy Eastman on the season will have some reason to rejoice with the group's 2012-'13 season. There's not a title from Eastman, but the group is returning to something that has been a staple of the organization since it began: Brand new musicals. There'll be not just one but two world premiere musicals next season, one of which we knew about because of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
The NEA grant was for Black Spurs, a musical about cowboys of color. The other world premiere musical is Travlin', a revue abou the Harlem Renaissance. The third musical on the season, Mirandy and Brother Wind, is pretty new, too, having had its premiere in 2011 in Washington, D.C.
The plays in the season, all of which were written in the past 10 years, include Flight (2005) by Charlayne Woodard (whose Pretty Fire was seen at Jubilee in February), Black Pearl Sings (premiered in Houston in 2007; was seen a few years ago at WaterTower Theatre), and Charles Smith's 2010 play Knock Me a Kiss.
The season is dubbed "Looking Back," because all the works look back in history, although each of the titles is new, or relatively so.
"We stand on the shoulders of our forefathers, and because of them with every generation we are able to reach a little higher," artistic director Tre Garrett says in the news release. "This season we will lift up the voices of our forefathers and allow them to sing a variety of voices, singing with the harmonies of acknowledgement, gratitude and hope for the future."
"We are doing great things at Jubilee Theatre. We are commissioning new works, actively cultivating talent, growing our audience and moving toward a bright and promising future," Garrett adds. "We hope you'll join us to 'Look Back' and enjoy the ride."
Here's the 2012-13 season breakdown:
Flight, by Charlayne Woodard
Previews: 9/21/12, plays 9/28-10/21/12
On a Georgia plantation in 1858 a young mother is suddenly sold, leaving behind her husband and five-year-old son. Through a magical evening of storytelling, music and dance, the enslaved community comes together, not only to comfort father and son, but to heal and strengthen all. Flight is an inspirational theatrical experience for the whole family. These empowering stories, based on actual slave narratives and African/African-American folktales, celebrate the African-American oral tradition as it passes from generation to generation—to you.
Black Spurs (A Jubilee Theatre Original Musical, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts), book by Celeste Bedford Walker, music by Ron Hasley.
Previews 11/24/12, plays 12/1-30/12
A family musical about the colorful, diverse history that shaped the wild, wild West. A young man sets out to avenge his father's death and save the family farm by joining a trail ride and winning a bull-riding contest. Along the way he meets a cast of characters that helped tame the west.
Black Pearl Sings (A play with music), by Frank Higgins
Previews 1/25/13, plays 2/1-24/13
Highlighted by beautiful, a cappella renditions of little-known American folk songs, this play tells the Depression-era story of two extraordinary women: a gifted singer stuck in a Texas prison and the Library of Congress song collector who is determined to introduce her silky voice and steely spirit to the world.
Travlin' (World Premiere Musical) book by Gary Holmes and Allen Shapiro, composer J.C. Johnson
Previews 3/29/13, plays 4/5-28/13
A 1930's Harlem musical review celebrating the music of African-American composer J. C. Johnson. This cabaret-style show—reminiscent of many well-known, bluesy Broadway revues—captures the music and energy of Harlem through the vision of a renowned composer.
Knock Me A Kiss (Comedy) by Charles Smith
Previews 5/17/13, plays 5/24-6/16/13
A hilarious and imaginative play telling the true story of the union between two major Harlem Renaissance families and the scandal that rocked the Renaissance.
Mirandy and Brother Wind by Patricia C. McKissack, Adapted by Michael J. Bobbitt, Music and Lyrics by John L. Cornelius
Previews 7/12, plays 7/19-8/11/13
It's Spring, 1906 in Ridgetop, South Carolina. Mirandy is excited about the Annual Junior Cakewalk dance, determined to catch the legendary Brother Wind and have him as her dance partner. Mirandy and her friends try every trick they can think of to capture Brother Wind. Along their journey, they learn wonderful lessons about friendship, family and being free. This musical is perfect family entertainment for the hot summer months.
For info on subscriptions and tickets, call 817-338-4411 or visit www.jubileetheatre.org