Fort Worth — Jubilee Theatre's first season selected by D. Wambui Richardson, the organization's fifth artistic director, has been announced. Of the six shows, three musicals and three plays, three are by black women: Lisa B. Thompson, Trey Anthony, and Lorraine Hansberry, whose To Be Young, Gifted and Black — based on the groundbreaking author's autobiographical writings and assembled into a play after her death — was produced at Jubilee under co-founder and original artistic director Rudy Eastman. Anthony's work, Da Kink in My Hair, is a musical celebration of black women's hair. Another musical celebrates gospel legend Mahalia Jackson, and another is a black take on A Christmas Carol. Thompson's Single Black Female makes its Tarrant County debut, after Dallas' Soul Rep Theatre Company produced it a few seasons back.
The surprise is the first Fort Worth professional production of a play by Dallas playwright Jonathan Norton, with his early work My Tidy List of Terrors, produced in 2012 at the South Dallas Cultural Center, to be performed at Jubilee in 2020. Norton has become one of DFW's best-known playwrights. His newest work, Penny Candy, has its world premiere at the Dallas Theater Center in June, and another work, A Love Offering, will be produced by Kitchen Dog Theater in a future season. Norton's other plays include homeschooled (at African American Repertory Theater) and his award-winning Mississippi Goddamn (winner of the 2016 Osborn Award).
Below is the full press release from Jubilee Theatre. Look for a profile of Richardson coming on TheaterJones.
Jubilee Theatre, one of the longest running African-American theaters, announces their 39th Season. Under the new direction of Artistic Director D. Wambui Richardson, Season 39 has been titled Shades of Us which embodies the diversity of voices and styles included in the upcoming season that includes both plays and musicals.
“Truly it has been an honor and pleasure to craft my first season at Jubilee.” said Richardson. It was Ossie Davis, who said, “I find, in being black, a thing of beauty: a joy; a strength; a secret cup of gladness.” “In this cup you will find the many shades, hues and perspectives of not just being an African American but of the universal experiences we all share…we are proud to announce our 2019 – 2020 Season Shades of Us!,” said Richardson.
SINGLE BLACK FEMALE
by Lisa B. Thompson
September 27 – October 27, 2019
A comedic female duo production that moves with rapid-fire vignettes which examine the lives of thirty-something African American middle class women as they search for love, clothes, and dignity in a world that fails to recognize them among a parade of stereotypical images.
IF SCROOGE WAS A BROTHER
A musical revue by Ekundayo Bandele
November 22 – December 22, 2019
It’s Christmas Eve and Eb Scroo is seeking to snuff out the season’s cheer by demanding all debts owed him be satisfied before nightfall. Facing imprisonment, a Christmas without presents and a feast, the residents are desperate. In this urban spin of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the ghosts and characters are icons of Black culture performing gospel, R&B, and even reggae songs.
TO BE YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK
by Lorraine Hansberry
January 24 – February 23, 2020
"Though it be a thrilling and marvelous thing to be merely young and gifted in such times, it is doubly so—doubly dynamic—to be young, gifted and black." After winning fame with her play Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry, uniquely and boldly, weaves through her life experiences that shaped her. In angry, loving, bitter, laughing, and defiantly proud turns, the story, voice, and message are Lorraine Hansberry's own, offering a glimpse of the black experience in mid-century America. “
HOW I GOT OVER
by Nate Jacobs
March 20 – April 26, 2020
Celebrate the legendary Queen of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson, and other gospel greats in this musical revue. Come enjoy soulful renditions of award-winning religious songs like “Precious Lord,” “Move On Up a Little Higher,” and “His Eye Is On the Sparrow.” Experience the joy and hope of gospel music in this high-energy, hand-clapping, foot stomping and most of all soul-stirring performance.
MY TIDY LIST OF TERRORS
by Jonathan Norton
May 22 – June 21, 2020
A coming of age tale set against the backdrop of the Atlanta Child Murders of 1980. Ishmael Johnson was taught in church that all your sins fall on you at the age of twelve. When tragedy hits, Ishmael begins to view his immortality differently. In a journey of self-discovery, Ishmael and his mother navigate the troubled waters of physically and spiritually maturing from a boy to a man.
DA KINK IN MY HAIR
by Trey Anthony
July 31 – August 30, 2020
“If you want to know a black woman, you touch her hair,” says Novelette, as she delves into the tresses and stresses of her clients to reveal their hidden stories. In the salon of their West Indian stylist, hurried women congregate to have their hair done for dates, jobs and upkeep. They leave with not just a new hairdo, but a lifted soul and a lightened heart. This remarkable musical tells their incredible, uncensored, unforgettable tales through dance, song and stories that will move, inspire, and delight!
Season tickets will go on sale May 24, 2019 and may be purchased online at jubileetheatre.org, in person at the theater Box Office, located at 506 Main Street or by calling 817-338-4411. Box Office hours of operation are Tuesday – Friday 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and one hour before each performance.
Jubilee Theatre, Fort Worth’s only African-American theater producing a full season of shows, exists to create and present theatrical works that reflect the African-American experience. Located at 506 Main Street in Sundance Square, downtown Fort Worth, Jubilee Theatre is easily accessible from anywhere in the DFW metroplex.
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