BROADWAY PRODUCERS PREMIERE A NEW MUSICAL IN WASHINGTON DC STARRING APRIL NIXON AS SOJOURNER TRUTH. PRODUCTION TO BE LIVE STREAMED ACROSS AMERICA.

For Immediate Release

BROADWAY PRODUCERS PREMIERE A NEW MUSICAL IN WASHINGTON DC STARRING APRIL NIXON AS SOJOURNER TRUTH.

PRODUCTION TO BE LIVE STREAMED ACROSS AMERICA.

B.W. Productions Contact:
Brooke Ciardelli
917-370-6823
email

 

APRIL NIXON (OLIVIER AWARD nominee, B’way/National Tour: Cats, Tommy, Smokey Joe’s Café, Damn Yankees, 9 to 5, Fosse, The Wiz, Sweet Charity, Dreamgirls, Caroline or Change), ASHLEY WARE JENKINS (Celie; Color Purple National Tour) and THADDEUS MCCANTS (TV: Boardwalk Empire – co-star, Young & Restless – lead) head the cast of TRUTH the musical, by Keni Fine and music by Keni Fine & Tony Small, directed by Oscar Blustin. Opening out of town at THEARC Theater in Washington, D.C. Feb 26 – 28, 2015.

Executive produced by Craig Haffner (Emmy Award‐winning producer with Greystone Television, Tony Award-nominated producer-Ragtime) and Brooke Ciardelli (Producer A Walk In The Woods – Northern Stage/The Tricycle, UK, Founding Artistic Director‐Northern Stage, producer‐Tom Crean at Irish Rep, NY). VirtualArtsTV will produce the live broadcast on Friday, February 27th at 7:30pm, available for viewing at www.truththemusical.com The production will be live streamed to Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide and to every US Navy‐based Boys & Girls Clubs around the world.

Full Cast: April Nixon (Sojourner Truth), Ashley Ware Jenkins (Mama Isabella), Thaddeus McCants (Peter Williams), Thomasina Nelson (Aunty Bee), Nia Simon Smith (Mau‐Mau Bett/Millie), Drew Tillman (Young Isabella), Beth Amann (Mrs Dumont), Brandon Mack (Fiddlesticks), DeCarlo Raspberry (Trunk), Roy Patten Jr (Sydney), Nurney (Zipper), Will Hawkins (Master Charles/Rev Bullworthy), Harv Lester (Master Dumont/Mayor Hightower).

TRUTH the musical is inspired by the life and words of Sojourner Truth – an African‐American woman born into slavery, who escaped into freedom with her infant daughter to become an abolitionist and women’s rights activist, and went to court to recover her son, winning the first case against a white man. Her best‐ known extemporizing speech on gender inequalities, “Ain’t I a Woman?” was delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Convention in OH.

Selected songs from the show were presented at the United Nations during the 60th Anniversary Celebration of the Declaration of Universal Human Rights, for a special program on women in human rights.
“We have been developing TRUTH for quite some time and we are honored and grateful to be here in the nation’s capital, where Sojourner Truth lived and worked” said Keni Fine.

Presented by THEARC Theater and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington as a part of Black History Month.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Brooke Ciardelli – 917-370-‐6823 – brooke@brookeciardelli.com

BIOGRAPHIES

KENI FINE – Writer/Co‐Composer
Dramatists Guild member and a graduate of the Tony Award winning BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Writing Workshop. Recent musicals include ENDANGERED! The Eco‐Musical, written with Tony Small, presented at the National Zoo in May 2013, performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC August 2013, contributing lyricst for RUKA, at the Kennedy Center in July 2014. ENDANGERED! and RUKA are among the world’s first Eco‐Musicals.

Selections from TRUTH were presented at the United Nations on the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in a special presentation on Women and Human Rights.

Previous musicals include IMAGINARY LOVERS (Zipper Theater and Davenport Studios, NYC); solo cabaret “He Thinks It’s His Show,” creator of “SWAMI PAJAMANANDA!”‐ an ongoing, musical‐theatrical, multi-media performance project‐ recent performances include: “Occupy Your Pajamas!” and “Lighten Up While You Still Can.” Swami PJ tweets as @swamipj and is writing a book of teachings called, “Tickling the Divine: Yoga & the Light‐Hearted Path.” As a stand-comedian, he has performed at Caroline’s On Broadway, Gotham Comedy Club, and Stand-Up NY.

A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, member of the Experimental Theater Wing; and a JD from NYU School of Law, member of the bar in New York. He has studied with Stella Adler, Anne Bogart, Elizabeth Swados, Mary Overlie and Wendell Beavers, Marsha Norman and Upright Citizen’s Brigade.

TONY SMALL – Co-Composer
Tony Small has won national composer/lyricist awards in Jazz, Gospel, Classical and Musical Theatre genres and debuted his 2014 Qadar Opera commissioned by the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and Sultanate of Oman’s Qaboos Cultural Center. Original works include 4 musicals, 3 Holiday musicals, 1 Cultural anthology, 1 Easter cantata, 1 operetta and 100s of multi‐genre compositions that have been featured at The Kennedy Center, Madame Walker Theatre, Smithsonian, Chicago DuSable Museum, Indianapolis Children’s Museum, The Hayti Heritage Center, Eubie Blake International Jazz Center, Reginald Lewis Museum Theatre, National Children’s Museum, The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry Underground Song for exhibit premiere with Bill Nye The Science Guy, and a national FOX TV feature of his 911 memorial song and video. Notable awards and projects include: 2012 & 2009 National Meet The Composer Award, Tony Award winning BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Composer Alum (New York Times calls “The Harvard of Musical Theatre), 2008 American Composer Forum Award Winner, 2008 Stellar for ”I Am” recorded by Maurette Brown Clark (Grammies of Gospel), Guest Actor on the 2008 final HBO WIRE — Director of boys choir featured on the 2008 sound track, 2007 Maryland State Arts Composer Award, and a 2000 White House millennium wining Composer/Playwright Residency (America’s top 55 Community Artists) chaired by Hillary Clinton and the National Endowment of the Arts as well as having been a resident artist in South Africa.
OSCAR BLUSTIN – Director
Oscar is the Artistic Director of SPECIFIQ (www.specifiq.co.uk) and works in London and the East Coast of America. He is proud to be part of a team working towards the first ever modern adaptation of Arthur Miller’s View From The Bridge. Currently in the UK, Oscar is developing a new musical with Udi Ngethe, frontman of Papa and the JimJams, and is in pre-production for several SPECIFIQ commissions for 2014.

In the UK, Oscar wrote and directed Whisky Dusk, an immersive 1920s experience at Micklefield Hall in Hertfordshire, and before that The Black Staircase – a commission for the World Heritage Site in Durham, and SPECIFIQ’s inaugural production. This multi-stranded promenade piece weaved three stories in and around Durham’s Norman Castle, celebrating three different eras of the Castle’s history, and earned unanimous praise from various local media (“immensely enjoyable” – Durham First Night; “an intricate dance…very well executed” – Durham Theatre Review).

Oscar spent two years on the Emerging Artists Scheme at Northern Stage, Vermont, and has maintained a strong relationship with the theatre, where he recently directed Sleuth and Romeo and Juliet (“A true pleasure… an engrossing and affecting production” – The Vermont Standard; “Blustin…shows a sophisticated talent” – The Valley News). In September 2009 and 2010, Oscar toured productions of Twelfth Night and Macbeth in the North East of America and held a series of Shakespeare‐themed workshops at schools and colleges, which led to his recent appointment as International Visiting Shakespeare Lecturer at Keene State University, New Hampshire.

In 2010 and 2011, Oscar directed comedy group Kieran and the Joes throughout their residency at the Leicester Square Theatre, then took their show Teampowered to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Daily Telegraph awarded the show 5 stars and described it as “a relentlessly hilarious show, craftsman‐like in concept, writing and delivery.” Previous comedy work includes a stint as Consulting Director for acclaimed sketch‐comedy group WitTank from 2008 to 2010.

Oscar is a member of Young Vic Directors’ Scheme, and is one of the Watford Palace Young Producers

VIRTUALARTSTV - Live Broadcast Producer
VirtualArtsTV is the inventor of the modern, live‐streamed performing arts experience. Specializing in transforming live theater, dance and music into interactive live video events tailored specifically to the online audience, VirtualArtsTV has been producing multi‐camera state-of‐the-‐art live-streamed events since 2007. VirtualArtsTV has created the first live‐ streamed scripted web series, the first interactive live-streamed play, the first live-streamed performing arts festival, and the first mobile‐app created for the live-streaming audience. Recent live-streamed projects include the acclaimed Bedlam Theater’s “Hamlet”, the concert reading of Jay O. Sander’s “Unexplored Interiors”, and The Flea Theater’s “Smoke” by Kim Davies. VirtualArtsTV’s live‐streamed events have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of viewers from countries all over the world, many of whom have Tweeted, Facebooked and chatted in their questions, thoughts and virtual standing ovations to the casts and crews of this new, 21st century digital arts experience. http://VirtualArtsTV

THEARC (Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus) ‐ Producer
The Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC)is a $27 million, 110,000 square‐foot campus located east of the Anacostia River in Washington, DC’s Ward 8 which houses the 365-seat theater, The Levine School of Music, a satellite of The Washington Ballet and The Boys & Girls Club. Funding for building THEARC ($27 million) came entirely from charitable contributions by the Federal and District government, corporations, foundations and individuals. THEARC is a key part of a revitalization of the area known as East of the (Anacostia) River in Washington, DC. THEARC includes a 365-seat theater (the only theater of any kind located east of the Anacostia River in Washington, DC) , regulation size gymnasium, libraries, computer labs, classrooms, dance, music and visual arts studios, an art gallery, public playgrounds and gardens and other first‐rate facilities.

THEARC is a home away from home for the many underserved children and adults of East of the River, enabling them to participate in dance classes, music instruction, fine arts, academics, continuing education, mentoring, tutoring, recreation, medical and dental care, and other services at a substantially reduced cost or no cost at all.

BOYS & GIRLS CLUB ‐ Producer
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington is a major metropolitan affiliate of Boys & Girls Clubs of America with 12 sites serving over 1,300 young people from a 75-mile radius from Virginia to Germantown, Maryland. On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service, President Obama and the First Lady joined members of the George Ferris, Jr. Clubhouse 6, a unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington in a community service project with AmeriCorps members. The mission is to help boys and girls of all backgrounds, especially those who need us most, build confidence, develop character and acquire the skills needed to become productive, civic‐minded, responsible adults. The clubs are open when schools are not, and provide a safe, comfortable, and fun alternative to youth who would otherwise be home alone or on the street. Hundreds of youth attend the Clubs for activities every day, to see their friends, and to spend time with positive and encouraging adults. Clubs are open after school on weekdays. Some have Saturday hours, and many offer full days during school holidays and summers. Clubs welcome every child, adolescent, or teenager for a nominal annual membership fee, but will not turn any child away for inability to pay.
FINEHEART PRODUCTIONS - Producer
Broadway producer for LOMBARDI (starring Dan Luria and Judith Light, directed by Thomas Kail) and the revival of GODSPELL at Circle in the Square Theater (under Tony Award winning producer Ken Davenport – Kinky Boots, 13, Altar Boys, Blithe Spirit, Macbeth with Alan Cummings, Awesome 80’s Prom). Off/Off-Off Broadway producing includes Eco- Musicals, Solo Theater and various cabaret and musical theater projects.
BROOKE CIARDELLI – Executive Producer
STAGE: Founding Artistic Director – Northern Stage Theater Company, VT (1997 – 2012). Member of Stage Directors and Choreographer’s Union, has directed over 60 professionally produced productions in the US, England, Austria, Zimbabwe and Zambia – including 3 Moss Hart Awards for Best Professional Production (All My Sons, Les Miserables and Hamlet). Produced tour of stage play I Am My Own Wife to Harare International Festival of the Arts, Zimbabwe and Edinburgh Festival (Assembly Rooms), Scotland. Produced tour of Castle Theatre Company’s productions of Twelfth Night and Macbeth 10 venues (castles, stately homes and Off-West End at Waterloo East) and 10 venues in the northeast/Off‐ Broadway (Abingdon Theater). U.S. Producer for Tom Crean – Antarctic Explorer starring Aidan Dooley for multiple U.S. venues including an 8-week run at Irish Rep, NY. U.S. Producer for A Walk In The Woods, Directed by Nicolas Kent, with U.K. producer The Tricycle Theatre, London, including performance runs in both the US and London.

DOCUMENTARY FILM: PRODUCER ‐ Project Playwright, Dir. Catherine Doherty ‐ Documentary Short – Telly Award for Best Film – Education Category and The O Myths, Dir. Catherine Doherty – Documentary Short – Telly Award, Bronze Award – Cultural Category

FEATURE FILM: CO‐PRODUCER – A Stranger In The Kingdom, Dir. Jay Craven, starring: Martin Sheen, Carrie Snodgress, Ernie Hudson, Henry Gibson. PRODUCER – The Jr Defenders, Dir. Keith Spiegel, starring: Ally Sheedy, Justin Henry, Brian O’Halloran, Florence Henderson. PRODUCER ‐ My X‐Girlfriend’s Wedding Reception, Dir. Martin Guigui, starring: Dom DeLuise, Debbie Gibson, Mo Gaffney. ASSOCIATE PRODUCER ‐ Shadowboxing, Dir. Josh Durham, Breadth Films.

BROADCAST: Produced and directed the live broadcast of the play Wit starring Lisa Harrow to 125 participating clinics nationwide from The National Strategic Medical Conference, Orlando, FL.

CRAIG HAFFNER – Executive Producer
A native of Indiana, Mr. Haffner holds dual degrees in Communications & Theatre Arts from Indiana University. He has worked in the arts & entertainment industry since 1974 in a variety of capacities which include situation comedy writer (Mary Tyler Moore Show, Three’s Company), Writer-Producer CBS Television Network, Writer‐Producer ABC Television Network and Program Director KABC-TV.

As a founding partner of Greystone Television Craig is an Emmy Award winner and has produced hundreds of programs for all major broadcast and cable networks. In 2007 he founded Grand Canal Film & Theatre Works to create scripted drama and musicals for television and stage. He received a Tony Award nomination for the Broadway revival of RAGTIME (2010). Currently in development is MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD & EVIL The Musical based on John Berendt’s NY Times Best Seller by the same title. MEMBER: Academy of Television Arts & Science, Directors Guild, Broadway League of America.

Following the historic events of 09/11/01, Mr Haffner was one of three Hollywood Executives to organize meetings with The White House focusing industry participation for the war effort. Through a Presidential nomination and US Senate confirmation Mr. Haffner served for 7 years as a Council Member at The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

#TruthLive
 

Truth The Musical - live streamed from Washington DC

Watch the show right here on VirtualArtsTV

Inspired by the life and words of Sojourner Truth – an African‐American woman born into slavery, who escaped into freedom with her infant daughter to become an abolitionist and women’s rights activist, and went to court to recover her son, winning the first case against a white man.

We have been developing TRUTH for quite some time and we are honored and grateful to be here in the nation’s capital, where Sojourner Truth lived and worked - Keni Fine, Writer/Co-Composer

 

 

 

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