Celebration Arts Announces 2023 Season: Overcoming
Season premiere production: LIVE FROM DEATH ROW – THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS in partnership with St. Hope and the Guild Theater, kicking off Black History Month for the Sacramento region.
Sacramento’s-own acclaimed director Anthony D’Juan and Pulitzer Prize-Nominated Musician and Composer Harley White, Jr. lead Scottsboro Boys production.
Celebration Arts, Sacramento’s premiere Black theater, has announced its 2023 Season themed, Overcoming. Featuring six emotional and powerful productions focusing on overcoming adversities in African American culture — discrimination, brutality, Hollywood stereotypes, age discrimination, institutional racism, and housing discrimination.
Season tickets are available now, and patrons have until December 31 to purchase 2023 Season Tickets at 2022 prices. Call 916.455.2787 or subscribe online at celebrationarts.net.
Single tickets are on sale now for Direct From Death Row – The Scottsboro Boys and range from $15 – $23.
2023 Celebration Arts Productions
OVERCOMING DISCRIMINATION – DIRECT FROM DEATH ROW – THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, BY MARK STEIN, DIRECTED BY ANTHONY D’JUAN | MUSIC + LYRICS BY HARLEY WHITE, JR.* | FEBRUARY 10 – MARCH 5, 2023 > *2016 PULITZER PRIZE NOMINEE – MUSICAL DIRECTION, DIRECT FROM DEATH ROW – THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS
Presented in collaboration with Celebration Arts and St. Hope, the Scottsboro Boys will come from eternity to the Guild Theater to reenact as “vaudeville” scenes the story of their convictions for gang rape, despite prima facie evidence of their innocence. The historic event was, in many ways, something of a vaudeville. But also, as revealed early on, the first four of the nine to get released (after seven years) appeared within a matter of weeks in a New York vaudeville show. The case highlighted several elements of American culture – the exploitation of racism by the two women who falsely accused these young Black men; and the Communist Party’s exploitation of racism in its efforts to recruit African Americans.
“A masterful work…” – Chicago Sun-Times
OVERCOMING BRUTALITY – WHAT TO SEND UP WHEN IT GOES DOWN, BY ALESHEA HARRIS, DIRECTED BY IMANI MITCHELL | APRIL 7 – 30, 2023
Characterized as a play-pageant-ritual-homegoing celebration in response to the physical and spiritual deaths of Black people as a result of racialized violence, What to Send Up When It Goes Down is meant to disrupt the pervasiveness of anti-blackness and acknowledge the resilience of Black people throughout history. This theatrical work uses facilitated conversation, parody, song, and movement in a series of vignettes to create a space for catharsis, reflection, cleansing, and healing. Boundaries between performers and audiences blur as the audiences are asked to observe the performance and participate in the ritual.
“Truly remarkable,” – The New York Times
OVERCOMING HOLLYWOOD STEREOTYPES – BY THE WAY MEET VERA STARK, BY LYNN NOTTAGE, DIRECTED BY NICOLE LIMON | JUNE 2 – 25, 2023 > 2010 EDGERTON FOUNDATION NEW AMERICAN PLAY AWARD | 2012 DRAMA DESK AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PLAY
Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage takes the audience back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, where we meet aspiring starlet Vera Stark, who works as a maid to Gloria Mitchell, an aging star grasping at her fading career. Worlds collide when Vera lands a trailblazing role in an antebellum epic starring … her boss. While Vera’s portrayal of an enslaved person turns out to be groundbreaking, decades later, scholars and film buffs still grapple with the actress’ legacy in Hollywood and the impact race had on her controversial career.
“So clever, so playful,” – The New York Times
OVERCOMING AGE DISCRIMINATION – MOTHER JULIET AND HER ROMEO, ADAPTED FROM WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE – DIRECTED BY KHIMBERLY MARSHALL | AUGUST 4 – 27, 2023
An “intensely passionate” work of “poetry, bliss and unabashed heartbreak” set deep in the Louisiana bayou, an old bootlegger and a retired showgirl find love at first sight in the most unusual place — a Mardi Gras party during prohibition sometime in the future. In this tragic tale of love, these beautiful elders, Romeo & Mother Juliet, must fight their family’s generational feud. Mother Juliet’s daughter’s insistence on committing her to Dr. Paris’s senior care “clinic” drives Mother Juliet to desperation. The goddess Erzuli and The Keeper of the Dead, Baron Samedi, both of Louisiana Hoodoo religion, vie for the souls of these two lovers as they play tug-of-war with the fates. Their love was strong enough to bring them together…but is their resolve deep enough to keep them from being pulled apart?
OVERCOMING INSTITUTIONAL RACISM – THURGOOD, BY GEORGE STEVENS, JR., DIRECTED BY JAMES WHEATLEY | SEPTEMBER 29 – OCTOBER 22, 2023
Thurgood spans the impressive 58-year career of Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to sit on the Supreme Court. From his early days as the Civil Rights lawyer who argued the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 — leading to the end of institutionalized segregation — to his appointment to the highest court in the land, Thurgood is a fitting tribute to Marshall’s enduring legacy.
“Riveting.” – Broadway World
OVERCOMING HOUSING DISCRIMINATION – A RAISIN IN THE SUN, BY LORRAINE HANSBERRY, DIRECTED BY JAMES ELLISON | DECEMBER 1 – 24, 2023
A classic stage drama considered to have “changed American theater forever” and the first play written by a Black woman produced on Broadway in 1959, A Raisin In The Sun tells the story of a lower-class black family’s struggle to gain middle-class acceptance. When the play opens, Mama, the sixty-year-old matriarch, waits for a $10,000 insurance check from her husband’s death, and the drama focuses primarily on how the $10,000 should be spent. In 1960 A Raisin In The Sun was nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Play (Lorraine Hansberry), Best Actor (Sidney Poitier), Best Actress (Claudia McNeil), and Best Direction Lloyd Richards).
“Perfectly structured, with unforgettable characters,” – Art Muse
ABOUT CELEBRATION ARTS
Originally the Celebration Dance Company founded in 1976 by James Wheatley, Celebration Arts became a 501c3 organization in 1986. For more than 30 years, Celebration Arts continues to be a cornerstone of music, dance, and theater for the Sacramento region’s African American community bringing Black artists and stories to its stage at 2727 B Street. In addition, Celebration Arts provides educational programs to children through Kids’ Time and dance training for teens, adults, and seniors. More information can be found at celebrationarts.net.
388 total views