WE ARE! Featuring Gospel for Teens Choir to Debut at The Dempsey in Harlem, 10/12
WE ARE!, a world-premiere musical about and starring the acclaimed Gospel for Teens Choir. Conceived, written and directed by Vy Higginsen and Ken Wydro, WE ARE! begins performances Off-Broadway at The Dempsey Theater in Harlem (127 W. 127 St.) on Saturday, October 12th.
A musical celebration of our future, WE ARE! brings together a group of gifted teens to tell their true, personal stories about the joys and struggles of being young. Some of the stories are age-old and familiar; some are unique to those born after 1990. As they raise their voices together in song, the young company finds the inspiration to face what life will bring each of them.
WE ARE! Is based on an award-winning "60 Minutes" feature story (two 2012 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Feature Story in a News Magazine; as well as a 2012 National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Award) that followed the students of Gospel for Teens, the acclaimed music program of The Mama Foundation for the Arts' School of Gospel, Jazz and R&B Arts, for one year.
Through the Gospel for Teens program, instruction in these musical art forms has been offered to young people between the ages of 13 and 19 at no cost since 2006. The Gospel for Teens program has serviced hundreds of students in the past seven years, providing desperately needed support to musically gifted children and replacing arts programs taken out of many inner city schools.
Students from GFT's "Performing Before Live Audiences" (PBLA) level comprise the Gospel for Teens Choir, a nationally recognized and award-winning professional ensemble, led by co-directors Ahmaya KNoelle Higginsen and Elijah Ahmad Lewis, whose members are also featured in Mama, I Want to Sing: The Next Generation and Sing, Harlem, Sing. In addition to "60 Minutes," Gospel for Teen Choir's other national TV appearances include performances on the "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon (performing with Madonna), "The Celebrity Apprentice" (performing with Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken), "The CBS Early Show" and "The Nate Berkus Show." In addition to their acclaimed weekly performances at Marcus Samuelsson's Sunday Gospel Brunch at Red Rooster Harlem/Ginny's Supper Club, the Gospel for Teens Choir have recently performed at the prestigious TED Conference in Long Beach, CA; the Stellar Gospel Music Awards in Nashville, TN; and Moncler Grenoble's winter show at New York Fashion Week.
The cast of WE ARE! features Vy Higginsen, Ahmaya Knoelle Higginson, Elijah Ahmad Lewis, and Saige Bryan, Calvin Calloway, Lorna Courtney, Samantha Diaz, Adonis Drummond, Brielle Fragé, Nytiera Francis, Marlon Gordon, Jessica Lyric Harp, Kaylah Harvey, Diamond Jones, Shacara McLaurin, Raechel Mizrachi, Nicholas Myers, Joseph Parker Jr., Kiara A Ray, Yvette Rogers, Dominique Smith, Tunisia Solomon, Seteena Turner, and Alanna Underwood.
WE ARE! has choreography by Elijah Ahmad Lewis and music direction by Vincent Bohanan (both members of the Gospel for Teens Choir).
RUNNING TIME: 2:15, including a 15-minute intermission. Directions to The Dempsey Theater via Public Transit: - Subway: Number 2 or 3 express trains to 125th St and Lenox Ave; walk two blocks north, turn left on 127thSt. - Bus: M2, M3, M7 Buses to 127th St.