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Celebrating Black History Month
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How Theatres Everywhere Are Celebrating Black History Month

Check out our guide to Black History Month theatrical offerings!

This February, BroadwayWorld is committed to celebrating the outstanding contributions that Black artists have made to the American theatre. How can you tune in for Black History month programming? We've rounded up just a few events that highlight that legacy.

Be sure to check back for more Black History Month programming updates!

How Theatres Everywhere Are Celebrating Black History Month
Pictured: André De Shields in Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory
Photo Credit: Lia Chang

Broadway for Racial Justice: BFRJ REVIVAL

Broadway for Racial Justice will present "BFRJ Revival" every Friday of February at 7pm ET via YouTube Live! The concerts will feature performances by Shaunice Alexander, Shayla Brielle, Kayla Davion, Deon'te Goodman, Arnold Harper, Aaron Harrington, Mariah Lyttle, Jhardon Milton, Brandon Michael Nase, Ines Nassara, L Morgan Lee, and Nasia Thomas.

Tickets can be purchased through www.bfrj.org for $10. Viewers also have the opportunity to purchase a ticket that will provide access to a link in which they can join a Zoom Watch Party to celebrate in community with some of BFRJ's Ambassador team members including: Alex Boniello, Gabrielle Carrubba, Ben Cook, Andrew Barth Feldman, Erika Henningsen, Caitlin Houlahan, Olivia Kaufmann, Derek Klena, Isabelle McCalla, Ashley De La Rosa, Gianna Yanelli and more!


Ailey Extension

This Black History Month, Ailey Extension is taking students on a virtual world tour exploring a range of dance techniques from across the African diaspora. Throughout February, dancers are invited to participate in special workshops and weekly classes that will expose them to the rich history of dances born from different Black communities in the USA, Caribbean, South America, and the continent of Africa.

Bahia soul meet Rio de Janeiro flair in a Celebrating Brasilian Carnaval workshop with Janete Silva and Danielle Lima on Saturday, February 13 at 4pmET. Janete Silva will take participants through the experience of dancing with the "Bloco Afro" Carnaval groups of her native Bahia which celebrate cultural manifestations of African origin. Rio's own Danielle Lima will then show students how to celebrate Carnaval Rio de Janeiro style, teaching her signature "samba no pe" footwork technique and an easy-to-follow routine from one of Rio's samba schools. This 90-minute experience allows participants to bring the spirit of Brasil's world-famous carnaval celebration into their homes.

Students are invited to celebrate love during a Valentine's Day Salsa workshop with Baila Society's Fitgi Saint-Louis on Sunday, February 14 at 6pmET. Whether together, socially distanced, or flying solo, this holiday workshop is a fun way to come together and dance with the Ailey dance community. Students will learn salsa etiquette and partner safety as well as the history and culture of this Latin dance style which has some African influences.

Crowd-favorite La Mora returns on Saturday, February 20 at 2pmET for an Afro-Cuban Live workshop to help students explore various forms of the Afro-Cuban dance tradition including different movements representing the Orishas - deities from the West African Yoruba traditions brought to Cuba. Originally hailing from Santiago de Cuba, La Mora's expertise in the unique styles of her native region will help students embrace an understanding of the cultural and historical context of each step. Dancers who cannot make the live workshop can instead opt for the Afro-Cuban On-demand version that will be made available from February 21 through the end of the month.

For additional information, visit: alvinailey.org/extension.


Wharton Institute for the Performing Art's Jazz History and Masters Listening Hour Series

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts celebrates Black History Month with a virtual Jazz History and Masters Listening Hour Series every Saturday from 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. EST during the month of February. Learn about the origins and development of jazz genres, including historical icons and their influence on particular jazz styles and trends, as well as an exploration of jazz's social implications in a broader historical context. Led by award-winning saxophonist Dave Schumacher, the Jazz History and Masters Listening Hour Series is free and open to the public. To register to attend, visit WhartonArts.org.


I, Too, Am America

The Ensemble Theatre is celebrating Black History Month streaming the vimeo on demand production of I, Too, Am America written by Ekundayo Bandele and directed by Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director, Eileen J. Morris. Streaming through February 28, 2021 for tickets and more information-visit vimeo.com/ondemand/itooamerica.

This play is a celebration of the contributions that Black people have made to American culture. It was written to educate, inspire and introduce audiences to significant points of history through drama and music. Filled with musical selections such as Wade in the Water, A Change is Gonna Come, Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around and an original song from the play's title: I, Too, Am America composed by musical director Melanie Bivens with choreography by Aisha Ussery, this play will inform and stir the soul with its patriotic message.


Black History Month at the Met

The Metropolitan Opera continues its nightly programming with encore presentations celebrating Black History Month. Upcoming streams will include:

Tuesday, February 9: Verdi's Ernani
Starring Leona Mitchell, Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, and Ruggero Raimondi, conducted by James Levine. Production by Pier Luigi Samaritani. From December 17, 1983.

Wednesday, February 10: Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Starring Kathleen Battle, Rockwell Blake, Leo Nucci, Enzo Dara, and Ferruccio Furlanetto, conducted by Ralf Weikert. Production by John Cox. From December 3, 1988.

Thursday, February 11: Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera
Starring Aprile Millo, Harolyn Blackwell, Florence Quivar, Luciano Pavarotti, and Leo Nucci, conducted by James Levine. Production by Piero Faggioni. From January 26, 1991.

Friday, February 12: Philip Glass's Akhnaten
Starring Dísella Lárusdóttir, J'Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Aaron Blake, Will Liverman, Richard Bernstein, and Zachary James, conducted by Karen Kamensek. Production by Phelim McDermott. From November 23, 2019.

Saturday, February 13: Berlioz's Les Troyens
Starring Tatiana Troyanos, Jessye Norman, Plácido Domingo, and Allan Monk, conducted by James Levine. Production by Fabrizio Melano. From October 8, 1983.

Sunday, February 14: Wagner's Die Walküre
Starring Hildegard Behrens, Jessye Norman, Christa Ludwig, Gary Lakes, James Morris, and Kurt Moll, conducted by James Levine. Production by Otto Schenk. From April 8, 1989.

Each stream becomes available at 7:30PM ET and remains accessible for on-demand viewing until 6:30PM ET the following day. Click here to tune in!


Stars in the House

In honor of Black History month, Stars in the House is dedicating all Tuesday episodes to Black Theatre United. On tonight's episode (February 9), guest host Lillias White welcomes Mathis Picard. Upcoming guest hosts will include Carin Ford, Lisa Dawn and Darius de Haas. Tune in on Tuesdays at 8pm to watch live!


The August Wilson African American Cultural Center

AWAACC will present Pittsburgh's Black Art Scene: Past, Present & Future, a retrospective on Pittsburgh's role in the cultural lexicon and the artforms and artists that have contributed to the city's historic Black arts scene, along with special editions of ongoing programs. Through three special events, historians, artists and scholars will examine three distinct phases of Pittsburgh's cultural evolution, including a special tribute to the remarkable history of the National Negro Opera House; an interview with Mark Clayton Southers, the founder and producing artistic director of the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company; and a special performance by the funk-jazz collective, Funky Fly Project. Click here for a full list of events.


Flushing Town Hall's Black History Trilogy

In celebration of Black History Month, Flushing Town Hall presents a Black History Trilogy, a three-part series featuring outstanding Broadway performers showcasing the music and speeches of influential African American artists, scholars, and leaders.

On February 18 at 7:00 PM (ET), the Black History Trilogy continues with a presentation of "Divine Sass: A Tribute to the Music, Life, and Legacy of Sarah Vaughan," featuring Tony Award-winning actress and vocalister Lillias White, who also wrote and conceived the show.

On February 26 at 7:00 PM (ET), the Black History Trilogy concludes with "André De Shields is Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory." The Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award Winner and Hadestown star explores the life and achievements of the great emancipator Frederick Douglass.

For additional information, visit: https://www.flushingtownhall.org/


Amplified Dignity

The Al Hirschfeld Foundation is celebrating Black History Month with its latest online exhibition, Amplified Dignity: Black Dancers Drawn by Hirschfeld. The exhibition features Hirschfeld's reflections of legendary 20th Century artists including Sammy Davis Jr., Josephine Baker, Nicholas Brothers, Bunny Briggs, Judith Jamison, Hinton Battle, Maurice Hines, and Honi Coles. Amplified Dignity is the latest exhibition in The Al Hirschfeld Foundation's Black Art Matters series. Having launched last summer with Lost in the Stars: Black Theater Makers Drawn By Hirschfeld, upcoming exhibits in the series will celebrate black film artists and musicians, and the 80th anniversary of the artist's iconic representations of the African-American experience in the 1930's Harlem As Seen By Hirschfeld.,

Go behind the lines of Hirschfeld's art with "The Hirschfeld Century Podcast,"- a special episode dedicated to the works featured Amplified Dignity: Black Dancers Drawn by Hirschfeld is now available at: AlHirschfeldFoundation.org/podcasts.

To view to exhibition, visit: https://alhirschfeldfoundation.org/exhibitions


Kimmel Cultural Campus

The Kimmel Cultural Campus celebrates the accomplishments, heritage, and artistic contributions of African Americans through a variety of digital Black History Month programs throughout the month of February. Digital events shine a spotlight on the music of the Civil Rights Movement as well as modern-day struggles for equality, the cultural enlightenment of the Harlem Renaissance, and offer audiences of all ages a "Hip Hop Recess" that moves the body while offering morsels of history about Hip Hop, the dynamic dance form from the 1970s.

Upcoming events include: PHILADANCO!, I Got Life: The Music of Nina Simone, Hip Hop Fundamentals, JAZZ4FREEDOM - a Virtual Field Trip, Save the Boys and more. For a complete lineup of the digital performances, visit: https://www.kimmelcenter.org


CUNY Commemorates Black History Month

The City University of New York will commemorate Black History Month 2021 with nearly 100 events across its campuses, a diverse range of offerings that seek to celebrate the African American experience and also answer the urgent questions and intensified demands for racial and social justice that have come to the forefront during the course of the previous year.

Borough of Manhattan Community College will host a timely discussion focused on Civil Rights insurrection and white supremacy. The CUNY School of Medicine will kick off Black History Month celebrations with a screening of the film "Black Men in White Coats," to raise awareness of the disparities and systemic barriers preventing Black men from becoming medical doctors. Hunter College will honor the legacy of New York City's first Black mayor, David Dinkins, who died last fall. The event will feature alumni of the Dinkins administration including CUNY Trustee Ken Sunshine, Rich Schrader, Sally Hernández-Piñero and Margaret Hamburg with NY1's and CUNY professor Errol Louis moderating.

For an extensive list of online events, visit: https://events.cuny.edu/


What are we missing? Contact us with you Black History Month programming updates!


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