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Nambi E. Kelley Will Write PHENOMENAL WOMAN: MAYA ANGELOU, Aiming for Broadway

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Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou will have its world premiere in the spring of 2021.

Nambi E. Kelley Will Write PHENOMENAL WOMAN: MAYA ANGELOU, Aiming for Broadway

Producers David Michael Rich & J. Todd Harris, in collaboration with Jackie Alexander and the North Carolina Black Repertory Company have announced that playwright Nambi E. Kelley (Native Son, "The Chi") has signed on as the playwright of Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou, a world premiere play with music in development for Broadway about the life of the late poet, author, civil rights activist, and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Dr. Maya Angelou. Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou is executive produced by Guy Johnson, Dr. Angelou's son, for Caged Bird Legacy. Cast, additional creative team, and dates will be announced at a future date.

Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou will have its world premiere in the spring of 2021 at the North Carolina Black Repertory Company before playing Hattiloo Theatre (Memphis) and The Ensemble Theatre (Houston). Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou, formerly known as Phenomenal Maya, was the recipient of the Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin Rolling World Premiere Award at North Carolina Black Repertory Company's 2019 National Black Theatre Festival, which guarantees at least three regional productions over a two-year period.

"It is a dream come true to work directly with people who knew and loved Dr. Angelou, including her son Guy, her sister friend Ms. Lydia Stuckey, and the good people at Corstoria and Branded Pictures Entertainment," said playwright Nambi E. Kelley. "It is especially poignant to present the world premiere of our collaboration in Dr. Angelou's chosen home city of Winston-Salem at North Carolina Black Repertory Company. This collaboration has truly been orchestrated by the heavens."

"Dr. Angelou was chairperson of the inaugural National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) in 1989 and an international champion of Black Theatre," said Jackie Alexander, Artistic Director of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. "To have Black institutions, NC Black Rep, Hattiloo Theatre, and The Ensemble Theatre, be the birthplaces in developing a play inspired by her life for the Broadway stage, beautifully pays homage to her memory. It's the reason the NBTF Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin Rolling World Premiere Award was created, and signals a much-needed return to Black Theatres having a voice in defining future classics of the genre."

"We are so excited to be collaborating with the theater that meant so much to Maya Angelou, the North Carolina Black Repertory Company," said producers David Michael Rich and J. Todd Harris. "It seems the planets have perfectly aligned bringing us together with the theater's gifted artistic director Jackie Alexander, and after a careful year-long search, the brilliant playwright Nambi E. Kelley. These talented collaborators bring us further forward in the promise we've made to Guy Johnson, of approaching this project as careful stewards of our beloved heroine's legacy of heart, wisdom, and the fight for justice. We all feel her spurring us on in our quest."

Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou, is an inspiring journey of memory, song, poetry, dance, and wisdom that will bring Maya's work into present relevance. The play is a lyrical memory-play, combining Dr. Angelou's poetry and autobiographical writings, previously unreleased anecdotes from those who knew her well, original material, and music, to explore fundamental yet timely questions about human nature, giving the gift of Dr. Angelou's brilliance and inspiration to the next generation.

Phenomenal Maya was set to premiere during the 2020 North Carolina Black Repertory Company season, but was postponed due to the coronavirus.


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