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The Legendary 1939 Harlem Rens Basketball Returns To New York On Stage

Layon Gray's Kings Of Harlem will have three special performances September 14th, 22nd and 29th at St. Luke's Theatre In Midtown Manhattan. The play was recently selected to perform as a mainstage production at the National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina and also performed for the Legends of the NBA for All-Star Weekend 2015.

Written and directed by Layon Gray, Kings Of Harlem is inspired by the 1939 Harlem Rens basketball team. A story of seven men who overcame adversity to win more than 2,000 games while barnstorming throughout segregated parts of the country in the 1930s despite never being officially accepted professionally or socially. Harlem Renaissance Big Five was one the most successful renowned all-Black professional basketball teams in the 1920s and '30s that added grace and style to the game of basketball.

The team was formed five years before the Harlem Globetrotters, and provided African - American men with the opportunity to compete against white athletes equally on the court. The Rens got their name from playing at the Renaissance Casino ballroom in Harlem, New York, where they amazed fans with their innovative and unique style of play. It was the first ballroom in New York that was owned and operated by African Americans. In 1991 the Landmarks Preservation Commission agreed to set out to landmark the building but the vote never passed. It closed in 1979 and for the next 30 years it became a haven for graffiti, dirt, walls caving in and tree branches falling through its roof. Despite a recent petition to "halt the destruction and demise of Harlem's historic building with over 4,000 signatories, it was bulldozed to the ground in April 2015 along with its memories. Kings of Harlem pays homage to the building and its most famous occupants the Harlem Rens.

They toured the country competing against Black and white teams, and in the process, compiled the most impressive winning streak in Basketball history. In 1963, the entire team was inducted into the Professional Basketball Hall of Fame. Featured in the cast are Delano Barbosa, Lamar Cheston, Thaddeus Daniels, Melvin Huffnagle, Blake Morris, and Mitch Ugwuezi. ? Director Layon Gray follows the success of his play Black Angels Over Tuskegee the story of the Tuskegee Airmen now in its 7th year off-Broadway, with this next installment of African-American historical theatre.

St Luke's Theatre is located in Manhattan at 308 West 46th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues) it is produced by Edmund Gaynes, andLayon Gray American Theatre Company. Tickets, priced $39.50 and $56.50, are available through or by calling (212) 239-6200. For more information on the show long on to

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