Derek Lee McPhatter to BRING THE BEAT BACK to JACK This April
JACK presents Bring the Beat Back, A Music, Drama and Dance Party by Derek Lee McPhatter, April 21 - 22, 2017 at 8 pm.
Bring the Beat Back is a queer, black, sci-fi music-theater experience, set in a funky futuristic, groove-centered alternative reality. Inspired by Afrofuturism, house music and the underground ball scene, the show follows a young man struggling to reconcile his sexuality with his faith.
The hero journeys towards spiritual affirmation and self-discovery as conservative religious authorities and an ostentatious queer subCulture Clash over the music at the center of his world.
Playwright/Producer: Derek Lee McPhatter
Director: Christopher Burris
Costume Design and Make-Up/Co-producer: Rhonney Greene
Composer/Co-producer: Germono Toussaint
DJ: Manchild Black
Executive Producer: Bryan E. Glover, Earthseed Visions
Producers: Under the Spell Productions, Inc., King is a Fink Productions, Zac Hill and Richard Pelzer, II.
MORE ABOUT THE SHOW:
Bring the Beat Back is the brainchild of playwright Derek Lee McPhatter, who explored the tradition of sci-fi themes in black popular music as he developed the world of the show. McPhatter explains further: "the story reflects some of my own challenges growing up as a black gay male. I struggled to overcome the homophobia I internalized from church, school and in our culture. I found hope in music, particularly artists like Parliament Funkadelic, Sun Ra, and Meshell Ndegeocello. That journey at the core of Bring the Beat Back."
The April presentations at JACK are the next phase of the show's evolution, building on music workshops in Chicago in 2016. Executive Producer Bryan E. Glover explains: "April will be the first time we present the show with a live audience - part performance, part dance party. There aren't very many queer, black, sci-fi, music-theater projects out there for us to learn from, so we're definitely charting our own path."
The show is poised for even more opportunities following the April presentations. Director Christopher Burris has been awarded a residency with The Drama League to support show development, and an exciting roster of producers and collaborators are providing a solid foundation for next steps. Derek reflects, "we've got big dreams for the project - a dance workshop, a touring production and more. But we can't do that without more help, and I'm thrilled about the amazing support that has mobilized to make our opportunity with JACK a success."
His enthusiasm is shared by many team members, some black, some queer, some sci-fi fans, and some are none of the above. But all of them have found something resonant about Bring the Beat Back, and audiences are in for a treat: a funky example of what becomes possible when we celebrate the diversity of our experiences.
For more on Bring the Beat Back, follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thebeatisback and Indiegogo: igg.me/at/btbb.
MORE ABOUT THE TEAM:
Derek Lee McPhatter (Playwright): Alongside Bring the Beat Back, recent plays include: This App is Not the Business, a cyberspace corporate America dramedy, and Life Hack: A Geek Boy Fever Dream. Derek is a 2016-2018 I Am Soul Resident Playwright with Dr. Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre in Harlem, and was an inaugural playwright with the Obie award-winning The Fire This Time Festival. The Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Horse Trade Theater Group, and Harlem9 are among the organizations that have presented his work, with awards from the Jerome Foundation, Harlem Stage, and the United States Embassy in the U.K., with three plays published by Indie Theater Now. Derek holds a Bachelor's of Arts in English from Morehouse College and a Master's of Arts in Humanities from New York University. He is originally from Pickerington, Ohio and splits his time between Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. derekleemcphatter.com
Christopher Burris (Director) is an artist and educator. He's an adjunct professor at Pace University, a trainer with Ovation Communications, and a member of Home in the Time of Brooklyn (651 Arts). He directed THE BROTHERS SIZE at Luna Stage which has received five 2016 Broadway World Award nominations including Best Play and Best Director. Other directing credits include the world premiere of GEESE (Samuel D. Hunter) at The Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, and WHEN WE WAKE UP DEAD (Dennis A. Allen II) at Brooklyn College. Christopher directed POTATO SALAD (Keith Josef Adkins) for the inaugural year of the Obie-winning 48Hours in...Harlem, as well as the first four years of Obie-winning Fire This Time Festival, culminating in their premiere full-length production, LORDS RESISTANCE (Camille Darby). Acting credits include television (The Guiding Light, Damage Control, As the World Turns), stage (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse), commercials (Dr. Scholl's, ESPN360, NY Post), and voice-overs (Grand Theft Auto V, McDonald's, AT&T). AEA Member. SDC Associate Member. Twitter/Instagram: @misterburris
Rhonney Greene (Costume Design and Make-Up) is a multi-hyphenate creative artist and has worked on numerous film and television programs as a costume designer, supervisor and key costumer, including: The Avengers, Shots Fired, Marshall, Nurse Jackie, The Haves and Have Nots and Elementary, to name a few. Currently, he is the Costume Designer of MTV's teen drama Finding Carter. He co-founded Under the Spell Productions in 2005 and serves as Artistic Director of the company. He was a featured director in the 2016 Season of 48Hours in...Harlem Festival. Additional credits include world premieres of Fantasy Girl and It Goes Unsaid, Under the Spell's signature show, which has been performed at UCLA's Raw Performing Arts Series, The Poet's Den (Harlem) and London's Institute of Contemporary Arts (U.K.). He also co-created and directed Under the Spell's first web-series, She's Out of Order which won the best guest actress award at LA WEBFEST 2015. Acting experience includes a starring role in the equity musical showcase, Dance Bojangles Dance.
Germono Toussaint (composer) is a composer, arranger, lyricist, playwright, producer, activist and founder of A Mile In My Shoes, Inc. His plays include My Brother's Keeper, The Cross and the Karma, Divine Retribution, The Anointed and his original musical Caged. He is also one of the founding producers of Obie Award-winning The Fire This Time Festival. Toussaint has written music for several film productions including Shotgun, King and Walking Maris' Way. He has also written and arranged music for several off-Broadway Theater Productions including Ritual (Stanley Bennet Clay), B-Boy Blues (James Earl Hardy) and Sistas: The Musical (Dorothy Marcic). Toussaint has a BFA in music composition and studied performing arts administration at NYU. He has received awards and honors from The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Puffin Foundation, The National Alliance for Musical Theatre, All Out Arts, The Wisconsin Arts Board, and The Helen Bader Foundation. Toussaint was also featured in American Theater Magazine in 2008.
Manchildblack (DJ) is as a recording artist, producer, tastemaker and DJ. He has released 3 acclaimed EP's: Awake In A Dream, My Mind's I and Love Reigns Vol. 1. The music video for his single "To The Sky," received heavy rotation on BET J/Centric. As half of the musical duo The Illustrious Blacks, Manchildblack and his husband, Monstah Black, co-host the weekly radio show On Air w/The Blacks for WBAI 99.5 FM in NY. Known for their electrifying performances, the duo has released three singles: "Black Like Jesus", "Take Me Ovah" and "Delusions of Grandeur". Manchildblack is the Creative Director of Hype Life Music, which co-produces the long running dance party Libation, and his own residency alongside DJ Afro titled Get Together. In 2016, he co-produced the Hype Life Music Fest, dedicated to showcasing and celebrating black and brown artists in dance and electronic music. HLM has curated and produced events for the Apollo Theater, SOB's, Webster Hall, The Studio Museum In Harlem. He is an in-demand DJ spinning eclectic sets around NYC. #LiveTheHypeLife
Bryan E. Glover (Executive Producer) is an award-winning arts producer, filmmaker, writer and certified professional life coach. He is co-founder of Harlem9, producers of the Obie award winning "48Hours in...Harlem." Bryan has supported the arts and emerging artists for over 25 years, having worked with musicians, choreographers, performance artists, and playwrights in a variety of contexts and cities, and previously served as a founding board member of Freedom Train Productions, the groundbreaking Black LGBT theater company based in Brooklyn, NY from 2006 - 2011. Previous NYC productions include: First Dark Drama (Co-producer, Ontological Theater, August 2006); A Love Like Damien's (Associate Producer, Here Arts Theater, November 2006); It Goes Unsaid (Producer, Poet's Den, July 2007); Monstah Black and the Sonic Leroy: Submerged in Blue (producer, various venues, 2010); and A Raisin in the Salad: Black Plays for White People (Producer, FringeNYC, 2010). bryaneglover.com.
Guest artist music collaborators: ALEXA GRÆ, avery r. young, Lamar "Juslove" Smith, DJ Alinka and Shaun J. Wright of TWIRL Recordings.
Photo Credit: Nikki B.