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Allen and Gray Virtual Musical Theater Festival Announced

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Allen and Gray Virtual Musical Theater Festival Announced

Award winning musical theater writers Richard Allen and Taran Gray have announced they will be premiering four of their new original musicals, including the award winning FREEDOM RIDERS: The Civil Rights Musical, as virtual theatrical productions to raise money for Broadway Cares (BCEFA) and Broadway for Racial Justice (BFRJ).

The festival productions will include the full score and book for each of the shows and will be performed live. The festival is produced by Richard Allen, Taran Gray, Ryan Norton (former Associate Artistic Producer of Tuacahn Center for the Arts in St. George, Utah), and Rachel Elise Johnson (Executive Director of Underscore Theatre and Producer of the Chicago Musical Theater Festival). All proceeds from ticket sales will be split evenly between Broadway Cares / Equity Fights Aids and Broadway for Racial Justice, a new organization that seeks to aid in the fight for racial justice and equity within the theatre community at large. By providing resources to black, indigenonous, people of color, BFRJ creates safe spaces throughout the theatre community for creativity and artistry to thrive.

"Taran and I are very excited for this festival," says Richard Allen. "We know there's an uncertainty about when traditional theater will start back up. We, like everyone else, had plans for our shows to be in production this year before the Covid pandemic changed that. This festival is a way for our shows to continue to evolve and for us to give back to the communities that have been good to us. That's why we chose BC/EFA and Broadway for Racial Justice because we believe in their work. As a black creator during this time of unrest I know that the work we are presenting is important. Sharing black history from a black perspective."

Richard Allen and Taran Gray are currently finishing their newest musical LEGENDARY, a piece that was created completely during the quarantine as a way for their online fan base to be part of the process of making a musical. LEGENDARY is set to open the virtual festival on July 7th with their show BAYARD: A New Musical (which premiered at the El Museo del Barrio Theater in Harlem last year) following on July 8th. Their highly anticipated new musical, WALT AND ROY will premiere on July 9th and the award winning production of FREEDOM RIDERS: The Civil Rights Musical will close the festival on July l0th. Showtimes will be at 8pm (EDT).

"We've assembled a great team to figure out how to elevate virtual productions as an art form." Richard Allen continues, "Theatermakers have always had to be scrappy and think differently. This is just another instance of it. More importantly, we are excited to amplify the stories of black voices in theater."

Richard Allen and Taran Gray are promising us surprises in the following week as they reveal the cast and directors of each musical. "The most amazing part of this," Taran Gray says, "is that we're no longer limited to certain actors not being available or in New York. Our cast and crew is national, and because of that, we've been able to bring on the actors we've always envisioned for our roles."

The Allen and Gray Musical Theater Festival runs July 7th - July 10th. Tickets will go on sale next week and information will be updated at www.AllenAndGray.com. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights Aids and Broadway for Racial Justice (BFRJ).

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:

July 7th at 8pm (EDT) - LEGENDARY

Legendary tells the story of the rock band Gypsy, the pinnacle of rock music in the 1970's, and untimely death of their lead singer Max. Max is a ghost in modern day where she deals with an aging Gypsy and helps young singer-songwriter Ruby to find her voice. Legendary follows four women of music, all in different stages of life, as they navigate career, family, and speaking their truths.

July 8th at 8pm (EDT) - BAYARD

In 1963, what would become known as the most iconic march in Civil Rights history was still a gestating idea without the right person to organize it. The leaders of the movement, some reluctantly, some faithfully, chose Bayard Rustin, the great civil right strategist and openly gay Black man, to organize and get the march on its feet. His ideas would be a boon for the movement and his life would be the obstacle.

July 9th at 8pm (EDT) - WALT AND ROY: A Magical New Musical

WALT AND ROY: A Magical New Musical follows the Disney brothers as they make their roots in Los Angeles in 1923 until they produce their first feature length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, in 1937. The musical chronicles the special relationship between Walt and Roy in their genius in creating the House of Mouse.

July 10th at 8pm (EDT) - FREEDOM RIDERS: the Civil Rights Musical

FREEDOM RIDERS: The Civil Rights Musical tells the true story of the activists who boldly challenge the legality and optics of the Jim Crow South in 1961 by riding busses in mixed groups. Freedom Riders is a soaring portrait of the fearless voices who used nonviolent direct action to initiate change.


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