'Paul Robeson: Man of the People' Comes to Hamilton Park District in June

The performance is n Friday, June 7, 2024, from 6-7:30 pm.

By: May. 17, 2024
'Paul Robeson: Man of the People' Comes to Hamilton Park District in June
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Paul Robeson: Man of the People is a new jazz poetry opera chronicling the life, artistic legacy, and activism of the most important and iconic figure of the twentieth century. This live, multimedia presentation explores the life, creative ethos, and inclusive social vision of concert artist, stage and film actor, athlete, and activist, Paul Robeson. Educator and civil rights leader Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune referred to Mr. Robeson as “the tallest tree in our forest.”

Co-created by librettist Lasana D. Kazembe and composer Ernest Dawkins, Paul Robeson: Man of the People will have its Chicago premiere on Friday, June 7, 2024, from 6-7:30 pm at Hamilton Park District, 513 W 72nd St, Chicago. Admission is free, with no reservation or ticket required. This will be the work’s second performance, after an earlier performance in Indianapolis on May 31, 2024. 

The production serves to introduce contemporary audiences to the art, creative legacy, and social justice activism of Mr. Robeson via creative interpretation and artistic engagement with his musicianship, stagecraft, intellectual spirit, writings, political speeches, and his tireless global activism. Mr. Robeson’s epic life story is rendered in a multimedia stage production that features original poetry, operatic storysong, a jazz/blues-infused original score, dramatic narration, video animation, and live visual art. 

PERFORMERS INCLUDE 

Lasana D. Kazembe - spoken word/narration; librettist

Ernest Dawkins - saxophone; score; musical director

Dee Alexander - vocalist

Corey Wilkes - trumpet

Isiah Keith - piano/vibes

Kevin King - flute/clarinet/oboe/saxophone

Carmani Edwards - double bass

Isiah Spencer - drums; percussion

Caitlyn Edwards - violin

Edith Yokley - violin

Wilfred Farquharson - viola

Tahirah Whittington - cello

The opera develops across six movements. The music, songs, and dialogue develop sequentially to reflect Mr. Robeson’s development and maturation into a global icon for freedom. This extended original work is made possible through the Indiana University Presidential Arts & Humanities Fellowship program.



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