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Progressive Theater Will Host The 1st Annual Black & Blue Fundraising Gala

Progressive Theater Will Host The 1st Annual Black & Blue Fundraising Gala

On Friday, November 22nd, 2019, Progressive Theater in Maplewood, NJ will host the 1st Annual Black & Blue Fundraising Gala at The Woodland: Great Hall from 6:00pm to 11:00pm.

Master of Ceremonies and founder of Progressive Theater, Gregory Omar Osborne, will curate a nostalgic evening paying homage to the 1989 Broadway Musical Revue: BLACK & BLUE. The color-coded event will include live music, a short film entitled "Sentimental," , and a special performance by the original members of the cast and band.

Honorees for the evening include:

Mel Howard (Producer) - Progressive Theater's Galilean Award

Like the Italian astronomer, Mr. Howard was able to see endless possibilities ard for a show like Black & Blue and provide a platform for black excellence. Mel Howard's production credits include, but aren't limited to; Tango Pasion, Flamenco Puro, Tango Argentino and Oedipus Rex.

Dianne Walker (Assistant Choreographer) - Progressive Theater's Aegis Award

The Aegis is the protection, backing or support of an organization or person. Dianne Walker, also known as " Lady Di," was and is an integral asset to Black & Blue. Having been part of the conception and original cast of Black & Blue as well as assistant choreographer on Broadway, Diane preserves the history, the steps and the integrity of Black & Blue. Walker has been seen in films including "Tap," the PBS special "Great Performances: Tap Dance in America," the PBS production of BLACK AND BLUE directed by Robert Altman.

Bill Easley (Broadway Woodwinds Player) - Progressive Theater's Fermata Award

The fermata in music is a pause of unspecified length on a note or rest. Bill Easley is the last living member of the original Black & Blue band. His Broadway credits include: Sophisticated Ladies, The Wiz, Jelly's Last Jam, Fosse, After Midnight and Shuffle Along. Easley has traveled and recorded with such notable as George Benson, Ruth Brown, Mercer Ellington, and Sir Roland Hanna to name a few.

"Theater is a labor of love, most of the hard work goes unseen and hidden by dazzling lights, glitzy costumes and the blare of trumpets, but on November 22nd we take time to honor the cast, musicians and creatives of BLACK & BLUE, a musical that is mistakenly Broadway's Forgotten Treasure." -- Founder, Gregory Omar Osborne

BLACK & BLUE was originally created at Theater Musical de Paris in 1985 then graced The Great White Way in 1989 at the Minskoff Theater. The spectacle was produced by Mel Howard and Donald K Donald. Conceived and directed by Claudio Segovia and Hector Orezzoli the show was nominated for several Tony's of which Ruth Brown won "Best Performance by a LeadingActress in a Musical ," Claudio Segovia and Hector Orezzoli won "Best Costume Design," and Cholly Atkins, Henry LeTang, Frankie Manning and Fayard Nicholas all took home the Tony for "Best Choreography." BLACK & BLUE had a cast of forty-one singers, dancers, and musicians including: Ruth Brown, Linda Hopkins, Carrie Smith, Savion Glover, Claude Williams, Roland Hanna, Grady Tate, Jimmy Slyde, Bill Easley, Jimmy "Preacher" Robins, Lon Chaney and Bunny Briggs. Dianne Walker was the show's curator and sustainer of the choreography and stage direction, as well as a featured dancer. In 1990, Lavern Baker made her Broadway debut replacing Ruth Brown for the last eight months of the run.

Progressive Theater relies on the generosity of theater enthusiasts/ professionals and anyone who believes the arts can have a lasting impact on communities and individuals.

Proceeds from the Gala will enable Progressive Theater to provide affordable learning opportunities in the arts, proliferate exposure to theatrical arts for communities with limited access, and continue to promote diversity and inclusion.

Progressive Theater aims to tell culturally enriched stories that empower the misrepresented, people of color, while captivating audiences with the focus being the change we want to see in the arts.


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