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New Musical GRACE to Hold Industry Presentations in New York City This August

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The cast for the August 24 presentations of GRACE will feature Lawrence Cummings, David Hughley, Lacretta, Kevin McCallister and more.

New Musical GRACE to Hold Industry Presentations in New York City This August

Producers Dale A. Mott of Edgewood (Broadway's The Lifespan of a Fact and the upcoming Thoughts of a Colored Man) and NEWorks Productions have announced two industry presentations for GRACE, to be held on August 24, 2021, at Alvin Ailey Studios (405 West 55th Street). The presentations will provide an exclusive look at the original musical prior to its World Premiere production at Ford's Theatre (March 18-May 14, 2022) in Washington, D.C. The presentations are being managed by Alchemy Production Group. Randy Adams and Sue Frost serve as consulting producers for the presentation.

GRACE celebrates the little-told history of African American culinary traditions and the challenges faced by Black-owned businesses in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, as experienced by one Philadelphia family. The original musical is written and composed by American producer, songwriter, music director and cultural curator Nolan Williams, Jr. and is directed and choreographed by Robert Barry Fleming (Executive Artistic Director of Actors Theatre of Louisville).

GRACE captures a day in the life of the Mintons, a Philadelphia family who gather to mourn the loss of their matriarch and cope with the future of their family's cherished restaurant, Minton's Place. The restaurant is home to a century of classic African American dishes, but a swiftly changing neighborhood is putting the future at stake.

Williams' wide-ranging score covers a mix of styles from jazz and r&b to rousing up-tempos and raise-the-roof ballads. Memorable songs feature such evocative titles as "Three Okra Seeds" and "Potlikker." "When Gran'Me Cooked," the first song from the musical to be released, honors the historic role women have in gathering families and communities alike.

GRACE was originally performed in 2016 during the 53rd Grand Boule of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the nation's largest Greek-letter fraternity founded by African American men. Workshop residencies were presented at Cleveland Play House's New Ground Theatre Festival in 2017 and 2018 and at the Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Ky., in 2020. GRACE was an official selection for the 44th Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays but was canceled just before the scheduled opening because of COVID.

Williams drew inspiration for GRACE after conducting extensive research on African American culinary history, including the pioneers chronicled in W.E.B. DuBois' seminal work The Philadelphia Negro.

"The rich imagery of food born of our hardship and turned into culinary genius by pioneering Black chefs and caterers such as Robert Bogle and Henry Minton spoke to me. I heard these giants' voices and was inspired to imbue their legacies into GRACE," Williams said.

The cast for the August 24 presentations of GRACE will feature Lawrence Cummings (National tours of Jesus Christ Superstar, Porgy and Bess) as Minton Family Member, David Hughley (Broadway and national tour, Waitress The Musical) as Paul, Lacretta (The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q) as Haley, Rayshun LaMarr (NBC's "The Voice") as Minton Family Member, Kevin McCallister (Broadway's Come From Away, Caroline, or Change) as E.J., Nova Payton (Helen Hayes Award winner, Ragtime at Ford's Theatre) as Ruthie, Awa Sal Secka (Gun and Powder at Signature Theatre, Into the Woods at Ford's Theatre) as Minton Family Member, and Virginia Ann Woodruff (Broadway's Violet, The Color Purple) as Miss Minnie.

Orchestrations are by Joseph Joubert. Dramaturgy is by Martine Kei Green-Rogers. Creative Consultant is Sheldon Epps. Hospitality and entertainment mogul Sheila C. Johnson and celebrated chef and TV personality Carla Hall serve the production as hospitality and culinary ambassadors.

GRACE will be produced by Ford's Theatre (511 10th St. NW) in Washington, D.C., with performances March 18-May 14, 2022. Member pre-sale is October 12-14, 2021. Public on-sale is October 18, 2021. For more information on Ford's Theatre and the Ford's Theatre Society, please visit www.fords.org.

For more information visit: www.gracethemusical.com

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