New Ohio Theatre & IRT's Archive Residency to Present iNegro, a rhapsody & A Burning Church

By: Mar. 22, 2022
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New Ohio Theatre & IRT's Archive Residency to Present iNegro, a rhapsody & A Burning Church

New Ohio Theatre and IRT Theater will present the Archive Residency world premiere of iNegro, a rhapsody, written and performed by Kareem M. Lucas, and production concept by Stevie Walker-Webb, and a work-in-progress presentation of A Burning Church, with a book and direction by Alex Hare and Zhailon Levingston, music by Nehemiah Luckett and lyrics by Zhailon Levingston, at New Ohio Theatre (154 Christopher St.) in New York City.

Born of disillusionment and a fierce self-excavation, Kareem M. Lucas's Afro-surrealist solo show, iNegro, a rhapsody, takes the audience on a hilarious and harrowing ride through a young Black man's consciousness as he carves out the space to wrestle with his community, his faith, his culture and himself. Production Concept by Stevie Walker-Webb and featuring an original jazz score by Mauricio Escamilla, iNegro is a thrilling verbal dance and a poetic, vulgar subversion of the sacred culminating in a wondrous act of surrender and salvation. It reminds us that we can save ourselves. Inspiring, intricate, intense, intoxicating, inciting, iNegro.

iNegro, a rhapsody, is a part of a trilogy of solo shows written and performed by Kareem M. Lucas. The name of the trilogy is "3 Ages of a Negro." Other parts of the trilogy have been workshopped at the Cherry Lane Theatre as part of its 2019 Mentor Project, Next Door at New York Theatre Workshop, the Under The Radar Festival at The Public Theater, among others. This production is dedicated to the memory of the late Craig muMs Grant, his mentorship was instrumental to the development of the trilogy. We love you, muMs.

The iNegro production team includes Mauricio Escamilla (Composer & Sound Design), David Goldstein (Scenic Design) and Tyler Arnold (Costume Design).

iNegro, a rhapsody, runs from April 28 - May 14, 2022. Previews begin April 28 for a May 1 opening. Performances are Wednesdays - Saturdays at 7:30pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 4pm. Tickets are $26 and $19 (students and seniors). Running time is approximately 60 minutes. Purchase at

Jen believes that Heritage Christian Center, the Alabama megachurch she works for, is doing God's will. To Cleo, it's everything that's wrong with America - not least because a recent incident outside its doors got her brother Richard sent to jail. When the two women agree to team up in order to free Richard, the inevitable friction gradually inspires both of them to question their most fundamental beliefs. With a dynamic score that fuses gospel and secular traditions, A Burning Church is an original musical haunted by acts of destruction, reconstruction, and radical transformation.

"All of the characters in the show are fundamentalists in some way - if not about Christianity, then about the story they tell themselves about themselves. In that way, their futures depend on how much they are willing to embrace uncertainty and radical self-questioning. We're so grateful to New Ohio and IRT, who have given us space and resources over the last 3+ years to engage in a lot of self-questioning - of ourselves, our beliefs, our relationships with institutions, and our show. We're looking forward to sharing this work-in-progress with audiences of any and all (or no) beliefs." - Alex Hare, Zhailon Levingston and Nehemiah Luckett

A Burning Church runs from May 20 - 22, 2002. Performances are Friday at 3pm and 8pm, Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are $26 and $19 (students and seniors). Running time is approximately 75 minutes. Purchase at

Also part of this year's Archive Residency lineup: the previously announced world premiere of Songs About Trains, a musical exploration of the many cultural communities that built the U.S. rail system. The production runs April 5 - 23 at New Ohio Theatre with an opening set for April 10. Songs About Trains is created by Radical Evolution, directed by Rebecca Martínez and Taylor Reynolds, and presented by Working Theater, Radical Evolution and New Ohio Theatre. The creative team includes music director and arranger Julián Mesri, choreographer Joya Powell and artistic producer Meropi Peponides. The lead author is Beto O'Byrne with additional contributions by Eugenie Chan, Reginald Edmund, Rebecca Martínez and Jay Muskett.

This theatrical concert dives headfirst into conversations on immigration, labor, and Manifest Destiny. Created by a multicultural cohort of artists, Songs About Trains questions the complexity of progress while celebrating the diverse communities instrumental in creating the United States as we know it today.

New Ohio Theatre's Artistic Director Robert Lyons says, "These shows were all originally scheduled for presentation during Covid quarantine and their realization now speaks to the tenacity, patience, and relentless creative drive of these fierce artists. It is with the greatest pleasure that we share them with the city of New York!"

The Archive Residency is a vital incubator for New York City's most electrifying independent theater artists. The two-year residency provides artists with an artistic home for the development and presentation of a new work. The residency includes multiple workshops in IRT's 3B Development Series and culminates with a final presentation in the New Ohio's main season. Current Archive Residency artists include Vieve Radha Price and Chuk Obasi (TÉA Artistry), Kareem M. Lucas (iNegro, a rhapsody), Zhailon Levingston, Alex Hare and Nehemiah Luckett (A Burning Church), and Beto O'Byrne, Rebecca Martinez, Meropi Peponides and Taylor Reynolds (Songs About Trains). Archive Residency alumni artists include Lila Neugebauer, Qui Nguyen, Daniel Irizarry & Laura Butler Rivera, Normandy Sherwood, Sanaz Ghajar & Jessica Almasy, Kim Weild & Charles Mee, Jr., Tara Ahmadinejad, Jess Chayes and Lee Sunday Evans.

Audience members are required to have proof of full Covid-19 vaccination and wear a mask to be admitted into the venue. For the latest health and safety protocols, visit


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