Amas Musical Theatre Celebrates 50 Years with Salons, Workshops, and More
Amas Musical Theatre is 50! During the coming year, the company will offer a wide array of programming devoted to continuing its mission of promoting cultural diversity in American musicals. A full schedule of events is listed below.
Since 1968, Amas has been a FORCE in New York City, developing and producing new American musicals, a PIONEER in non-traditional casting and multiculturalism, and a FORERUNNER of theatre arts education for underserved young people.
Amas Musical Theatre was the inspiration of a pioneering figure in the American theatre, Rosetta LeNoire (1911-2002), an African-American actress who began her career as a child performer "planted" in audiences by her godfather, the legendary Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. Rosetta founded Amas (Latin for "you love"), a non-profit performing arts organization, to combat racism, proclaiming "We are all flowers in God's glorious bouquet, every one of us, every color!"
From the beginning, Amas has sought to bring together people of all backgrounds, colors, and ethnic origin through musical theatre, and education programs have always been integral to the mission. Amas became the first voice of multiculturalism in theatre, and America's founding exponent of diversity, long before the term became a corporate mantra. Rosetta insisted on multi-ethnic casting in every show she produced and, in a few seasons, Amas emerged as an influential new force in the theatre, especially after she conceived the groundbreaking Bubbling Brown Sugar in 1973, which became a Broadway and touring sensation.
In 1999, President Clinton awarded the National Medal of Arts to Rosetta as "an individual deserving of special recognition by reason of her outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support, and availability of the arts in the United States." Actors' Equity Association acknowledges Rosetta and Amas' contribution to the American theatre by annually bestowing the Rosetta LeNoire Award ("The Rosie Award") on producers and theatre companies who exemplify her commitment to multicultural production and casting. Following in Rosie's footsteps, for the past 25 years, artistic producer Donna Trinkoff has continued to engrave the unique Amas trademark with musical theatre works that embrace different cultural perspectives while reaching out to underserved audiences.
Countless dramatists, composers, lyricists, directors, choreographers and actors have graced Amas stages over the past 50 years, including Maya Angelou, Micki Grant, Galt McDermott, Sheldon Epps, John Rando, Tom O'Horgan, Ossie Davis, Billie Allen, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Andre deShields, Leslie Uggams, Phylicia Rashad, Brad Oscar and Christopher Jackson. The contributions of these alumni, as well as the dedication of the talented roster of early career artists, speaks to the unique and important work of Amas - a laboratory for artists who share its vision of cultural equity and tell timeless stories that resonate deeply.
"We are enormously proud of our rich legacy and are working towards a sustainable future," says Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer. "We honor Rosie's vision and look to the next 50 years with the establishment of a New Musical Development Fund which will ensure that Amas grows and flourishes. To that end, we will be launching a campaign to raise $500,000 over the next three years."
Amas Musical Theatre 2018-19 SEASON
AMAS SONG SALON SERIES
The Art of Managing A Performing Career, featuring N'Kenge
Sky Lounge, 347 West 57th Street
AMAS "DARE TO BE DIFFERENT" SERIES
"Dare to Be Different" Festival
ART-NY Theatre - 502 West 53rd Street
(November 12- December 9)
Bridges, book and lyrics by Cheryl L. Davis, music by Douglas J. Cohen, directed by Jeffrey Page. In 1965, a young woman boldly joins a fight for her civil rights. Decades later, another young woman faces her own battle for equality. As their stories collide across time and distance, each must come to terms with who she is in the context a changing world.
Romeo and Bernadette, A Tale of Verona and Brooklyn, book and lyrics by Mark Saltzman, music adapted from classic Italian melodies, directed by Justin Ross.The age-old feud between the Capulets and the Montegues is reimagined in 1960 in this irreverent musical comedy.
Stealing Freedom: The True and Heroic Life of the Extraordinary Captain Smalls(formerly "Charleston Harbor"), by Scott Sublett, directed by Christopher Scott. Back by popular demand, Stealing Freedomtells the story an unsung hero of the Civil War whose daring exploits inspired Abraham Lincoln to allow African-Americans to enlist and fight for the Union.
Distant Thunder: A Native-American Musical, book by Lynne and Shaun Taylor-Corbett, music and lyrics by Chris Wiseman and Shaun Taylor-Corbett, additional music and lyrics by Robert Lindsey-Nassif, directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett. A young man, half-Native, half white, returns to the Blackfeet Tribe to fulfill a promise he made to his mother on her death bed and unwitting opens a deep rift that threatens to destroy the tribal lands and their culture.
The Algonquin Kid, by Michael Colby. A musical revue about growing up in the Algonquin Hotel.
A musical tribute to Marilyn Monroe.
50th ANNIVERSARY GALA
The company's annual Spring Benefit Gala, including a silent auction, concert performance, and reception. The evening includes the presentation of The "Rosie" Award and The Rosetta LeNoire Scholarship Award, both named in honor of Amas founder, Rosetta LeNoire.
(April 1, 2019)
THE Rosetta LeNoire MUSICAL THEATRE ACADEMY
The company's flagship pre-professional training program teaching musical theatre performance skills to under-served youth ages 12-18.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School - 120 West 46thStreet
(Saturdays: October 20 - April 30)
Open House: January 16, 2019 - Auditorium JKO HS
End of Year Performance: May 7-16, 2019 - Hudson Guild Theatre, West 26th Street
Stealing Freedom: The Heroic and Historic Life of the Extraordinary Captain Smalls(formerly "Charleston Harbor"), by Scott Sublett, directed by Christopher Scott.
(May 20-June 30, 2019)
Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer) now in its 50thyear of continuous operation isNew York City's award-winning pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since 1968. Amas ("you love" in Latin) is devoted to the creation, development and professional production of new American musicals through the celebration of diversity and minority perspectives, the emergence of new artistic talent, and the training and encouragement of underserved young people in the New York area. In recent years, Amas has emerged as a leading not-for-profit laboratory for new musicals, the most recent being Broadway and the Bard, starring Len Cariou and Red Eye of Love, which was awarded the Joseph A. Callaway Award for Outstanding Choreography. Its production of The Other Josh Cohenreceived six 2013 Drama Desk nominations including Outstanding Musical, a 2013 Lucille Lortel nomination for Outstanding Musical, and a 2013 Off-Broadway Alliance nomination for Best New Musical. Other shows that Amas has developed include A Taste of Chocolate,Triassic Parq, The Countess of Storyville, Distant Thunder, Marry Harry, Me and Miss Monroe, Aesop & Company, Signs of Life, Wanda's World, Shout! The Mod Musical, Lone Star Love, From My Hometown, Zanna, Don't!, 4 Guys Named Jose and Stormy Weather: Reimagining Lena Horne. Amas education programs include the Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy, Lens on Live Theatre and in-school theatre arts residencies designed in partnership with elementary, middle, and high schools.