Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
MAMA, I WANT TO SING Celebrates Anniversary with Return to Original Theater

MAMA, I WANT TO SING Celebrates Anniversary with Return to Original Theater

MAMA, I WANT TO SING Celebrates Anniversary with Return to Original Theater

Mama, I Want to Sing, the classic gospel musical created by Vy Higginsen and Ken Wydro, will celebrate a special 35th anniversary season this fall. Having been performed locally in Harlem, New York; as well as nationally and internationally for over three decades, Mama, I Want to Sing proudly returns to the theatre where it began, The Heckscher Theatre, now known as El Teatro of El Museo del Barrio, located at 1230 5th Avenue (at 104th Street). Mama, I Want to Sing will play two performances on Saturday, November 16th, 2019 at 1 PM and 5 PM. Proceeds from the two special performances will benefit the Mama Foundation for the Arts' School for Gospel, Jazz, and R&B Arts. Tickets, priced at $25 - $95, are available online at MamaIWanttoSing.com or by calling the Mama Foundation for the Arts at (212) 280-1045.

Mama, I Want to Sing has book and lyrics by Vy Higginsen and Ken Wydro, and original music by Wesley Naylor. The production is directed by Mr. Wydro.

Mama, I Want to Sing tells the story of a talented young girl who dreams of leaving her church choir to pursue a life in popular music, despite strong objections from her mother. A tribute to the many African-American artists with church choir roots who rose to fame in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, creator Vy Higginsen based her musical on the life of her sister, Doris Troy, whose 1963 hit "Just One Look" launched her to international fame.

The original production of Mama, I Want to Sing opened on March 23, 1983, in Harlem at The Heckscher Theater. The musical was hailed by The New York Times as "a musically invigorating production . . . the mood in the theater was jubilation;" and was named as one of the ten "Best of Theater, 1984" by Time magazine. The show played for eight years and over 2,500 performances at The Heckscher Theatre (1983-1991), becoming the longest-running Black Off-Broadway musical in history. Mama, I Want to Sing then went on to play another 1,000 performances through a three-year tour across the USA. A run in London's West End, several European tours (Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia), multiple appearances in the Caribbean and seven tours throughout Japan followed. Mama, I Want to Sing returned to Harlem in 2011 at The Dempsey Theatre. The revival was hailed by The New York Times once again: "Infectious joy emanates from every group number. Impeccable vocals throughout. It's hard to resist."

Over the years such noted performers as Doris Troy, Shirley Caesar, Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Deniece Williams, Tisha Campbell, Octavia Lambertis, Desiree Coleman, D'Atra Hicks, Stacy Francis, Ben Vereen, and Ciara have appeared in stage and film versions of Mama, I Want To Sing.

Having been performed at The Dempsey since 2011, in repertory with other musical productions presented by The Mama Foundation for the Arts, Mama, I Want to Sing now proudly returns to the theatre where it all started.

Founded in 1998, The Mama Foundation for the Arts is a non-profit 501(C)3 whose mission is to present, preserve, and promote the history and fundamentals of gospel, jazz, and rhythm and blues music for current and future generations. Inspired by the worldwide success of Mama, I Want to Sing, Ms. Higginsen established the Foundation as a cultural space in Harlem where both youths and adults have access to quality training and employment in the performing arts. The foundation's School of Gospel, Jazz and R&B Arts trains talented singers, musicians and arrangers, helping to develop singers' vocal power and stage presence while also teaching a substantial musical repertoire. The School for Gospel, Jazz and R&B Arts supports the beginner and seasoned singer; and those who sing for joy or those who want to professionally fine-tune their vocal instrument. Participants have the opportunity to develop the habits and attitudes that create success in any endeavor. Through the foundation's Gospel for Teens program, musical instruction in the art form of gospel music is offered to young people between the ages of 11 and 19 at no cost, providing desperately needed support to musically gifted children and replacing arts programs taken out of many inner-city schools. Gospel for Teens was the subject of an award-winning "60 Minutes" feature story (two 2012 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Feature Story in a News Magazine; as well as a 2012 National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Award).

Mama, I Want to Sing will be performed on Saturday, November 16th, 2019 at 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. at El Teatro of El Museo del Barrio, formerly The Heckscher Theatre, located at 1230 5th Avenue (at 104th Street). Tickets are priced at $25 - $95. Tickets for both shows are available through MamaIWanttoSing.com or by calling the Mama Foundation for the Arts at 212-280-1045.

For more information, please also visit www.mamafoundation.org.


Related Articles View More Off-Off-Broadway Stories   Shows


More Hot Stories For You