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Photo Flash: First Look at The Mama Foundation's ALIVE!

The Mama Foundation for the Arts presents ALIVE!, a celebration of a generation in song, featuring a full company of performers who are age 55 and over . . . "Real people, telling real stories!" Conceived and written by Vy Higginsen and Ken Wydro (the creators of MAMA, I WANT TO SING), and directed by Mr. Wydro, ALIVE! is currently performing in repertory on Saturday afternoons at The Dempsey Theater in Harlem (127 W. 127 St.). BroadwayWorld has a first look at the cast in action below!

The cast of ALIVE! is comprised of everyday, "ordinary" citizens from all walks of life; people with amazing talent, who never realized their desire to perform live. Each cast member now has the opportunity to take center stage, proving that it's never too late to live a dream. ALIVE! features a unique blend of gospel, jazz, R&B and pop music - songs that served as a soundtrack for this generation. Through the music and through authentic stories and testimonies, the ALIVE! cast tell how it used to be, and how life could be going forward . . . at any age. They are ALIVE! . . . and kickin.'

The cast of ALIVE! features Num H.S. Amun'Tehu, Deborah Bingham, Donna Love Brown, Matthew Brown, Matthew Burke, Robin Campos, Robin Crudup, Gladys DeJesus Mitchell, Darlene Eklou, Phyllis Harris, Theo Harris, GloRia Jones, Susie Jones, Sahron Patrick, Roberta Ross, Ricardo Vega, Renee Walker, Pamela White, and Hugh Wright.

ALIVE! has music direction by Greg Kelly and musical staging/choreography by Elijah Ahmad Lewis.

ALIVE! is performed at The Dempsey Theater in repertory along with other Mama Foundation for the Arts shows: WE ARE! A World Premiere musical created by Ms. Higginsen and Mr. Wydro. WE ARE! Is based on 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) that followed the students of Gospel for Teens, the acclaimed music program of The Mama Foundation for the Arts' School of Gospel, Jazz and R&B Arts, for one year. The musical follows a group of students from auditions forward, revealing the trials and triumphs of our younger generation. MAMA, I WANT TO SING: THE NEXT GENERATION. A revival of the classic 1983 gospel musical, the longest-running African-American Off-Broadway musical in history, which opened in Harlem in 1983 at The Heckscher Theater (eight year run with over 2,500 performances in NYC). This revival, directed by Mr. Wydro, opened at The Dempsey in April 2011. And SING, HARLEM, SING! created by Vy Higginsen and Ken Wydro. Inspired by the many years she spent behind the microphone at major urban radio stations (such as WBLS-FM and Kiss-FM), Vy Higginsen's SING HARLEM SING! is a celebration of African-American music (including R&B, jazz, early rock 'n' roll, and gospel), urban radio, and the energy of one of the world's most legendary neighborhoods.

Proceeds from all Mama Foundation productions benefit The Mama Foundation for the Arts, a cultural space in Harlem with a mission to present, preserve, and promote the history and fundamentals of gospel, jazz, and rhythm and blues music for current and future generations, as well as to provide quality training and employment in the performing arts to both youths and adults. A non-profit 501(C)3, the Mama Foundation for the Arts was founded in 1998 by Vy Higginsen, inspired by the worldwide success of her musical, Mama, I Want To Sing.


Saturday Oct. 12th WE ARE! @ 2:00pm; ALIVE! @ 5:00pm

Saturday Oct. 19th ALIVE! @ 2:00pm; WE ARE! @ 5:00pm

Saturday Oct. 26th MAMA @ 2:00pm; WE ARE! @ 5:00pm

Saturday, Nov. 2nd ALIVE! @ 5:00 pm

Saturday Nov. 9th MAMA @ 2:00pm; ALIVE! @ 5:00pm

Saturday Nov. 16th SING, HARLEM, SING @ 2:00pm; ALIVE! @ 5:00pm

Saturday Nov. 23rd MAMA @ 2:00pm WE ARE! @ 5:00pm

Saturday Nov. 30th Gospel for Teens End of Semester Holiday Concerts (times TBD)

In December 2013, The Mama Foundation and the cast of MAMA, I WANT TO SING . . . will travel to Japan for a touring engagement commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the musical's Japanese premiere, which is credited for introducing the local culture to gospel music. Performances of Mama Foundation musicals will resume at The Dempsey in early 2014.

Tickets for all Mama Foundation shows are available by calling the Mama Foundation for the Arts at 212-280-1045 or through (212-868-4444). Special rates for groups and parties are also available. For more information, visit

Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg

The Cast of ALIVE!

The Cast of ALIVE!

Matthew Brown

Num Amuntehu

Num Amuntehu

Renee Walker

Deborah Bingham

Roberta Ross

Theo Harris and Matthew Brown

Theo Harris

Gladys Mitchell

Phyllis Harris

Renee Walker

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