THE ARTIVIST Returns To East Village Playhouse
The East Village Playhouse, home of The CityKids Foundation, is proud to present the return engagement of The Artivist, The Bayard Rustin Story, a solo show that musically explores the life of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin through his speeches, songs, monologues, documentary footage, and letters. The play reopens May 30th and runs through June 23rd, 2019. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7pm, Sunday at 4pm.
The play explores Rustin's contributions as one of the first Freedom Riders, an adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Writer and educator Carla Debbie Alleyne wrote the play after learning about Rustin in a Princeton Theological Seminary course.
"I was disappointed that many do not know Bayard Rustin's name because of his decision to live openly as a gay Black man in a society crippled with intolerance and bigotry," said writer Carla Debbie Alleyne. "As an educator and writer, I wanted to create a piece to teach my students about this great artist and activist, whose contributions to society was blatantly hidden."
The show's producer, the CityKid's Foundation, is a historical youth organization, focused on empowering youth through the arts and educational programs. Carla Debbie Alleyne, the writer/director and Citykids alumni, will be reteaming with two other CityKids alumni, Hassan El Gendi and Keyonn Sheppard, to creatively relaunch the production. Hassan El Gendi will again produce the music for the show, and Keyonn Sheppard will return as Bayard Rustin.
About City Kids
The CityKids Foundation, Founded by Laurie Meadoff in 1985, has established and maintained cutting edge youth development programs, trained tens of thousands of diverse young people, by providing opportunities for personal growth, leadership, and artistic expression. Laurie was inspired to create CityKids after a visit to the Albany Empire in London, a social services and arts program for London's youth. The CityKids Foundation's innovative programming, and projects, have been at the forefront in fields of Positive Youth Development, and Social Emotional Learning, for the past three decades. CityKids helps young people channel that growth into substantial social change, and continues to empower, engage, connect, and inspire young people to skillfully lift their voices and be heard.
About East Village Playhouse
East Village Playhouse, the new heart and home of CityKids, opened in 2017 in the spot of the famous East Village record store, Tribal Soundz. The storefront theatre has since presented A Brooklyn Boy, The Bench, All Roads Lead to the Kurski Station, American Tranquility, and The Fantasticks. The theatre also serves as a playground for CityKids youth empowerment workshops.
About Carla Debbie Alleyne
Carla Debbie Alleyne, the playwright, screenwriter, and director received her B.F.A. and M.F.A. in Film and Television and Dramatic Writing from New York University. Carla's play Hey, Little Walter was produced Off-Broadway at Playwright's Horizon as part of the Young Playwrights Festival when she was 16 years old. The play was also published by Dell Books. Carla collaborated on the musical Bring in the Morning which was produced at the Apollo Theater and starred Lauryn Hill. It was the Apollo's first theatrical production. Carla has directed several music videos and was the first to interview the Notorious BIG as part of a hip-hop music video show she produced out of her NYU dorm room. Carla has also written numerous screenplays, which have been optioned by production companies such as HBO and Miramax Films. Carla is a recent graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary. She is a teacher for New Visions Aim 1 Charter School and designer of clothing line Arm Candy Culture Inc. .
About Hassan El-Gendi
Hassan El-Gendi (aka the hassinian) is an artist/youth educator with over 25 years of experience in hip hop songwriting, production, and creative youth development. He has appeared on stage at prestigious venues and events such as Carnegie Hall, The Apollo Theater, Harlem Week, The NYC Marathon, and the Sundance Film Festival with performances that would literally take him from Broadway to Bulgaria. His creative work in collaboration with, and for young people has appeared across multiple media platforms, having been featured in radio, television, and film. When he is not bringing value to individuals and organizations in his current capacity as a community liaison at CityKids, he can be found hard at work on his latest project: "save the robots" - a hip-hop fueled, multimedia exploration of memories and how they can hurt or heal us.
About Keyonn Sheppard
Keyonn Sheppard is himself an Artivist. His career spans 30 years, beginning as a founding member of the CityKids Repertory Company. As a vocalist/emcee he's toured the world opening for artists from Pharell William's and Erykah Badu to DMX and Wu-Tang Clan and is currently a Credible Messenger Mentor who facilitates anti-recidivism programs in Harlem and the South Bronx. He also serves as Assistant Pastor of the New Beginnings Tabernacle of Deliverance in Brownsville, NY.