Black Theatre Troupe Announces 2018-19 Season

Following a record-breaking season last year, Black Theatre Troupe prepares to open its 2018/19 season. The longest continually-running Black theatre company in the United States, Black Theatre Troupe will produce six productions in the coming year, including two new collaborations with noted organizations Tempe Center for the Arts and Childsplay.

The monumental season opens in September with a large scale production of THE WIZ at Tempe Center for the Arts, followed by the comedic SINGLE BLACK FEMALE, and the company's annual holiday production of Langston Hughes' BLACK NATIVITY.

2019 brings a new collaboration with Childsplay, AND IN THIS CORNER: CASSIUS CLAY, centered on the life of the great Muhammed Ali. Black Theatre Troupe concludes its season with two powerful pieces based on historical themes: DETROIT '67, produced in collaboration with Tempe Center for the Arts and SIMPLY SIMONE, a musical tour-de-force following the life of legendary jazz singer, Nina Simone.

Season packages and single tickets are on sale now at www.blacktheatretroupe.org or by calling 602-258-8129 with flex packages available for 2, 3 or 4 plays of the season.

2018-19 SEASON

THE WIZ
September 28 - October 14, 2018
Music and Lyrics by Charlie Smalls
Book by William F. Brown

?Tempe Center for the Arts
700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, AZ 85281
Tickets: $38

The Wiz infuses L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with a dazzling mix of rock, gospel, and soul music. Dorothy's adventure through the Land of Oz is breathed new life and marked with Black Theatre Troupe's indelible musical stamp.

SINGLE BLACK FEMALE
October 26 - November 11, 2018
Written by Lisa B. Thompson

Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center
1333 E. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85034
Tickets: $38

Single Black Female is a show of rapid-fire comic vignettes that explore the lives of two African-American middle-class women in urban America. As a well-respected English literature professor and as a powerful corporate attorney, they keep each other balanced as they face their fears of rejection and their hopes for romance-which may be found closer than they ever imagined.

BLACK NATIVITY
November 30 - December 16, 2018
Written by Langston Hughes

Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center
1333 E. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85034
Tickets: $38

This annual sold out, legendary holiday event by Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes, returns to the BTT stage. Black Nativity is without a doubt a theatrical wonderment. A joyous company of singers, actors, dancers and musicians delivers its powerful message of joy, hope, victory and liberation that warms the heart at a very special time of the year.

AND IN THIS CORNER: CASSIUS CLAY
January 27 - March 3, 2019
Co-produced with Childsplay
Written by Idris Goodwin

Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center
1333 E. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85034
Tickets: $32.50 adults/$27.50 students

At the sound of the bell, young Cassius Clay Jr. takes his first step into the ring and starts becoming the man the world would come to know as Muhammad Ali. Before he became one of the world's greatest boxers and civil rights advocates, he was a 12-year old boy navigating friendships, family and learning to fight for himself and his community in the segregated South of the 50's.

DETROIT '67
February 22 - March 17, 2019
Co-produced with The City of Tempe
Written by Dominique Morriseau

Tempe Center for the Arts
700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, AZ 85281
Tickets: $38 and $48

Inspired by American history, this powerful play unfolds during an explosive moment in Detroit when the soulful sounds of Motown are breaking records and breaking down barriers. Chelle and her brother Lank are making ends meet by turning their basement into an after-hours club. As the riots of 1967 escalate tensions, in families and communities, a mysterious woman enters their lives.

SIMPLY SIMONE
April 12 - 28, 2019
by Robert Neblett and David Grapes II
Musical Arrangements by Vince di Muraritten

?Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center
1333 E. Washington, Phoenix AZ 85034
Tickets: $38

Prodigy. Superstar. Activist and Exile. As one of the true divas of the 20th Century, vocal powerhouse Nina Simone defied classification and defined a generation. Four women give us an intimate look at her music and lays bare the rich legacy of this icon. Nina Simone mastered all genres. Her command of the American songbook was legendary! Her interpretations of Broadway classics, rock and roll, soul stirring gospel, jazz and the blues were genius.

About Black Theatre Troupe
With a mission of educating and entertaining a diverse community, with an emphasis on people of color, the Black Theatre Troupe (BTT) was born out of a need to serve the community during racial tensions in the 1970s. In an effort to give voice to people of color and avert impending racial unrest, Helen Katherine Mason, a city of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Deputy Manager, started a series of open door community forums at Eastlake Park where opinions and frustrations could be expressed in poetry and improvisations. From those proud but humble beginnings, the Black Theatre Troupe was formed and is now a highly recognized professional company that continues to be an important part of the cultural fabric of Phoenix.

During its fledgling years the company performed in several city facilities before getting its first home in 1976.One of the most important facilities that the City of Phoenix provided during those times was a meeting room at Eastlake Park in downtown Phoenix. Eastlake Park has served the inhabitants of Phoenix since the late 1880's. Originally known as Patton's Park, it was developed by the Phoenix Railway Company to serve as a recreational area for the white patrons of the city's trolley system. The park eventually became a place where people of all races could meet to relax and celebrate special events without violating separatist laws which existed in the nation and state during the first half of the 20th century. After moving from that community room at Eastlake Park the company used various locations in the City, until 1983 when they purchased the historic Temple Beth Hebrew Synagogue in downtown Phoenix, in the heart of what is now the Roosevelt Row District. After an electrical fire in 2001 the company again used multiple facilities. In 2006. a city of Phoenix Bond Election awarded the company $2.5 million for a new home. On February 1, 2013, after a long and successful capital campaign to raise additional funds, BTT celebrated the opening of their new home, The Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center. This new state of the art facility is located at Washington and 14th Street in downtown Phoenix - exactly two blocks from where it all began: the historic Eastlake Park.

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