I, TOO, SING AMERICA Returns to Brava Theater Center
"I, Too, Sing America" transfers to Brava Theater Center following an award nominated SRO Summer run at the Buriel Clay Theater. BATCO Presents "I, Too, Sing America" running February 14th - 24th (Preview Feb 14th) for 8 performances only! The production honors the perspectives and experiences of American artists of color with poetry, song, music and movement, featuring original compositions by Othello Jefferson and others using a diverse cast of singers, actors, poets, and performers. "I, Too, Sing America" is nominated by the Bay Area Dance Critics following the summer run for "Izzie Awards" in the areas of Choreography and Music/Sound/Text.
Featuring a company of thirty-one dancers and singers, "I, Too, Sing America" highlights poetic works by artists including Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Beyonce, Frances Chung, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Walker and more. The performances are under the musical direction Othello Jefferson with choreographic direction by Christine Chung; produced and directed by Jamie Yuen-Shore.
"As BATCO has grown, we have repeatedly turned to Othello Jefferson for musical direction and accompaniment. Othello has supported our theater careers and artistic visions for many years and is responsible for imbuing us with many of the creative tools we draw upon to create work. As a vocal and music director, Othello has brought passion and professionalism to our training and consistently wowed us with his breathtaking voice, effortless accompaniment, and limitless musical knowledge," remarks Director Jamie Yuen-Shore.
"Considering the overall tone of "I, Too, Sing America", we recognized it would be inauthentic to create a piece about representation of people of color and ignore that the history and present condition of many people of color in this country includes marginalization and trauma. That being said, it would also be inauthentic to reduce the lives of black and brown people to only hardship, and not shine a light on the pride, ambition, romance, humor, grit, hubris, wonder, or ingenuity we seek to relate to and see mirrored in art. We therefore sought to present a broad and inclusive range of experiences and emotions authored by artists of color. In finding and curating the poems for this piece, we thought carefully about the topics and themes we wanted to feature, with the goal of embracing and championing representation in every part of the process and product. We wanted to find works that resonated with us, and especially moments or ideas we related to that we don't often see on stage or hear in popular narratives." - Director/Producer Jamie Yuen-Shore
Yuen-Shore continues, "Othello told me about an idea he had, while reading to his young daughters, to put poems by poets of color to music. The book that inspired him was titled "I, Too, Sing America" after the poem I, too by Langston Hughes. The book is an anthology that includes poems from three decades of black poets. Inspired by the title, we decided to put together a show of poems that portray the spectrum of the human experience authored by people of color. The result is this performance."
Othello Jefferson (Musical Settings & Concept) holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a music teaching credential from San Francisco State University. An award-winning Choir Director at San Francisco's Lowell High School, he is currently the Choir Director at Redwood City's Sequoia High School, Music Director of Redwood City Community Theatre, and Accompanist/ Organist for the Ragazzi Boys Chorus. He also serves as Minister of Music for the First African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in San Francisco as well as the denomination's Western Episcopal District. Othello received a Gospel Music Award from San Francisco's Academy of Gospel and a Negro Spirituals Heritage Keepers Award from the Friends of Negro Spirituals in Oakland.
BATCO is committed to uniting artists and audiences through live theatre that is reflective of the authentic perspectives and history of the san francisco bay area. Our non-profit organization supports artists through creative development, full productions, and mentorships that aspire to engage a new generation of live theater supporters.