Debbie Allen's FREEZE FRAME Coming to The Kennedy Center in October
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in association with The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, presents the East Coast premiere of Debbie Allen's Freeze Frame in the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater in five shows, October 27-30, 2016.
Written, directed, and choreographed by the three-time Emmy Award-winner, Freeze Frame is a fusion of dance, music, film, and theater that takes audiences on a journey through some of Los Angeles's toughest streets where gangs, poverty, violence, and drugs are an everyday reality. With original music by Stevie Wonder, James Ingram, Ricky Minor, Arturo Sandoval, and Thump, the dance-driven work addresses the conversation about gun violence in America, the call for social progress, and the value of human life. The themes of courage and justice reflected in Freeze Frame are two ideals frequently ascribed to President John F. Kennedy, and are among five ideals the Kennedy Center will explore during JFKC: A Centennial Celebration of John F. Kennedy. The yearlong programming initiative showcases breakthrough works, like Freeze Frame, that embody the spirit of President Kennedy's vision for the arts in America inspiring conversation around and initiating social change.
"It's impossible to be an artist and not do something that reflects the issues, the pain, and examine possible solutions to the senseless violence and loss of innocent lives we are experiencing every day," said Debbie Allen. "Freeze Frame is a lens through which a balanced conversation can be experienced and a real call to action will be heard."
Originally commissioned by the Brisbane Arts Festival in Australia, Freeze Frame features a dynamic mix of street-tough characters sharing their stories through a series of high-powered scenes of dance, song, and drama. More than 20 Debbie Allen Dance Academy protégés and professional guest artists appear together onstage for explosive "break the floor" moves propelled by an original score. The cast of talented performers is comprised of a mix of seasoned professionals including three-time Emmy Award winner, Tony-nominated, and Drama Desk winner Debbie Allen; Tony Award winner Clinton Derricks; Broadway's Vivian Nixon (Hot Feet, Memphis, Women on the Verge); So You Think You Can Dance finalist and all-star William Wingfield; up-and-coming internationally acclaimed vocalist Matthew Johnson; DADA alumni, choreographer for Mariah Carey, The Black Eyed Peas, and Founder of I am Compton, an initiative to tutor and offer performing arts education to the young Compton community, Dion Watson; and past and present students from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Through the thought-provoking and passionate performances of Freeze Frame, audiences will see the indescribable story of how art, dance, music, and hope are able to transform lives. Additional cast members to be announced at a later date.
In a career that spans three decades, the name Debbie Allen is synonymous with dynamic energy, creative talent, and innovation. For her vast body of work, Allen has earned three Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, five NAACP Image Awards, a Drama Desk Award, an Astaire Award (for Best Dancer), and the Olivier Award. She holds four honorary doctorate degrees and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was appointed by President George W. Bush to represent the U.S. as a Cultural Ambassador of Dance. She has been artist-in-residence at the Kennedy Center for more than 15 years, creating original works with the legendary Arturo Sandoval and James Ingram, such as Pepito's Story, Brothers of the Knight, Dreams, Alex in Wonderland, Soul Possessed, Pearl, Dancing in the Wings, and Oman O Man. Her long list of directing and producing credits include television classics such as FAME, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Jane the Virgin, Empire, A Different World, Everybody Hates Chris, Stompin' At The Savoy, Polly, That's So Raven, Cool Woman, Quantum Leap, The Fantasia Barrino Story, and on stage, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. She was most recently named an Executive Producer on Grey's Anatomy for season 12 of the program, where she will remain a frequent director and recurring actress.
Tickets start at $29. Available now on Theater and Ballet/Dance select subscriptions. Single tickets go on sale for Kennedy Center members on July 25, 2016 and for the public on August 1, 2016. Tickets can be purchased at the Kennedy Center box office or by calling Instant Charge at (202) 467-4600. Patrons living outside the Washington metropolitan area may dial toll-free at (800) 444-1324.
Photo by Walter McBride