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Powerful New Musical, Devine Hamer Gray, Heralds Untold Civil Rights Story


In 1964, three Black women from Mississippi ran for Congress and turned the American political establishment on its head. That's the story behind Devine Hamer Gray, a powerful new musical premiered in a staged reading by composer/playwright Nolan Williams, Jr., September 25 in Washington, DC, co-presented by NEWorks Productions and the March on Washington Film Festival. The musical tells the story of these heroic women-Annie Devine, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Victoria Jackson Gray-and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party they helped to found.

Devine Hamer Gray is the newest work by Nolan Williams, Jr. Earlier this year, Williams served as the musical director for Let Freedom Ring-featuring Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell-a January 2019 tribute concert honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Other Williams projects currently in development are: Grace (formerly The Nolan Williams Project), a work exploring African American foodways and traditions, directed by Robert Barry Fleming, presented as part of Cleveland Play House's New Ground Theater Festivals in 2017 and 2018; and Stirring the Waters Across America, a theatrical concert production illuminating the Civil Rights Movement currently in development at the Kennedy Center. A workshop of Stirring the Waters will be presented in the Center's new REACH facility on Sunday, October 27, 2019, 2pm.

Williams' NEWorks Productions is working with Dale Mott of Edgewood Ventures to advance these projects.

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