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Presented in association with Hi-ARTS and Colored Girl Productions
651 ARTS is thrilled to collaborate with Hi-ARTS and Colored Girl Productions to present an excerpt of a new Hip-Hop musical called Sweet Billy and the Zooloos, book and lyrics by Lynn Nottage and music by Diedre Murray. The excerpt, directed by Kamilah Forbes and musically directed by Tut Amin Asante, will be featured as part of “SummerStage Kids, Presented by Disney.” The story and music are guaranteed to delight audience members of all ages. Sweet Billy and the Zooloos is a classic tale of a child banished from his home because his artistic impulses and expressions are different than his community’s and clash against the established rules and morals. Sweet Billy and his best friend Caprice travel the universe where they meet other misfits and new friends become family. See who they meet, what they discover and what happens when Sweet Billy and Caprice leave Zoolooland!
Lynn Nottage is a playwright from Brooklyn. Her plays include Intimate Apparel; Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine; Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined (2009). Her work has been produced and developed at theaters both nationally and internationally, including The Goodman Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Roundabout Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, among many others. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2007 MacArthur Genius Award, an OBIE Award for playwriting, NY Drama Critics Circle Award, Best Play and John Gassner Outer Critics Circle awards, American Theatre Critics/Steinberg 2004 New Play Award, 2004 Francesca Primus Award, and 2 AUDELCO awards. She was awarded a 2007 Lucille Lortel Foundation Fellowship, 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Black Theatre Festival’s August Wilson Playwriting Award and the 2004 PEN/Laura Pels Award for Drama. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, where she is currently a visiting lecturer. Lynn is also a recent graduate of New Dramatists.
Diedre Murray is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, two-time Obie Winner and master musician. An innovative composer, cellist, producer and curator, her credits include Tony winning The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess co-presented by the A.R.T. and Richards/Climan Inc., Unending Pain, co-presented by the Performance Garage and the Whitney Museum of American Art; Lets Go Down to the River, for the Willasau Jazz Festival in Switzerland; The Eves of Nhor, for National Dutch Radio and De Effenaar Festival in Eindhoven Holland; Five Minute Tango, for the inaugural concert at the Danny Kaye/Sylvia Fine Playhouse, performed by the Manhattan Brass Quintet; You Don’t Miss the Water, a music-theatre piece, in collaboration with noted poet Cornelius Eady, produced by the Music Theatre Group (MTG); Women In The Dunes, a dance piece created by Blondel Cummings for the Japan Society; the jazz-opera Running Man, for which she wrote the original story, score, and book with Cornelius Eady, won two Obie Awards, and was named a finalist for the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; music arrangements for Eli’s Coming (Obie Award); The Blackamour Angel; an adaptation by Diane Paulus of James Baldwin’s Another Country; an adaptation of The Voice Within with Marcus Gardley, Harlem Stage and the Apollo Theatre.
Tut Asante Amin is in love with CREATING. At any given time, that love manifests through his passion as a musician, producer and teacher. He is a native son of New Orleans, but now resides in Brooklyn, pursuing his love as an artist, teacher and student.
Tut’s time is spent playing shows (he plays Saxophone, flute and piano), for his own band “Sankofa Soulz”, as well as performing with phenomenal bands and artists within and beyond the New York area. Some of the many talented artist he’s played with include Wynton Marsalis, Dead Prez, Arrested Development, Tantra Zawadi, Autumn Ashanti, and Hip Hop Band The Lo Frequency to name a few. He has performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival, as well as BB Kings, The Blue Note in Manhattan, and more. Tut’s love for producing and composing music allows him to collaborate with other artist all over the world.
He is a two time recipient of the Metlife “Meet the Composer” grant and award and is also the 2011 recipient of the Young Lion Jazz award given by the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium. He has recently finished scoring an independent film and looks forward to more work as a composer. While all of these events represent significant milestones in his life, he is constantly looking forward to new and innovative ways to express himself, teach the youth and continue the life long work of being a student.
You can learn more at www.tuttyamin.com.
Colored Girl Productions is a non-profit company dedicated to producing original and classic theater works that are influenced by the African Diaspora and targeted specifically to urban youth and their families. CGP aims to enhance the relevancy of the American theater experience for these audiences by commissioning significant playwrights of color to create work that addresses their cultural history and contemporary experiences. Overall, CGP is a blend and a bridge: blending the artistic and administrative practices from the regional theater and urban circuit worlds, children’s companies, theaters of color and performing arts centers. Ultimately CGP will bridge audiences socially, economically and intergenerational. For more info: http://colorgirlproductions.com.
The mission of Hi-ARTS (formerly known solely as the Hip-Hop Theater Festival) is to support Hip-Hop as a vibrant urban art and culture movement by nurturing the creation of innovative work within the Hip-Hop aesthetic; presenting and touring artists whose work addresses the socio-political issues relevant to the Hip-Hop generation; and serving young, urban communities through outreach and education. For thirteen years, Hi-ARTS has consistently broken new ground, elevating both Hip-Hop and Theater by empowering artists to develop bold new works, while creating a lasting and positive impact on urban communities. For more info: http://www.hi-artsnyc.org.
Jessica Lynne and DéLana R.A. Dameron reflect on ways they make a home, creatively, wherever they are.