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Flatbush between DeKalb and Willoughby
Sekou Sundiata’s seminal work The Circle Unbroken is a Hard Bop (1992) will be re-imagined and directed by Kamilah Forbes. This multilayered performance work, which propelled Sundiata into the world of theater, tells a story of three African American artists—an expatriate dancer, a poet, and a musician—who come of age during the political and cultural movements of the late 1960’s and ‘70s. Circle Unbroken is a Hard Bop is being presented as a part of a New York City Wide Retrospective produced by MAPP International.
International award winning artist, gracing stages across the United States & United Kingdom. Featured on TED, Sundance Film Festival, on Broadway at The New Amsterdam Theater and the Off Broadway Hip-Hop Theater Festival. A Graduate of The American Academy For Dramatic Arts with a degree in Acting. Currently a student at St. Johns University.
Traci Michelle is a performing artist from Chicago. Her theatrical credits include June’s Blood; Plenty of Time; Mirrors In Every Corner; Trouble in Mind; and, Breath, Boom. She also choreographed productions of Gee’s Bend and Rejoice!, a holiday musical. You can see her work in the national tour of red, black and GREEN: a blues with 2013/2014 performances in Kansas City; Cincinnati; and, Washington, DC. Traci currently resides in New York.
Craig muMs Grant is an American Poet, Actor and Playwright. He has performed on New York City stages for more than 20 years. muMs is best know for playing Arnold Jackson aka Poet on the HBO hit show OZ. At the same time muMs is an internationally known Poet—performing at over 200 cafe’s, colleges and universities across the U.S., Europe and Africa.
muMs is a proud member of the Labyrinth Theater Company debuting in such productions of the Critically acclaimed Last Days of Judas Iscariot, and A View from 151st. Both performed Off-Broadway at the NYC’s Public Theater. With the Labyrinth, muMs has also workshopped two of his plays, Paradox of the Urban Cliche and Loveness.
Some of muMs’ acting credits include: Side Effects, Law and Order SVU, Law and Order, Cold Case, Chappelle’s Show, Boston Legal, Law and Order Criminal Intent, The Sopranos, Dark Water, Everyday People, Bamboozled... amongst others.
Kamilah Forbes directed the Kennedy Center’s Tribute to Marvin Gaye, starring John Legend, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and the National Symphony Orchestra. Recent credits include: BROADWAY - (Associate Director) Lucky Guy, The Mountaintop, Stickfly, Def Poetry Jam on tour (Tour Director). REGIONAL - Welcome to Nellie’s by Dominique Morrisseau (Classical Theater of Harlem, Reading); Nannyland by Radha Blank (Public Theater, Reading); Saturday Night/Sunday Morning by Katori Hall (Lincoln Center Theater Lab Reading series); The Mountaintop by Katori Hall (Lark Theater, Barebones production); Journey to the Door of No Return by Psalmayene 24 (Arena Stage, workshop); Children of Children Keep Coming (Columbia University); Beauty, the Beast (Dance Mission, San Francisco);and, And Her Hair Went with Her by Zina Camblin (NJ Reperatory Theater). Most recently she directed National Poetry Slam Champion Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s multi-disciplinary dance theater piece Scourge. Scourge toured to Rotterdam, Brussels, Boston, DC, and 651 ARTS (NYC), and was premiered at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Other credits include: Masquerade by solo spoken word artist Roger Bonair–Agard; Rhyme Deferred, which she conceived and co-wrote, presented at The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, PS122, New York Theater Workshop, and Undermain Theater. Other directing credits include No Man’s Land (ODC Theater, San Francisco) and Nightmares of JuJubee (The Lincoln Theater DC, PS122, NYC).
She recently received the Josephine Abady Award from the League of Professional Theater Women for excellence in the theater and is a member of the Leadership Board with the Women’s Project. She received a BFA from Howard University in theater and studied at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England.
Talvin Wilks is a playwright, director and dramaturge. His plays include Tod, the boy, Tod; The Trial of Uncle S&M; Bread of Heaven; and, An American Triptych. Directorial projects include the world premiere productions of UDU by Sekou Sundiata (651 ARTS/BAM), The Love Space Demands by Ntozake Shange (Crossroads), No Black Male Show/Pagan Operetta by Carl Hancock Rux (Joe’s Pub/The Kitchen), Banana Beer Bath by Lynn Nottage (Going to the River Festival), the Obie Award/ AUDELCO Award winning The Shaneequa Chronicles by Stephanie Berry (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Relativity by Cassandra Medley (Ensemble Studio Theatre – AUDELCO nomination for Best Director 2006), On the Way to Timbuktu by Petronia Paley (Ensemble Studio Theatre – AUDELCO nomination for Best Director 2008), and Anne and Emmett by Janet Langhart-Cohen (Atlas Theatre). He has served as co-writer/ dramaturge for ten productions in Ping Chong’s ongoing series of Undesirable Elements, and dramaturge for five collaborations with the Bebe Miller Company, Going to the Wall, the Bessie Award winning Verge, Landing/Place for which he received a 2006 Bessie Award, Necessary Beauty and the currently touring A History. Recent dramaturgical collaborations also include work with Camille Brown and Dancers (Mr. TOL E. RaNcE), Carmen DeLavallade (My Life in Dance and Theatre and Legends I Met Along the Way) and Ping Chong (The Civil War Project). He is currently writing a book on black theatre, Testament: 40 Years of Black Theatre History in the Making, 1964-2004, and recently curated The Aunt Ester Cycle, a theatre festival at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Pittsburgh, PA.
Robert is a New York based Lighting Designer. Credits include Khmer Arts Ensemble’s Bend in the River (MN; The Joyce, NY); Royal Ballet of Cambodia’s The Legend of Apsara Mera (BAM, NY); Compagnie de Danse Jean-Rene Delsoin on their Center StageSM U.S. tour; Khmeropedies I & II (CT; NY; Amsterdam; Spoleto USA); Mary’s Wedding and Tazewell Thompson’s A Christmas Carol (Westport Country Playhouse, CT); Christmas Carol (Associate Designer) (Hartford Stage, CT); Proof, Doubt, Rent, The Laramie Project, I Am My Own Wife, among others (Theatre Three, NY); select Cole Haan, Barneys NY and Tiffany & Co. flagship store display windows; Associate Designer for the Permanent Exhibition at the Museum of Chinese in America (NY); Van Cleef & Arpels 2010 Christmas windows (NY). Production Supervisor for Center StageSM; Production Manager for Season of Cambodia Festival. Worked on the international premiere of the new opera Where Elephants Weep presented in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Production Manager for 651 ARTS. Robert received his MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Department of Design.
Right now Amatus is working on releasing a debut album and scoring her first feature film for Al-Jazeera America called Daisy and Max, directed by Jennifer Taylor. This summer she sat on the board at New York City’s City Center helping to curate a series of musical pre-performances directed by women. Earlier this year she composed the score and sound-design for a production of Macbeth at the Georgia Shakespeare Festival. Under the direction of Raelle Myrick-Hodges, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reviewed it as “Washed in color and spectacle and set to a soundscape of jolting electronica by composer/sound designer Amatus-sami Karim, this Macbeth derives its power from a wild, trail-blazing theatricality that has little to do with skin color or politics.” You can see Amatus’s updates and current work on her website amatusmusic.com.
Kate Freer, IMA, is a multimedia designer and video artist for theater, film, and installation. Off-Broadway and Downtown: Around the World in 80 Days (The New Theater at 45th Street); PS Jones and the Frozen City (The New Ohio); Cry for Peace: Voices from the Congo (La Mama, Undesirable Element Festival); Bullet for Adolph (New World Stages); Chimera (HERE, Under the Radar 2012); Václav Havel’s Hunt For the Pig (3LD, Ice Factory Festival 2011). Regional: Fahrenheit 451 (Aquila Theatre); Stuck Elevator (American Conservatory Theater); The Mountaintop (CenterStage); The Clean House (Syracuse Stage); Holiday Review (Oregon Ballet Theater). Her installation work has been exhibited at the National Building Museum, The Hammond Museum, 3LD, Front Room Gallery, and the World Wide Words Festival (Denmark). She has taught workshops at Harvard University, Syracuse University, Wesleyan, and New York University. Kate is a founding member of Imaginary Media Artists (www.imartists.com).
Who was Sekou Sundiata (1948-2007)? Citizen Artist. People’s Poet. American Griot. Creator. Collaborator. Educator. Activist. New Yorker. Harlem native. Maker and performer of music, theatre, poetry, spoken word. Builder of community. Fighter for social justice. Mentor to artists, students, organizers. Beloved soul who left this earth before his work was done.
Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited celebrates Sekou Sundiata’s broad vision for bold, rigorous, multidisciplinary artistic expression that emerges from a love for one’s community, a passion for real democracy and social justice, and a vision for a better world. In venues across New York City from April to October 2013, we invite you to celebrate Sundiata’s legacy through live performances by the artists he inspired—in the places and communities that inspired him.
The retrospective is produced and curated by MAPP International Productions.
Jessica Lynne and DéLana R.A. Dameron reflect on ways they make a home, creatively, wherever they are.