Last year, first-time producer Danny Hoch (Jails, Hospitals, & Hip Hop) launched the first New York City Hip-Hop Theatre Festival with artists from all over NYC and the country. The two-week festival boasted headliner Sarah Jones with her much-acclaimed Surface Transit. This year, Hoch returned with more artists and more help on June 14 for the 2nd NYC Hip-Hop Theater Festival at Performance Space 122. The event will conclude June 30.
Hoch, Caseroc Productions and (last year's participants) Hip-Hop Theatre Junction present 15 acts that include plays, stories and solo performances at both the upstairs and downstairs venues at P.S. 122. This year also features a "Teen Outreach" collaboration with the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
Artists that have signed on for this year's festivities include Jonzi D, Ben Snyde, The Rubí Theater Company, Candido Tirado, Benji Reid, Nilaja Sun, Aharon, Full Circle, Eisa Davis, Liza Jessie Peterson and Imani Uzuri, The Tortuga Project, Toni Blackman, Rickerby Hind. Producer Hoch will also perform his Jails and Hip Hop Theatre Junction will stage their Rhyme Deferred.
A run-down of all of this year's participants follows:
•Triple Threat: Three Emerging Solo Performances features Benji Reid’s The Holiday - UK artist's poetry and rhythm mix, Nilaja Sun’s Black And Blue - the chronicle of a youngsters first encounter with the stage as Smurfette, and Aharon’s Red Clay & Carved Concrete a group of monologues that combine lyrical storytelling and Southern folklore. •The Rubí Theater Company's Imagine the Angel of Bread - a hip-hop concert version of Martin Espada’s book of poems.
•Candido Tirado’s Mamma’s Boyz - a Latino comedy about three drop-out friends who live in the projects, but still dream of more.
•Full Circle - an artist collective of 10 dancers, a DJ, an MC, a drummer, a beatboxer and a graffiti artist.
•Jonzi D’s Lyrikal Fearta - a multimedia production that explores topics like police brutality, gun culture and cultural displacement with an "in your face" irony.
•Ben Snyder's In Case You Forget - a group of NYC graff writers try to find themselves amidst a greedy, lying world.
•Eisa Davis’ Umkovu - an obsessive receptionist, an A&R activist and a lesbian writer fall in love with the a voluntary mute MC in this love-rant about the casualties of success.
•Liza Jessie Peterson and Imani Uzuri in The Revival - the word of God like it has never been told before; the gospel according to hip-hop.
•Hip-Hop Theatre Junction’s Rhyme Deferred - a story of two brothers and their fight between 'keepin' it real' and selling out; a modern-day Cain and Abel.
•The Tortuga Project’s The Roots of Hip-Hop Culture - Hip-hop as viewed through performances of Flamenco, Jazz, Ehectl (an Aztec dance group), b-boys, DJ turntablists, Capoeira and Kung Fu.
•Rickerby Hind’s Keep Hedz Ringin’ - a hip-hopera based on Richard Wagner’s "Ring of The Nibelungen."
•Toni Blackman’s Freestyle Union - rhymes and free verse form the story of a talented young man following his dreams that become a nightmare.
To submit your production for consideration for next year's festival, please send them via regular mail to: Clyde Valentin, Attn: Caseroc Productions, 302 Bedford Ave # 352, Brooklyn, NY 11211.
For tickets to the 2nd NYC Hip-Hop Theatre Festival, call the P.S. 122 Box Office at (212) 477-5288. For show times and more information visit the new website, armed with the new coffeecup-cum-aerosol can logo at www.hiphoptheaterfest.com.
— by Ernio Hernandez