Original Broadway stars Beau Sia, Black Ice, Mayda Del Valle, Georgia Me, Suheir Hammad, Staceyann Chin and Poetri are joined by newcomer Flaco Navaja on the tour. The diverse modern-day troubadours will each appear in a different episode of "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry" on the cable network to air later this year. Following a stint at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival earlier this year, Def Poetry Jam launched a 32-city national tour in Philadelphia. The show will hit Minneapolis' Orpheum Theatre (Feb. 6-7); Dallas' Majestic Theatre (Feb. 10-15); Austin, Texas' Paramount Theatre (Feb. 16) and Seattle's Moore Theatre (Feb. 21) this month — before heading off to London's West End, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt.
Russell Simmon's Def Poetry Jam opened on Broadway Nov. 14, 2002, following a run at San Francisco's Theatre on the Square. The unique theatrical production brought the slam-style poetry — made famous on HBO specials — to Broadway. The production closed at the Longacre Theatre May 4, but garnered the Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event.
Def Poetry Jam is conceived and presented by Russell Simmons and Stan Lathan — who also directs. Lathan broke the news of the tour to Playbill On-Line (May 15) and also spoke of the book of poems performed in the stageshow, published by Pocket Books, which is now available.