Now in its third year of presenting New York with a different flavor of theatre, The New York City Hip-Hop Theater Festival opens June 18 at P.S. 122 with a performance by some of the event's earlier stars. The festival which spans 10 days — through June 29 — will also boasts 20 plays and over 30 performances at P.S. 122 and the Nuyorican Poets Café.
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. Last year, (former participants) Hip-Hop Theatre Junction joined Hoch's Caseroc Productions to produce the event and follow suit this year.
The festival will present works by returning artists Rickerby Hinds, Will Powers and Hip-Hop Theatre Junction as well as new artists. The schedule is as follows:
- June 18 - 9PM - P.S. 122 (2nd Floor); Hip-Hop Theater All Stars: An extravaganza with performance artists Danny Hoch, Sarah Jones, Will Power, and Jonzi D.
- June 19 & 20 - 7:30PM - P.S. 122 (1st Floor); Thieves in the Temple: The Reclaiming of Hip-Hop by Aya de Leon and Lyrikal Fearta starring Jonzi D: Black/Puerto Rican poet de Leon offers her take on several characters in this declaration of women's place in Hip-Hop while Jonzi D returns with his no-holds barred tale of the urban battlefield.
- June 19 & 20 - 9PM - P.S. 122 (2nd Floor); Keep Hedz Ringin' by Rickerby Hinds: A Hip-Hop opera freely adapted from Richard Wagner's Ring of The Niebelungen.
- June 20 & 21 - 7PM - Nuyorican Poets Café; Suheir Hammad's Blood Trinity: A mother and her two daughters narrate their lives with interwoven folktales in 1989 Brooklyn.
- June 21 & 22 - 7:30PM - P.S. 122 (1st Floor); Nightmares of Jujube starring Psalmayene 24: With stylized B-Boy movement, this solo show tells of a writer involved in the death of a police officer.
- June 21 & 22 - 9PM - P.S. 122 (2nd Floor); "Shorts: An Evening of Emerging Playwrights": A showcase of works by Claudia Alick, Felice Belle, Tish Benson, Caridad De La Luz, Al Letson, Liza Jesse Peterson and Ben Snyder.
- June 22 - 7 PM - Nuyorican Poets Café; k'A created and performed by k'A RAMUU KUSH: An ancient Kemetik drama in honor of King Akhenaten of the 18th Dynasty.
- June 24 - 5PM - NYU Tisch School of the Arts' Frederick Loewe Theatre; "From Whence We Came: Hip-Hop Theatre's Aesthetics and Origins": A panel discussion of artists, producers and scholars on the relationship between the Hip-Hop movement, culture and industry versus Hip-Hop Theatre. Panelists feature Jason King, Monique Martin and Rha Goddess.
- June 25 - 6PM - P.S. 122 (1st Floor); Play Back NYC: "A Night Of Hip-Hop Theater And Improvisation": Actors and musicians of Playback Theater (NYC) use music, dance, freestyle Hip-Hop and improvisational theater to transform audience stories.
- June 25 - 7:30PM - P.S. 122 (2nd Floor); Art Start's Are You Feelin' Me? [Teen Scene]: Combining hip-hop, rap, spoken word, and theater, this teenaged Hip Hop class tell six stories through their eyes.
- June 26&27 - 7:30PM - P.S. 122 (1st Floor);Manchild Dilemma written and performed by Indio Melendez and Kenya written and performed by Radha Blank: Manchild is a solo performance about an Army soldier who finds that he is needed to serve while at a hospital with his pregnant wife. Kenya is about a teenage girl whose basketball talents overshadow her life.
- June 26 - 9PM - P.S. 122 (2nd Floor); Rennie Harris' Puremovement: "The Repertoire": Philadelphia dance company makes their Hip-Hop TheaterFest debut with some of their classic standards including Students of the Asphalt Jungle, P. Funk, Philly Style and Endangered Species.
- June 27 - 7PM - Nuyorican Poets Café; Derek Beres' Burning Trees directed by Peter Shaughnessy and starring Damion Gonzales, Davin McLeod and Jaime Velez: A humorous and painful tale of the commodification of hip-hop through the minds and words of three young rappers.
- June 27 - 9PM - P.S. 122 (2nd Floor); Montage: An Evening of Hip-Hop Dance Theater: Emerging choreographers show off their stuff including Body Poets "What We All Are", Akim Funk Buddha performs excerpts from "Dha Fuzion", Raphael Xavier of the Puremovement Dance Company performs excerpts from his own work entitled "Olive" (pronounced O-Live) and Rokafella & Kwikstep will perform "Intersections."
- June 28 - 7 PM - Nuyorican Poets Café; TigerLily's Rough Draft of My Life: A one-act about the many sides of a young woman's life.
- June 28 & 29 - 7:30PM - P.S. 122 (1st Floor); Hip Hop Theatre Junction's Hieroglyphic Graffiti: A retelling of the Egyptian's Osirian Resurrection epic.
- June 28 & 29 - 9PM - P.S. 122 (2nd Floor); Will Power's The Seven [Teen Scene on 6/28]: A hip-hop adaptation of Aeschylus' brother vs. brother story Seven Against Thebes in a gang-war interpretation.
- June 29 - 7PM - Nuyorican Poets Café; Florante P. Galvez' Ride the Rhythm: A musical anthology of three stories set in a notorious New York City nightclub.
Tickets to events are available through each venue's box office. For P.S. 122, at 150 First Avenue (at East Ninth Street) call (212) 477-5288. For the Nuyorican Poets Café, at 236 East Third Street (between Avenues B & C), call (212) 505-8183. For further information call (718) 782-2621 or visit www.hiphoptheaterfest.com. — by Ernio Hernandez