Aug. 21 Screening of "Idlewild" — with Choreography by Hinton Battle — Benefits Battle's Theatre Lab

By Andrew Gans
21 Aug 2006

Antwan Andre Patton and Andre Benjamin, better known as Outkast, star in "Idlewild".
Antwan Andre Patton and Andre Benjamin, better known as Outkast, star in "Idlewild".
Photo by Universal Studios

The New York premiere of Universal Pictures' "Idlewild," which features the music of Outkast and the choreography of three-time Tony Award winner Hinton Battle, benefits the Hinton Battle Theatre Laboratory.

The Aug. 21 benefit screening of the film will be held at the famed Ziegfeld Theatre and will be followed by dinner at The Supper Club.

"Idlewild" was directed by Bryan Barber and co-stars André Benjamin and Antwan A. Patton. For the film, which employed over 100 dancers, Battle created a new hybrid of dance styles, which he has dubbed "swop" — a combination of swing and hip-hop.

"Idlewild," according to press notes, "explores the lives of Percival (Benjamin), the club’s shy piano player, and Rooster (Patton), the club’s showy lead performer and manager. [The film] synthesizes drama, music, cinema and style to bring the tale of struggling singers to life." The cast also includes Ving Rhames, Terrence Howard, Paula Patton, Faizon Love, Malinda Williams, recording artist Patti LaBelle, singer Macy Gray, Tony Award winner Ben Vereen and Emmy winner Cicely Tyson.

The Hinton Battle Theatre Laboratory is a non-profit theatre company that helps "discover, develop and present compelling, original theatrical works that reflect America's rich multi-cultural heritage." HBTL brings the arts to schools throughout the country.



In a statement, Battle said, "I am so pleased that Universal is taking advantage of this opportunity to utilize 'Idlewild' to spotlight the important work being done at HBTL. It is my hope that this benefit will allow even more deserving children the opportunity to showcase their talent and experience the theater and arts."

Hinton Battle won his three Tony Awards for his performances in Miss Saigon, Sophisticated Ladies and The Tap Dance Kid. His other Broadway credits include The Wiz, Dreamgirls Bob Fosse's Dancin' and Chicago. He has served as choreographer for television's "Fired Up," "Sister, Sister," "Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story" and as associate choreographer to Debbie Allen on the 65th and 66th Academy Awards. Battle will also be seen in the forthcoming "Dreamgirls" film.

Tickets for the screening only are priced $150, while tickets for the party only are priced $250. Ticket packages range from $350-$10,000. To purchase tickets call (800) 517-0199.