Harlem on Their Minds: New Musical, From My Hometown, Makes NYC Bow June 10

By Kenneth Jones
10 Jun 2003

From My Hometown, a musical with a score of new tunes and hit R&B favorites that has had a hit regional run, gets its New York premiere Off-Broadway starting June 10 in a staging by Amas Musical Theatre in association with Ben Blake and Lee Summers.



The new musical with book by Lee Summers, Ty Stephens and Herbert Rawlings, Jr. features over 30 R&B classics as well as six original songs by Summers, Ty Stephens and Will Barrow.

Summers conceived the three-actor work, which opens June 19 and continues at the Kirk Theater, in the Theatre Row complex on West 42nd Street, to July 12. Kevin Ramsey directs, Leslie Dockery is the co-choreographer with Ramsey, and Jo Lynn Burks handles vocal arrangements and musical direction.

The show is billed this way: "Three strangers arrive in New York City from Detroit, Memphis and Philly with one goal in mind: to sing at the world famous Apollo Theatre. Bonded initially by their wide eyes and empty pockets, they develop a 10-year brotherhood that spans the lows of their initial meeting outside the Apollo Theatre to the highs of their shared debut on Harlem's brightest stage."

The dreamers are played by Kevin R. Free (Memphis), André Garner (Detroit) and Rodney Hicks (Philly).

Their journey of the characters is sweetened with such hot songs as "Dock of the Bay," "Land of a Thousand Dances," "Chain Gang," "Working in a Coal Mine," and "Have You Seen Her?," "I Feel Good," "Try A Little Tenderness" and "Tobacco Road."

Designers are Matthew Myhrums (set and projection), Deborah A. Cheretun (costume), Aaron Spivey (lighting) and Ryan Powers (sound). Robert H. Fowler is assistant choreographer.

From My Hometown had its world premiere at Milwaukee Repertory Theater in 1998.

From My Hometown plays 8 PM Tuesdays-Saturdays, 3 PM Saturdays and Sundays, at the Kirk Theater, 410 W. 42nd Street, part of Off-Broadway's Theater Row. Tickets are $30 ($20 for previews; $25 for students, seniors and groups). For information, call (212) 279-4200.

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Amas Musical Theatre (co-producer) is a non-profit, multi-racial theatrical organization founded in 1969 by the late Rosetta LeNoire, a renowned actress, singer and humanitarian (known to millions as "Mother Winslow" of TV's "Family Matters"). Amas ("you love" in Latin) "is dedicated to the creation, development and professional production of original musicals and to the training and encouragement of new musical theatre talent." Recent Amas productions include Zanna, Don’t!, Latin Heat, Little Ham, 4 Guys Named José and Una Mujer Named María and Rollin' on the T.O.B.A.