Lillias White, Chuck Cooper and Adriane Lenox Star in Benefit Reading of The Amen Corner June 18
By Andrew Gans
Project1Voice, a New York-based nonprofit service organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the legacies of African American theatres and playwrights, presents a benefit staged reading of James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner June 18 at 7 PM in the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College.
Part of P1V's 2nd Annual 1 Voice, 1 Play, 1 Day, which also commemorates the 25th anniversary of the playwright’s passing, the evening is hosted by 2012 Tony nominee Norm Lewis.
Walter Dallas directs a cast that includes Tony winners Chuck Cooper, Lillias White and Adriane Lenox as well as Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Hope Clark, Harriett D. Foy, Elain Graham, Ron Cephas Jones, Christopher Lane, Camilla Nichols, Patrick L. Riley, Jeffery V. Thompson, Flo Wiley and Cheryl Wills. The singing actors who will raise their voices in song under the supervision of Cary Gant are LaRita Gaskins, Kimberly JaJuan, Leonard Joseph, Monroe Kent III, Nillleili DaMone, Danette Sheppard-Vaughn and Virginia Ann Woodruff.
The National Alliance of Black Interpreters (NAOBI), New York City Chapter, provides American Sign Language interpretation for the evening.
Set in 1950s Harlem, The Amen Corner, press notes state, is the "story of Pastor Margaret Alexander (Lillias White), a woman who insists on living a purely religious life. Her hypocrisy is exposed and her relationships with her son David (Christopher Lane) and her congregation are threatened with the arrival of her long-estranged husband Luke (Ron Cephas Jones)."
Proceeds from the event benefit the following New York theatres: American Performing Arts Collaborative, The Billie Holiday Theatre, Black Spectrum Theatre, Crossroads Theatre, National Black Theatre, Negro Ensemble Company, New Federal Theatre, New Heritage Theatre Group, New Professional Theatre and Richard Allen Center for Culture and Art.
"1Voice 1Play 1Day is a national day of celebration that not only honors the late great playwright, James Baldwin's seminal work. It also seeks to highlight the African-American theatre companies that are struggling for their very existence," Project1Voice founder Erich McMillan-McCall said in a previous statement. "It is imperative that our community sparks renewed interest in the art, the artists and the organizations which nurture them. Project1Voice is proud to take on the challenge of trumpeting our artistic resources so that they can sustain themselves now and into the future."
Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College is located at 524 West 59th Street (between 10th & 11th Avenues). For tickets, priced $15-$50, visit project1voice.org or call (631) 464-7421.
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