The 3:30 PM concert features Sherry Boone, who was seen in the City Center Encores! production of Lost in the Stars and Broadway’s Marie Christine; Harriett D. Foy, who appeared in the Broadway productions of Mamma Mia! and Once On This Island; and Brandie Sutton, a 2011 Metropolitan Opera National District winner. Darius Frowner is the musical director.
In The African American Spiritual, according to the organizers, the "singers will take the audience through a four-part program: The Middle Passage and Slavery ('Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen,' 'Standing in the Need of Prayer'), Escape and The Underground Railroad ('Steal Away,' 'Great Day'), Northern Freedom ('Witness,' 'Hush! Somebody's Calling My Name') and the ultimate transcendence, Heaven ('In Bright Mansions Above,' 'Swing Low,' 'Little David')."
The concert also includes a performance of a present-day spiritual composition from the opera Ellen Craft, which features lyrics by Boone and music by Sean Jeremy Palmer. Ellen Craft is a love story based on actual events in 1848. The opera centers around Ellen Craft, the offspring of an African slave and a white plantation owner, who escapes from slavery disguised as a white man traveling with "his slave," her dark-skinned husband William. Composer Palmer will be in attendance.
In addition to the Spirituals concert, B. Arts Presenter's 2012 Merkin Hall concert series will include soprano Willsonia Boyer in A Women's History Month Concert Celebration, which features women composers from the 16th century to the present (March 25 at 6:30 PM), and a recital by soprano Marilyn Moore (Aug. 25 at 6:30 PM).
The Kaufman Center is located at 129 West 67th Street at Broadway. For more information and tickets, call (212) 501-3330 or visit www.kaufman-center.org or www.BArtsPresenter.com.