New Ohio Theatre and IRT Theater welcome its newest class of Archive Residency Artists, who will develop works over a two-year period at the West Village theatre.
The new residents are Kareem M. Lucas, who will work on Black Is Beautiful, But It Ain't Always Pretty, a solo show and poem about fulfilling one's purpose; and the team of Zhailon Levingston, Alex Hare, and Nehemiah Luckett, who will develop the new musical A Burning Church, about an American institution fighting to survive a crisis of faith.
Now in its seventh year, the Archive Residency offers an artistic home for resident artists, culminating in a world-premiere production.
In Black Is Beautiful, But It Ain't Always Pretty, created and performed by Lucas, the multi-disciplinary artist reanimates the memory of a never-ending N.Y.C. night—a wild roller-coaster ride through alcohol, drugs, sex, joy, loss, and self-discovery. The show weaves his past and present to interrogate the need for significance in life and after death, and mythologizes the everyday experience of a common Black man in America.
A Burning Church features a book by Hare and Levingston (who also direct), music by Luckett, and lyrics by Levingston. The new musical traces the lives of church leaders and congregants in an Alabama church amid political movements, tragedies, and spiritual rebirth.
“[These artists] are exploring the American black experience from two radically different points of view in very different theatrical forms," says New Ohio Artistic Director Robert Lyons. "We are looking forward to supporting the development of these singular visions.”