Harlem Stage has announced its 2022-23 season, which will include a reading of excerpts from Adrienne Kennedy's Funnyhouse of a Negro March 24-25, 2023. Kennedy will also be represented on Broadway this season with the previously announced Ohio State Murders, starring six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald.
The Kennedy reading is one of seven events in a series conceived by Associate Artistic Director and Curator-in-Residence Carl Hancock Rux that will explore the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and '70s. The Black Arts Movement: Examined series will explore film, poetry, music, theatre, and dance with a focus on the questions “What is the relationship between art and politics, and what is the role of the politically conscious artist?”
The programming was developed collaboratively with Artistic Director Patrica Cruz, Managing Director Eric Oberstein, and Programming Manager Yunie Mojica.
Cruz, who was a part of a Black Artist Group in St. Louis, shared in a statement, “Carl and I spent many hours discussing the parallels between those times 50 years ago to the police killings of Black men, women, and children and the continued oppression that inspires the Black Lives Matter movement of today. The ultimate parallel is the creative response of contemporary artists, looking back and creating forward. As an organization that sits proudly at the intersection of art and social justice, this examination of an arts movement born out of resistance exemplifies the mission of Harlem Stage.”
“This series pays tribute to the groundbreaking writers, poets, visual artists, musicians, and intellectuals who attempted to situate their work within the political, economic, social, historical, and artistic context of Black Americans," added Rux. "Employing roundtables, public dialogues, and screenings, Harlem Stage also intends to explore controversial areas of tension between the intellectual, ethical, and commercial imperatives of the Black Arts Movement, its scholarship, and the professional demands many of its leaders imposed upon artists, and whether or not the Black Arts Movement’s libertarian, racism-countering goals were ever truly achieved.”
Additional events in the series will include a performance from The Francesca Harper Collective October 14-15; a screening of Amiri Baraka's film Dutchman November 11; an evening of poetry and music with Thulani Davis, Wadada Leo Smith, and Kikuyu Ensemble January 27-28, 2023; a performance by tap dancer Michela Marino Lerman's Love Movement February 24-25, 2023; presentations from Harlem Stage's signature dance series E-Moves; and a three-day conference Black Arts Movement: Then and Now with A.B. Spellman serving as keynote speaker and a closing-night concert co-presented with Park Avenue Armory conceived by Rux and curated by Vernon Reid, May 18-20, 2023.
The season will also feature the monthly music series Uptown Nights; Beth Morrison Projects: Song Cycles; selected readings of Ntozake Shangé's A Photograph: Lovers in Motion, featuring Shangé's sister and editor of the play Ifa Bayeza in conversation with Rux; and the WaterWorks showcase of works-in-progress from Tariq Al-Sabir, Jennifer Cendaña Armas, Shenny De Los Angeles, Vinson Fraley, and Edisa Weeks.
For more information, visit HarlemStage.org.