Friday, April 18, 2014

Keith David Inhabits The Role Of 'Paul Robeson'


KEITH DAVID

By Darlene Donloe

It hasn’t gone unnoticed that two major theater houses in Los Angeles are producing one-actor shows about Paul Robeson at the same time.

The Tallest Tree in the Forest, written and performed by Daniel Beaty, opens at the Mark Taper Forum this weekend and runs through May 25.

The Ebony Repertory Theatre’s production of Phillip Hayes Dean’s Paul Robeson, starring two-time Emmy Award-winner Keith David, opened its run March 12 and was originally supposed to close March 30, but has extended the performances through Apr. 27.  The new dates are April 18-20 and April 25-27.

Some might question why two different Los Angeles stages would choose to have two different shows about Robeson in production at the same time.  Why not?

Not only is April the month of his birth, Robeson is surely worthy of the dual honor.  One of the most accomplished and well respected men of his or any other time, Robeson was on the front lines as a political activist for civil rights long before it was fashionable. Threatened and berated, he stood his ground. Not only was he an advocate, he was an impressive actor, singer, lawyer and an All-American football player. 

His brilliant, sometimes turbulent, but meaningful life is the subject and focus of Dean’s Paul Robeson.

(Dean, who made his Los Angeles directorial debut with the show, regrettably, passed away April 14, in Los Angeles at the age of 83). 

There is no getting around it – Keith David, in the title role, – quite possibly gives one of the best performances of his career. Even hampered with a knee injury that postponed the show’s opening, ever the trooper, David doesn’t miss a beat as he commands the stage with a grace and elegance that only a veteran performer of his stature can pull off.  His booming voice is reminiscent of Robeson’s, his delivery, whether dramatic or comedic, is engaging. The result is a fulfilling and entertaining night of theater.

Armed with the poignant, emotional, and sometimes hilarious dialogue provided by Dean, David conducts a master class performance as he tells the story of a man who came to symbolize the strength and determination of the Negro.

A charming storyteller, David inhabits Paul Robeson with a zeal and verve that is palpable. Holding the packed Ebony Repertory Theater audience in the palm of his hands, David, who is accompanied on piano splendidly by pianist/musical director Byron J. Smith, is like a breath of fresh air as he takes the viewers on a biographical journey.  His rendition of Ol’ Man River is a show-stopper and worth the price of admission.

Presented in chronological order, Dean delves into Robeson’s personal, professional and political life. We watch as Robeson talks about why he stayed with his sister in Philadelphia, the conflict between his brother and his preacher father, becoming a star athlete, attending law school, how he tried to impress the ladies, how he tried desperately tried to avoid marriage, confronting bigotry, escaping violence and assassinations and more.  And still he stood!



Usually there are pros and cons to a one-person show. Not so with this production. While it might be interesting to see David play off of other characters on stage, there is something more intriguing and theatrically challenging watching David unpeel various characters right before our eyes. 

Dean’s words are the co-star of this production. It’s a  presentation that takes the audience step-by-step from his childhood through to the man he would become. When doing a biographical piece there is no way a playwright can present everything about a person’s life. Everyone may not agree with what Dean has written, although it’s obvious by its insertion that he, himself, deemed it pertinent and pivotal, which is his prerogative as the playwright. What he’s deftly written encapsulates the breadth and depth that was Robeson. When he was writing the show, Dean, who met Robeson on a train when he, himself, was 13-years-old, said he wanted to honor him because he was inspirational and considered him his first real hero. 

Dean, a Chicago native who also grew up in Pontiac, Mich., takes the audience from Robeson’s childhood in New Jersey to his adult life around the world. The Drama Desk-winner for The Sty of the Blind Pig, Dean, 83, writes how Robeson faced racism in the early part of the 20th century and how his determination and triumph in rising above it all, made him a modern day hero.

Dean’s Paul Robeson originally opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1978, later transferring to the Booth Theatre, starring James Earl Jones and directed by Lloyd Richards with original staging by Charles Nelson Reilly. The one-man play had two revivals on Broadway – 1988 at the John Golden Theatre and in 1995 at the Longacre Theatre.  Both productions starred Avery Brooks and were directed by Harold Scott.

Dean’s Paul Robeson is befitting and worthy. The staging is simplistic, but the play’s content is powerful. Dean’s direction is non-intrusive and Dan Weingarten’s lighting illuminates. Costume Designer Wendell C. Carmichael’s placement of David in a tux, brings the appropriate sophistication to Robeson.



Robeson’s relevance has never waned. His accomplishments, which can’t be denied, are now part of the public record. His legacy is well-built. It’s always majestic to give honor where honor is due. 

If the audience's 'OMG' reaction while leaving the show is any indication, Ebony Repertory Theatre may have to extend the run yet again. 

Kudos to everyone involved in this robust, admirable and gratifying production.

Don't miss Paul Robeson! If  you don’t see the last show on the 27th, you’ll be mad on the 28th.
 
Rest in Peace Phillip Hayes Dean!

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no!), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (OK) and E (excellent), Paul Robeson gets an E (excellent).

Paul Robeson, Ebony Repertory Theatre, Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, through Apr. 27, 2014; Fri., Apr. 18 at 8 p.m.; Sat., Apr. 19 at 8 p.m.; Sun., Apr. 20 at 7 p.m.; Fri., Apr. 25 at 8 p.m.; Sat., Apr. 26 at 8 p.m. and Sun., Apr. 27 at 3 p.m. (final performance). Tickets range from $30 - $60. Single tickets are available online at ebonyrep.org or by phone at 323-964-9766. Groups of 10 or more are available via email at groups@ebonyrep.org or 323-964-9766.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Skirball Cultural Center Announces Line-Up

 
SUNSET CONCERTS
Thursday evenings, July 24–August 28, at 8:00 p.m.

2014 season features sounds of the Americas⎯from folk to zydeco, Cuban “son” to Tejano⎯plus Moorish fused with funk and a klezmer/milonga mash-up

LOS ANGELES, CA – (August 17, 2014) The Skirball Cultural Center announces the line-up for its eighteenth annual free Sunset Concerts. Circumnavigating the globe from the Americas to Africa, the 2014 season features a dynamic mix of traditions and styles. The schedule is as follows: the California debut of Noura Mint Seymali (July 24); the California debut of Conjunto Chappotín y Sus Estrellas (July 31); The Haden Triplets (August 7); Flaco Jiménez and Max Baca & Los Texmaniacs (August 14); Yiddish Tango Club (August 21); and Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys (August 28).

While staying true to the series’ world music roots, the 2014 season reflects the Skirball’s deepening interest in the national scene and Americana. Jordan Peimer, Vice President of Programs, remarks, “Taking their critically hailed debut album on the road, The Haden Triplets will enthrall our audiences with their unique take on American folk. Meanwhile, Jeffery Broussard and his Creole Cowboys are sure to have everyone dancing to their lively zydeco.”

“We are also happy to present the California debut of Conjunto Chapottín y Sus Estrellas, a band that has been a dynamo of Cuban ‘son’ since the 1940s,” adds Peimer. “And, of course, we look forward to Tejano star Flaco Jiménez, who returns to the Skirball stage on his landmark 75th birthday tour.”

Committed to music that defies categorization, the 2014 Sunset Concerts also includes world artists who are updating their culture’s age-old traditions with modern American influences. Peimer notes, “Mauritanian griot Noura Mint Seymali’s meditative songs blend African and Arabic styles with Western rhythms, perfectly illustrating the West African tradition from which American blues arose. And, rounding out this year’s line-up is the Yiddish Tango Club, who epitomize an only-in-the-Americas mix of klezmer and milonga.”

The six Thursday night concerts are presented free of charge in the Skirball’s picturesque central courtyard, where music fans of all ages sing along, dance in the aisles, and gather at the foot of the stage to celebrate with the performers. A popular choice for a group outing, family-friendly fun, or a romantic date night, Sunset Concerts invites Angelenos and out-of-towners alike to arrive early to dine al fresco, visit the Museum galleries, and explore the Skirball’s distinctive modern architecture and hillside setting.

About the Artists:

Thursday, July 24: Noura Mint Seymali (California debut)

Noura Mint Seymali, one of Mauritania’s foremost musical emissaries, began her musical career at the age of thirteen as a supporting vocalist for her legendary stepmother, Dimi Mint Abba. Her homeland boasts a unique cultural and geographic identity, as a desert nation located physically and socially between North and Sub-Saharan Africa. Seymali’s music is a vital and vibrant bridge from the Medinas of Fez and Algiers to the dance clubs of Bamako and Dakar, and she has emerged as an important voice of Africa. With an already formidable resume of international debutsat events like Festivalau-Desert (Mali), Festival Pirineos (Spain), and Festival Timitar (Morocco), and collaborations with artists such as Tinariwen, Bassekou Kouyaté, and Baaba MaalSeymali is steadily gaining wider recognition and is poised to bring Mauritanian music to the world.

Composing for an ensemble with traditional instruments at its coreardine (harp), tidinit (lute), and t’beul (bowl drum)and backed by Western bass and drums, Seymali employs the instruments and modal structures essential to Moorish tradition while adopting the format of a pop song. As the Chicago Reader noted, Seymali creates “a mesmerizing tension between ancient and futuristic.”

Thursday, July 31: Conjunto Chappotín y Sus Estrellas (California debut, U.S. premiere tour)

With roots dating back to the 1940s, Conjunto Chappottín is one of the top Cuban “son” groups on the scene today. Its founder, Arsenio Rodriguez, is one of Cuba's most renowned bandleaders, and, as the first to add reed and brass instruments to a Latin band, he is widely regarded a major influence on Latin, jazz, and salsa music.

When Rodriguez left Cuba in 1950 to go to New York, he handed the baton to his first trumpet player, Felix Chappottín. For the remainder of the decade, Chappottín and his group, featuring vocalist Gerardo Martinez, released hit after hit and appeared regularly on Cuban television. Despite the band’s political struggles with the Cuban government and dictator Gerardo Machado, Chappottín continued to inspire Afro-Cuban music with his sweet-toned trumpet playing. He successfully led Conjunto Chappottín until his death in 1983, after which his son, Angel Chappottín Valdes, carried on as musical director. Since the 1990s, Jesus Angel Chappottín Coto, the grandson of Felix Chappottín, has directed the band together with singer/percussionist Miguelito Cuni, Jr. Their performance at the Skirball marks Conjunto Chappottín’s highly anticipated California premiere, on their debut US tour.

Thursday, August 7: The Haden Triplets

The Haden Triplets (Tanya, Rachel, and Petra) – daughters of legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden – sing with vocal interplay that only a lifetime together as sisters could achieve. Their debut album, produced beautifully by American legend Ry Cooder, expands on Americana’s musical traditions in a very personal way.

In the Hadens’ own words: ”During our early life, we were surrounded by music on both sides of our family. We visited our dad’s family in Springfield, Missouri, where they taught us old country songs they used to perform on the radio as The Haden Family. Our grandparents on our mother’s side used to sing us to sleep with old Yiddish songs. Growing up, we often had music playing in the house, whether it be our mom playing Billie Holiday and Nina Simone records, or our dad playing Keith Jarrett and Ornette Coleman in the living room. We met Ry when we played with his son Joachim, and Joachim asked him if he’d sit in for our show. Once Ry heard we were singing “Voice From On High” by Bill Monroe, he was in right away. The next day we got a call from Ry suggesting we record an album. We wrote down a collection of songs we all liked, then narrowed it down to the music that became The Haden Triplets album. These songs are rich in history, and by recording them we hope to help keep them alive.”

The album was released in February 2014 to unanimous critical acclaim. The Los Angeles Times touted, “Cooder's production is fittingly raw, putting no phony gloss on songs brimming with heart-on-sleeve honesty. Petra Haden has created a cottage industry with multitracked recordings showcasing the versatility of her own voice, but in tandem with her sisters, the vocal lines bring to bear the power of family harmony that's long been an important foundation of traditional country music. The Haden Triplets carry on that tradition marvelously.”

Thursday, August 14: Flaco Jiménez and Max Baca & Los Texmaniacs

Five-time Grammy winner Leonardo "Flaco" Jiménez has led the way in bringing conjunto music from his community in San Antonio, Texas, to new audiences in the United States and worldwide. The Billboard Guide to Tejano and Mexican Music hails, “What B.B. King is to the blues, or George Jones is to traditional country, Grammy-winning accordionist Flaco Jiménez is to the world of Tex-Mex conjunto.”

Born in 1939, Jiménez is the son of conjunto pioneer Santiago Jiménez, Sr. By the age of seven, Jiménez was already performing with his father, even earning the nickname “Flaco,” or “Skinny” that had previously been attached to his father. Jiménez spent his youth mentored on the accordion by San Antonio musicians, including Toby Torres, Joey López, and Los Caminantes, and built his reputation by performing in San Antonio saloons and dance halls. In the 1960s, Jiménez began playing with Douglas Sahm, the founding member of the Sir Douglas Quintet. When Sahm finally recorded his first solo album for Atlantic Records in 1973, he invited Jiménez to join the sessions (which also included guest spots from Bob Dylan and Dr. John).

In the 1990s Jiménez and Sahm reunited to form the group Texas Tornados with Freddy Fender and Augie Meyers, recording six albums and winning a Grammy. He also recorded with the Mexican super-group Los Super Seven that included Fender, Joe Ely, Ruben Ramos, Rick Trevino, and Cesar Rosas and David Hildalgo of Los Lobos, netting another Grammy. In total, Jiménez has received five Grammy awards, including three awards for his solo work. In 1999, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Billboard Latin Magazine and has been inducted into the National Hispanic Hall of Fame and the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in New York City.

Throughout his nearly seven-decade career, Jiménez has introduced the traditional conjunto sound to mainstream pop and country listeners thanks to collaborations with Dwight Yoakam and the Mavericks. He is applauded by adventurous rock fans through his work with Carlos Santana, the Rolling Stones, and Ry Cooder, in particular after receiving international acclaim for his contributions to Cooder's landmark album Chicken Skin Music.

At the Skirball, Jiménez will join forces with the acclaimed Max Baca & Los Texmaniacs. Jiménez and Baca recently teamed up for the February 2014 release Jiménez and Baca: Legends and Legacies, which features the duo’s interpretations of the best of the conjunto repertoire. Each an inheritor of a musical legacy from his father and grandfather, Jiménez and Baca chose the repertoire they consider most important to their respective musical paths. Baca was seven when he met Jiménez at a concert; twenty years later, he became his bajo sexton player. Jiménez brought Baca into the Texas Tornados, whose combination of country, rock, and conjunto hasinspired Baca’s Los Texmaniacs. The band’s 2009 Smithsonian Folkways album, Borders y Bailes, won a Grammy, and its 2012 album, Texas Towns &Tex-Mex Sounds, received a Latin Grammy nomination.

Thursday, August 21:  Yiddish Tango Club

The Yiddish Tango Club is a talented group of musicians who combine traditional Jewish music with Latin flair and a youthful vibe. From the early “milongas” to the Yiddish theater, Yiddish tangos have been a voice of Argentina’s Jewish people and their culture for centuries. Part of the new wave of Jewish music, the Yiddish Tango Club explores a fluid and imaginative amalgamation of the two genresa contemporary Los Angeles sound fused with the traditional music of Eastern Europe (beginning with the earliest renditions of klezmer) and the fresh sensuality of tango argentino. Diva Divina Gloria and dancer Bruce Bierman will join clarinetist Gustavo Bulgach and the Yiddish Tango Club to create a unique and all-inclusive experience.

YIDDISH TANGO CLUB IS PRESENTED AS PART OF “VIVA!” AN ONGOING SKIRBALL INITIATIVE THAT EXPLORES THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN JEWISH AND LATIN AMERICAN CULTURES THROUGH LECTURES, CONVERSATIONS, AND PERFORMING, VISUAL, AND MEDIA ARTS.

Thursday, August 28: Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys

One of the most influential accordionists and vocalists in modern zydeco music, Jeffery Broussard has endured as an innovator. One of the genre’s most dynamic performers, he developed the nouveau zydeco sound in Zydeco Force, and has now returned to the more traditional zydeco sound with his own band, Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys.

Broussard’s music career started early in life, similar to many other famous zydeco musicians. At the age of eight he started playing drums in his father’s band, the renowned Delton Broussard & The Lawtell Playboys. After seventh grade, Broussard left school to work on the family farm full time. He spent long days digging and sorting potatoes, but, whenever he could, Broussard would sneak into the house and teach himself how to play his father’s accordion.

During his teen years, Broussard played drums in his oldest brother’s band, Clinton Broussard & The Zydeco Machines. His brother would let him play accordion on a few songs from time to time, but Jeffery was too shy to speak on stage, let alone sing. It wasn’t until Jeffery joined the band Zydeco Force that he overcame his shyness and began singing in public.

Broussard has a range that is seldom seen in zydeco, from traditional songs to originals, single-note and triple-note accordion to fiddle. Whether he is playing a festival stage in front of thousands of dancing fans, a small theater of seated patrons, giving a press interview, teaching a lesson or playing at a trail ride, Broussard’s warmth, talent, and love for music shine. His dedication to preserving and promoting the Creole culture and traditional Zydeco music is unwavering.

'The Showers' To Perform At N.O. Jazz Festival

TheShowerspressphoto

Hammond, LA (April 17, 2014) — Gospel’s rising family collective, The Showers, are set to perform at the 2014 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on April 25th and the Cincinnati-hosted 'I Hear Music Concert' on May 17th also featuring Mary Mary, Israel Houghton among others.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, a 10-day cultural festival developed to showcase the best in music, food, and craftsmanship, will see the dynamic group join a star-studded lineup that includes some of pop, rock, R&B, and gospel’s biggest names. Drawing crowds that exceed 400,000 annually, the Jazz Fest will host The Showers as part of its “Gospel Tent” segment on Friday, April 25th at 1 p.m. Visit for more details.
Hosted by gospel music great Byron Cage and Season 2 BET Sunday Best winner Y’Anna Crawley, the highly anticipated event will see The Showers billed alongside an accomplished collection of gospel recording artists.With their energetic stage presence and soulful harmonies in tow, the group is set to grace the performance stage on May 17th at the Inspirational Baptist Church, 11450 Sebring Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45240. Doors open at 6pm and concert begins at 7pm. Visit www.ihearmusicintheair.com for more details.
The Showers has been garnering national attention since the release of their 1st single "Praise Your Way Through" which peaked in the Top 30 on the Mediabase Gospel Songs Chart. The group debuted the single in November 2013 on highly rated Bobby Jones Gospel Show on BET.
The group released their follow-up single "Better" written and produced by budding gospel artist Deon Kipping. Gospel greats Donnie McClurkin, Tamela Mann and R&B songstress Kelly Price performed the song at a pre-oscar event in Hollywood earlier this year after hearing The Showers deliver a powerful performance of the song. Watch performance here: (http://youtu.be/sjoB9aaJ0Yk)
About The Showers:
Comprised of ten real life siblings, The Showers are the latest family collective to take the gospel music scene by storm. Quickly likened to the genre’s prized family acts The Winans, The Hawkins, and more, the Louisiana natives first gained notoriety aboard the success of their top-selling 2009 independent debut album “Hear My Prayer”. Going on to land the group top industry honors from Rhythm of Gospel to En-Sound Awards, the album also courted acclaim from some of entertainment’s most endeared critics.
Their highly anticipated, self-titled follow-up album, due soon, will act as the group’s national debut. Led by the empowerment anthem “Praise Your Way Through”, featuring production from Bruce Robinson, Jr. (Justin Bieber, Fantasia, Joshua Rogers) and vocal production from GRAMMY® award winner Myron Butler (Tamela Mann, Marvin Sapp) and Shawn Willis, the song made its way through to the Top 30 on the Mediabase Gospel Songs Chart with an accumulative listening audience of over 1 million ears.

'Transcendence,' An Eerie Look At What Might Be



By Darlene Donloe

Transcendence, the new Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman thriller, is an eerie and creepy movie – mostly because I don’t think we’re that far from that actually happening.

The sci-fi film, set for a nationwide release on Fri., Apr. 18, takes a scientific look at man’s intelligence and the transferring of the same to a far-reaching machine.

One would have been early in the 20th century that high-level prosthetics would not allow people to pick up tiny objects, speak or even run in the Olympics. But it happened.

In Transcendence, Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions.  His highly controversial experiments have made him so famous he has groupies, which gives him a rock star appeal. Some applaud his work. However some do not and will do anything to stop him. His experiments have made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who want to destroy Caster’s findings.

In their attempt to put an end to Will’s work, they unintentionally become the channel for him to succeed—to be a participant in his own transcendence. 

Aiding Will in his efforts is his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and his best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany). Both are fellow researchers, who initially believe in what Caster is doing, but then begin to question the bigger picture.

Of course their worst fears are realized when Will’s thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly all-pervading quest for power. To what end – they don’t know.  

But, that’s not even their biggest fear. They become terrified at the prospect of possible being unable to stop him. After all, they have housed his brilliant mind inside of what is essentially the internet.   Huh?  Yeah!  It’s strange, but like a train wreck, you can’t stop looking.

The big question becomes  - it what they are doing ethical and moral?  And, what makes it juicy is there is no right or wrong answer – or is there?

This is a tricky thriller that sheds light on what the world could become if technology is allowed to run amuck. The movie is sleek and impressive and opens up a long repetitious list of ideas.  

Good performances from a good cast!

This is probably right up some techies alleys. Others may find it a bit far-fetched and a bit too out of this world to be plausible or pleasing. If an audience member is not familiar with algorithms, they could get lost in the minutiae. If nothing else, though, the film is entertaining.

Alcon Entertainment presents “Transcendence,” directed by  Oscar®-winning  cinematographer Wally Pfister, stars Oscar® nominee Johnny Depp, Oscar® winner Morgan  Freeman, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy and Clifton Collins, Jr.

Transcendence marks the feature film directorial debut of Pfister (Inception and the Dark Knight movies). A commendable first effort.

Transcendence, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
 is Rated PG-13; Running time: 120 minutes. 

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (OK) and E (excellent), gets an O (OK).

Website http://www.transcendencemovie.com/  
 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TranscendenceMovie


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Award-Winning Broadway Playwright, Phillip Hayes Dean, Dead at 83, Wrote 'Paul Robeson'


 (L-R) Paul Robeson Playwright/Director Phillip Hayes Dean
and actor Keith David in rehearsal.  Photo by Malcolm Ali.

Phillip Hayes Dean, a playwright, director and actor in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and various regional theaters, died on Mon., Apr. 14, 2014 from a heart condition, a family spokesperson announced.  He was 83. 

Phillip Hayes Dean is best known for his Broadway play, Paul Robeson, performed by James Earl Jones in 1978, and in Avery Brooks’ revivals in 1988 and 1995, and now by Ebony Repertory Theatre’s production with Keith David, which Mr. Dean directed.

His play continues performances at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center and will close on Apr. 27, 2014.  Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and later in Pontiac, Michigan, Mr. Dean received his initial theater opportunity apprenticing at the Will-O-Way Playhouse in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. His first assignment was pulling the  curtain for the play, Life with Mother. He subsequently appeared in their production of Heaven Can Wait.  Later, he moved to New York City, where he appeared on Broadway in Wisteria Trees starring Helen Hayes and an all Black version of Waiting for Godot.   

Mr. Dean began writing plays in the 1960's. Some of his works include: The Last American Dixieland Band; Moloch Blues: The Owl Killer and Dink's Blues, The  American Nightmare, Thunder In The Index, This Bird Of Dawning Singeth All Night  Long, and Dream Of Passion. 

His plays have been produced throughout the United  States, and in New York City, at the American Place Theater (This Bird Of  Dawning Singeth All Night Long, Freeman, and Every Night When The Sun Goes  Down), and at the Negro Ensemble Company (The Sty of the Blind Pig). The Sty of the Blind Pig won the Hull-Warriner Award and the prestigious Drama Desk Award, and was named one of the season's ten best plays by Time magazine the year it  was produced.   His play, Paul Robeson, has had three Broadway productions, a London production, and has toured across the United States and Europe. He has worked extensively as a director and has taught acting and playwriting at the University of Michigan. 

Phillip makes his Los Angeles directing debut with this production.  Phillip Hayes Dean is survived by his loving wife, Patricia Dean. He is also survived by his daughters, Wendy and Karen and four grandchildren, and his brother Howard Dean. 

Services will be held in Los Angeles at a private ceremony.  A public memorial at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center Los Angeles is currently being planned and will be announced.  In lieu of flowers, donations in the memory of Phillip Hayes Dean can be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center at SPLCenter.org or by calling 334-956-8200.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ebony Repertory Theatre's 'Paul Robeson,' Starring Keith David, Extended Through April 27


LOS ANGELES, CA (April 15, 2014) – Ebony Repertory Theatre (ERT -  Founder/Producer Wren T. Brown) announced today that Phillip Hayes Dean’s (Drama  Desk-winner for The Sty of the Blind Pig) powerful and moving play Paul Robeson has been extended by popular demand for three more performances and will now  play through Sun., April 27, 2014 at 3 p.m. 

The production, directed by Mr.  Dean, stars two-time Emmy Award-winner Keith David (Fox’s new series Enlisted)  with accompaniment by pianist/musical director Byron J. Smith (working with  numerous artists including Wynton Marsalis, Barbra Streisand, BeBe Winans). Paul Robeson plays at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center (4718 West Washington  Boulevard) in Los Angeles.     

“The immensely likable Keith David plays Robeson…charming the audience with the  humanizing wit of his delivery, as well as his voice, which approaches the  resonance of Robeson’s own,” said Margaret Gray of the Los Angeles Times.    

Recommended by Stage Raw, its critic Lovell Estell, III said, “Dean’s script  whirls through Robeson’s fascinating life, from his college days at Rutgers and  Columbia Law School, through a brief stint as a ‘token’ at a law firm, to his  steady rise to theatrical stardom and international acclaim in the company of  such luminaries as George Bernard Shaw and Sergei Eisenstein.  Splendid  performance and singing…when David breaks out into a rendition of ‘Ol’ Man  River,’ you’d swear you were again listening to that long-silenced, unique basso  profundo.  Smith’s musical accompaniment is flawless.”  "The production values here are high in quality, but minimal in terms of the  scenic design (by Edward E. Haynes Jr.).  It is the lighting (by Dan Weingarten)  that provides the focus of this staging, effortlessly guiding our eyes from one  scene to the next. Further, the costuming (by Wendell C. Carmichael) is formal  but timeless tuxedo-wear, fitting the proceedings perfectly," said Ben Miles,  ShowMag.com. Cristofer Gross of TheaterTimes.org said, "Kudos to Ebony Repertory Theatre for bringing this dramatic reminder of greatness Los Angeles. As was the  case with with its memorable revival of A Raisin in the Sun in 2011, it's  something that benefits the entire Los Angeles community, and is another  reminder that the Nate Holden Theatre on Washington may be this city's best  space to see a play."   

A powerful chronicle of the life of Paul Robeson, Phillip Hayes Dean’s play  takes us from his childhood in New Jersey to his adult life around the world. An  All-American athlete and a lawyer with Columbia Law School credentials, Robeson  faces the racism prevalent in society in the early part of the twentieth  century. He strives to rise above, and it is his triumph in that struggle that  turns Robeson into a modern day hero.  Realizing the racist system would not allow him to practice as a lawyer, Robeson  turns to singing, something he had learned well in the church choir. His singing  leads to acting and his acting, with all the accolades due a master, leads him  around the world. But every place he visits he sees the strains of racism in its  many forms. The more he sees, the more he speaks out, using his influence and  stature to try and enlighten those around him. After some time in Europe, he  returns to the United States to perform and speak out about the injustices in  the country he loves. Confronting racism again, he sticks to his values,  adhering to no party line, but is accused of being a Communist, an agitator and  much more. He is blacklisted and his passport is revoked, but he goes on  speaking out whenever he can.  For eight years Robeson fights to clear his name. Finally, the social climate  begins to change and toward the end of his life, Robeson's passport is  reinstated along with some of the glory and respect he earned along the way.  There is still far to go, but Paul Robeson remains a beacon to those struggling  to make this world a better place. 

In addition to director Phillip Hayes Dean, the creative team for PAUL ROBESON  includes scenic design by Edward E. Haynes, Jr., costume design by Wendell C.  Carmichael, lighting design by Dan Weingarten, sound design by Bob Blackburn and  choreography by Keith Young. The production stage manager is David Blackwell.  Phillip Hayes Dean’s PAUL ROBESON originally opened on Broadway at the  Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1978, later transferring to the Booth Theatre, starring  James Earl Jones and directed by Lloyd Richards with original staging by Charles  Nelson Reilly. 

The one-man play had two revivals on Broadway – 1988 at the John  Golden Theatre and in 1995 at the Longacre Theatre. Both productions starred  Avery Brooks and were directed by Harold Scott.   Ebony Repertory Theatre, now in its sixth year, is the resident company and  operator of the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, which is located at 4718  West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90016. 

Paul Robeson runs now through  April 27, 2014.  The remaining schedule is:  Friday, April 18 at 8 p.m.;  Saturday, April 19 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 20 at 7 p.m; Friday, April 25  at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 26 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 27 at 3 p.m.  (final performance).  Tickets range from $30 - $60. Single tickets are  available online at ebonyrep.org or by phone at 323-964-9766. Groups of 10 or  more are available via email at groups@ebonyrep.org or 323-964-9766.

Jason Derulo's 'Talk Dirty' Hits #1 At Top 40 Radio


After months of continuous airplay from multiple formats, Jason Derulo's hit single "Talk Dirty" is now #1 at Top 40 radio with over 150 million in weekly audience. The triple-platinum single assisted by 2 Chainz has outpaced Pharrell William's "Happy" and John Legend's "All of Me." "Talk Dirty" is Jason's third #1 airplay single at Top 40/Mainstream radio currently sitting at #3 on iTunes and Billboard's Digital Downloads and #4 on Billboard's Hot 100


WATCH/SHARE: Jason Derulo "Talk Dirty" featuring 2 Chainz (Youtube):

The Miami-native will release his anticipated third U.S. album Talk Dirty today, April 15th  In addition to a crop of new tracks, 
Talk Dirty features favorites from his Tattoos EP released in September including the title track, "Marry Me," "Vertigo" featuring girlfriend Jordin Sparks, and "The Other Side" which earned the singer a fifth Platinum Digital Single Award in March from the RIAA. Snoop Dogg, Tyga, and Kid Ink are featured on the lively additions to the new album with production by Timbaland, DJ Mustard, Red One, Wallpaper, The Cataracts, Ammo and Martin Johnson, Jon Bellion and more.

LISTEN/STREAM: Talk Dirty album in its entirety (Youtube):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFmHn9UI0fQ.
 
Tracklisting with production credits are as follows: 
  1. Talk Dirty Feat. 2 Chainz (produced by Wallpaper)
  2. Wiggle Feat. Snoop Dogg (produced by Wallpaper)
  3. Trumpets (produced by Jon Bellion)
  4. Bubblegum Feat. Tyga (produced by Jim Beanz; co-produced by Timbaland) 
  5. Vertigo Feat. Jordin Sparks (produced by Jared Lee)
  6. Kama Sutra Feat. Kid Ink (produced by DJ Mustard)
  7. Zipper (Produced by Cirkut, Sam Sumser & Chloe Angelides) 
  8. The Other Side (produced by Ammo and Martin Johnson) 
  9. With The Lights On (produced by The Cataracs)
  10. Stupid Love (produced by RedOne, Rus, and BeatGeek)
  11. Marry Me (produced by Jonas Jeberg) 
Derulo will kick-off his album release with a one-night only concert at Universal CityWalk's "Spring Concert Series" at the "5 Towers" stage on Wednesday April 16th. Those outside of Los Angeles can catch him as he sits down with Ellen for an interview and performance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that airs Thursday April 17th. Late-night fans will get their dose of Derulo as he performs "Talk Dirty" medley on Late Night with Seth Meyers which airs on Monday April 21st.     

LINKS:   
Official: http://www.jasonderulo.com
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/JasonDerulo 
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jasonderulo
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jasonderulo