Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hansbury Project and Orchestra Seattle / Seattle Chamber Singers

Slavic Melodies and World Premiere, American Folksongs, Make for a Playful Summer Concert

Sunday, June 7, 20093:00 pm

First Free Methodist Church; 3200 3rd Ave. W. Seattle (Queen Anne)

George Shangrow and Orchestra Seattle/Seattle Chamber Singers take you back to the “old country” with Slavic Melodies and pay tribute to a bygone era with a world premiere piece by local composer Robert Kechley, American Folk Songs for chorus and orchestra. These beloved American Folk songs include: The Erie Canal, Poor Wayfarin’ Stranger, Deep River, Casey Jones, and The Water is Wide.   

Perfectly timed to usher in summer, Antonin Dvorak's delightfully tuneful Czech Suite for orchestra, invites your mind to wander outdoors on asunny afternoon; while Kechley's imaginative, playful, and romantic arrangements for chorus and orchestra conjure memories of summer camp fun and friends, with all the soulful longings of youth. The virtuoso artistry of incomparable local keyboard master, Mark Salman, summons the soaring melodic winds of Sergei Rachmaninov's  Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, one of the most beautiful and best-loved of all concertos (and the source of the popular song, Full Moon and Empty Arms that Frank Sinatra made famous in 1945).  


Tickets are $25 for adults; $20 for seniors; $10 for students and Youth age 7-17 receive one free ticket with each paid ticket. They are available through Brown Paper Tickets by phone at 1-800-838-3006, online at and, or at any Silver Platters location. For more information please call 206-682-5208, or visit our website at


Orchestra Seattle/Seattle Chamber Singers (OSSCS) is made up of a 60-member semi-professional orchestra and a 55-voice chorus. Membership is by audition and includes professional musicians, music teachers, and highly skilled amateurs who choose to work together under the direction of George Shangrow. During its forty-year history OSSCS has made an extensive tour of the orchestral and choral literature and has sought to promote area musicians, world-recognized soloists and new music by Northwest composers. They have attained special recognition for their interpretations of the music of Handel and Bach and have introduced rarely heard choral masterpieces to Seattle audiences such as Handel's Israel in Egypt, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, and Haydn’s The Seasons. Praised by critics for their vibrant sound and spirited, disciplined singing, the Seattle Chamber Singers also delight in performing classics such as Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and Brahms’ German Requiem.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph. Photo by Bethanie Hines 2009.

Seattle, WA – May 27, 2009 – The Hansberry Project at ACT is thrilled to present the break/s: a mixtape for stage by Broadway veteran and GOLDIE Award-winner Marc Bamuthi Joseph, June 17 through July 12, 2009 in the Falls Theatre at ACT. 

Marc Bamuthi Joseph, one of America’s Top Young Innovators in the arts and sciences according to Smithsonian Magazine, brings his Hip-Hop art to ACT in the break/s, an 80-minute multimedia excursion, complete with movement, music, percussion, and spoken word.  the break/s dramatically realizes the living history of the Hip-Hop generation through the performed personal narrative of poet Joseph, who is also the artistic director of the seven-part HBO documentary Russell Simmons presents Brave New Voices.

 the break/s is a deeply honest investigation into the conflicts between Joseph’s public identity as successful spoken word artist, and his private identity as young man coming of age in our globalized, multi-everything era.  A life-long performer, he leaves it all on stage—simultaneously devouring the space with everything from shamrocks to attitude turns and eloquently spitting rhymes spoken from the heart.

“My goal is to embody theater’s connection from Shakespeare’s quill to Kool Herc’s turntables; from Martha Graham’s cupped hand to Nelson Mandela’s clenched fist: a new voice for a new politic,” said Joseph.

In selecting the break/s for The Hansberry Project 2009 mainstage production, both Artistic Director Valerie Curtis-Newton and Managing Director Vivian Phillips knew it to be the perfect choice.

“As soon as Bamuthi began, it was clear that this was something Seattle had to see. He was beautiful, and funny, painfully honest and insightful. The energy of his work is infectious. He literally throws himself into the storytelling, bringing all the elements not just of Hip-Hop culture but of the performing arts together in a way I have rarely seen, said Curtis-Newton.

Phillips added, “It is imperative that we play a part in bridging the gaps between this organic art form and traditional theatre and open this space for artists like Marc to continue his exploration, while inviting audiences to take part in the journey.”

Joseph drew inspiration for the break/s from Jef Chang’s 2005 American Book Award winning publication, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, which definitively captures the birth of Hip-Hop as a local movement inspired by a generation’s longing to make culture that impacts the world.

In the break/s, the medium is also the message. In this “mixtape for stage,” Joseph performs in a call-and-response format with turntablist DJ Excess and beatboxer and percussionist Tommy Shepherd (aka Soulati). The multiple layers of meaning in their exchange are intensified by video projections, created by filmmaker Eli Jacobs Fantauzzi, composed of interviews and documentary footage of Hip-Hop culture throughout the world. A remarkable team of artists and creative advisors contributed to the break/s, led by director Michael John Garcés, and including dramaturg Brian Freeman, choreographer Stacy Printz, video and set designer David Szlaza, lighting designer James Clotfelter, and composer Ajayi Lumumba.

Season subscriptions and single tickets are on sale now for the break/s. 

Performance Schedule:

Wed., June 17, 7:30 p.m. – Preview (Behind the Scenes)

Thursday, June 18 - Sunday, July 12.


ACT Special Events (open to the public):

Behind the Scenes, June 17, 6:00 p.m.

Before the Tuesday night preview of a Mainstage production, Artistic Director Kurt Beattie and members of ACT's artistic team give you the heads-up and the lowdown on what it takes to make that night's magic. Seeing the show another night? Don't let that stop you; we still welcome you to come for the Behind-the-Scenes chat! Brought to you by KING FM with delicious bites provided by Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering.


Tastings, June 19, 6:30 p.m.

ACT unveils a delicious new tradition: beers, wines, and beverages from around the world, paired with local artisan foods—all matched to fit the theme of our mainstage productions! Keith Johnson, host of last year's Beer Tastings, will search his vast collection of spirits, as well as the bountiful variety of local markets, to procure the perfect show-themed treats for you. Please join us for this new and exciting FREE event!


About Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Marc Bamuthi Joseph, originally from NYC, is an artist and activist currently living in Oakland, California.

He is a National Poetry Slam champion, Broadway veteran, GOLDIE award winner, featured artist on the past two seasons of Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry on HBO and inaugural recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship.

He entered the world of literary performance after crossing the sands of “traditional” theater, most notably on Broadway in the Tony Award winning The Tap Dance Kid and Stand-Up Tragedy. His evening-length work Word Becomes Flesh was lauded by the New York Times as “remarkable,” prompted the Seattle Times to name him their “Cutting Edge Performer of the Year” in 2003 and named the Best Solo Show of 2006 by he Chicago Tribune. His group work, Scourge, has been presented nationally as well as internationally and

continues to tour throughout 2007.  In recent years his work has been seen in Tokyo at the irst

International Spoken Word Festival, and in Santiago de Cuba, where he joined the legendary Katherine

Dunham as a part of the CubaNola Collective.

Since beginning a career in performance poetry, Joseph has been San Francisco’s Poetry Grand Slam winner three times, won the 1999 National Poetry Slam with Team San Francisco, and founded Second Sundays, the nation’s first monthly spoken word gathering to generate audiences of over 500 people. His local work recently earned him a GOLDIE award from the San Francisco Bay Guardian, one of only seven awards given per year by the staff of the Bay Area’s largest independent weekly. He also received the 2005 Emerging Artist Award from the San Francisco Arts Festival. 

Joseph has been a featured lecturer and performance artist at more than one hundred colleges and universities including UC Berkeley, New York University, Brown University, the University of Michigan, Bates College, Stanford University, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He recently served as an IDA resident artist in Stanford University’s Drama Department, teaching Spoken Word and Community Action. 

Most recently, Joseph was in residence at the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he curated and ran a lecture series featuring leading members of the hip-hop community. Joseph’s critical writing is currently featured in Jeff Chang’s Total Chaos: The Art & Aesthetics of Hip-Hop. His first non-fiction book, Line Breaks: A Source Guide to Hip Hop Theater, will be published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 2008. 

His proudest work has been with Youth Speaks where he mentors 13-19 year old writers and curates the Living Word Festival for Literary Arts.

No comments: