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Ruby Dee published three of my poems when I was 17 years old in her anthology called “GlowChild”. She was a dynamic woman who believed in her “work”. She and her husband the late Ossie Davis supported the development of my confidence to be a poet, scholar/practitioner and development consultant. It is with great respect for her countless contributions to humanity and her rare sensitivity that I pray now with confidence that she will forever enjoy the presence of God almighty even more than we have thoroughly enjoyed her sweet and knowledgeable presence in our lives. W. Calvin Anderson, M.Ed.
Video courtesy of producer, Kelvin DeMarcus Allen
Read Article on Ruby Dee & Ossie Davis by W. Calvin Anderson, M.Ed.
Poem: Make A New Day
Dedicated to Ruby Dee By W. Calvin Anderson
a poet of an Ossie and Ruby creation.
tell the kids
something each and every morning.
We/they… often wonder
Is the world
Is it an
a 60’s flower
or the end
when the street signs
Says it was
All just a fire drill
the planet in
a few hundred
Is it material or idea?
the right perspective concerned with
covering the stars…
carrying birds and planes and clouds
or should we just paint and keep the the sun
Is it all about
money or heart for exchanging with people?
Is it the power or the magnetism
that fuels purpose to keep
God’s balancing Re-creation a-n-d
r e c r e a t i o n working
blood through an ancient body
eden still… His malleable
Make a new day
you think It
I love you Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee
Join Omar and Contribute to A Children’s Theatre Project http://www.dovellc.org/
Noted Actor, Omar Epps is a Fiorello H LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts alumni with an extraordinary movie and television career. Omar Epps co-starred in the powerhouse hit Fox medical drama, “House,” for which he received an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series” in 2007 and 2008. He was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series” in 2005 as well as “Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series” in 2006 and again in 2009. The highly successful series is in its seventh season and has been Emmy nominated for “Outstanding Drama Series” from 2006-2009.
His other hits like Juice, The Program, Love & Basketball, Bachelor Party, House are part of a lexicon of great entertainment but he doesn’t stop there. Omar Epps now now has the ABC television show, Resurrection where he leads us in a captivating Sunday night show that challenges viewers about…. life and death… and life again!
Mr. Epps has an extraordinary work history which could only have been made possible because of family support (educator/mom) and community-based arts programming so that Omar qualified by auditioning for a highly sought after performance high school and was accepted into the Fiorello H La Guardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. The La Guardia High School in NYC prepares students for professional opportunities in music, art and performance careers and judging from the career credits of Mr. Epps its staff obviously does a great job.
Omar is from Brooklyn…
Omar Epps… unlike many celebrities – is apparently — not-too-busy-to-look-back at the people of his craft living in his hometown Brooklyn. He is “paying-it-forward,” and “keeping hope alive” not just playing in a sitcom that stretches our beliefs about the “resurrection” of people who have ‘crossed over’.
Mr. Epps provided a gift to the Concerned Women of Brooklyn a 501 © 3 not-for-profit organization that supported the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Youth Arts Academy under the leadership of Peggy Alston in the production of , “The Liberation of Mother Goose” by Aduke Aremu.
A spokesperson for the Concerned Women of Brooklyn, Vivian Y. Bright said, “I am excited that Omar Epps…stepped to the plate in support of theatre for children, I hope that others in Hollywood will do likewise and give back to the communities that gave them their start and visions.”
Omar Epps is really encouraging a lot of people directly both on the stage and behind the scenes. His concern for ‘up-and-coming’ theatre-people is keeping children’s theatre performance opportunities alive for a host of talented people in Bedstuy, Brooklyn today. “It is a really small world, ” two cast members, Joshua Straker and Bria Turborah Knox are following in his educational foot-steps, one is already at LaGuardia High School and the other is working on her portfolio for admissions in a few years.
Most people outside of the arts and entertainment industry don’t know that children’s theatre, out of all, the dramatic arts-forms tends to be more expensive to produce. This is because it typically has large casts, great music and extraordinary technical requirements for special effects to keep today’s youth and families entertained. This art-form with large casts, helps more people to work, get portfolio together and network. It also most importantly exposes and inspires little ones to step outside of their everyday realities, and in some cases, even dream about their own stage debuts.
Photo L/R: Aduke Aremu and Peggy Alston
Restoration Youth Academy...
The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Youth Arts Academy is a multidisciplinary arts training program which serves over 225 youth/students onsite between the ages of 3 through 19. For the past 15 plus years, Peggy Alston has been its director. These students of theatre arts are constantly reminded that they have a legacy and that they follow in the footsteps of off-Broadway and Hollywood actors, actresses, singers, dancers, playwrights and poets in the dramatic theatre arts programming on 1368 Fulton Street at the historic Billie Holiday Theatre (including Samuel L. Jackson, Debbie Allen, and Samm-Art Williams).
She attended Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree with a concentration in education and sociology. She has an appetite for increasing her knowledge of the arts and corporate development. Ms. Alston studied theatre arts at Hunter College and attended the Turtle Bay Music School for drama therapy and the Columbia Business School Institute for Non-Profits and Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Peggy is no stranger to the arts. She returned to her native Brooklyn roots to perform at the Billie Holiday Theatre for which she is a founding company member with a list of productions to her credit. She has been a member of the renowned, Negro Ensemble Company (NEC), performing in Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Charles Fuller’s “We” series and other NEC classics; Charles Gordone’s revival of No Place To Be Somebody and August Wilson’s Fences, and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone for which she won an Audelco Award for Best Featured Actress in a Drama. Other credits include Broadway bound, One Mo’ Time; Ain’t Misbehavin’; Nunsense; Barnum and the European tour of Broadway Rhythms. She has also worked in cabaret, television and film.
The production was a collaboration of The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Center for Arts & Culture and Dove, LLC. with the 501 ©3 non-for-profit support of the Concerned Women of Brooklyn and a citation from the Office of Brooklyn Borough President, Eric L. Adams. The children’s play featured a visionary director, Abdel Salaam. Mr. Salaam is world renowned and a preeminent NYC artistic director. His Harlem-based dance company is called Forces of Nature and he does projects with many community-based organizations including the Harlem Children’s Zone to meet and train tomorrow’s artists and educators.
Abdel is well-known for his appetite for excellence. He has the rare ability to authentically tell the stories of the human family with extraordinary cultural and spiritual significance. He is ‘at least’ a local and contemporary — Walt Disney-type-of-mind when it comes to setting-up fabulous environments which introduce fantasy.
Without exaggeration…this artistic-genius-brother took, Aduke Aremu’s words, muse, humor, fantasy, literacy play and urban adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s bedtime story, Alice In Wonderland and some selected, Mother Goose characters to new and exciting music, dance, cultural and literary heights. And…the Billie Holiday Theatre was packed baby…wall-to-wall for two shows with Tri-state area producers, media, teachers, parents and their children ages 2 to 21 at each show.
Backgrounder on “Alice in Wonderland”…
Charles Dodson and minister and scholar was the author of Alice in Wonderland. He wrote under the name of Lewis Carroll. He created the story in 1863 when asked by three young girls to, “tell them a story”. He did so while he paddled them along the Thames River in Europe one Sunday afternoon. Alice in Wonderland is today part of oral and literary history. It teaches the power of the imagination and the ability of reading to take one out-side of one’s self. Mother Goose is traditionally known to have many authors. It introduces Universal Pre K and elementary school children to reading with a purpose. To reading out loud to hear the author’s voice to strange and funny characters and new sounds, riddles and to “phonic awareness”.
Both Alice in Wonderland and Mother Goose to the credits of Aduke and Abdel are also subjects for continued studies for the allegory, alliterations and metaphors well into high school and college for their literary merits related to era politics and sophisticated semantic values.
The Alice in Wonderland reading and Mother Goose character metaphors for conceptually understanding human beings “falling down rabbit hole dimensions” and seeing through a looking glass at worlds opposite our realities and expectations” helps young people to transition an understanding of life when good and bad people bombard them in “out-of-comfort-zone experiences”.
It also helps them to be…literate by reading with understanding the greatest literature in the world like The Bible’s, Book of Job and other literature like, Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letters From A Birmingham Jail; and to better understand the visual arts and scripts where the “concept of alternative realities” is explored in Spike Lee’s movie, School Daze.
Viewing, listening, thinking, writing, reading, and speaking and is very serious business and that is why it has enduring significance to people of every generation whether enslaved, empowered, marginalized or materialized people have to continue to tell the human stories to demonstrate generational freedoms and to contribute to the “world of ideas” and to the finest treasuries of literature!
Urban Alice in the “Liberation of Mother Goose” …
This Alice and this, wonderland came from the personal background of Aduke Aremu. She grew up Gwen Holmes (aka Aduke Aremu) in Brooklyn ‘s public housing and went to Brooklyn public schools. Gwen was raised by a divorced parents who took their girls to Manhattan to see movies, and plays “in white gloves” after going to church. The story goes…Gwen a book worm and budding writer met a “fairy godmother” named Vivian J. Bright (and family) from Berean Baptist Church. Vivian, Berean and members of Zeta Phi Beta supported Gwen in her growth and development from cotillion to supporting Aduke’s her writing and education at Hunter College and NYU. Fairy godmother et tal – “in-the-real” and in rare Brooklyn style… also even financed and encouraged her gifted daughter’s 50-performing kids and company staff in Aremu’s now internationally famous company called the Harlem Children’s Theatre Company sending them to do their things… in Europe, the Caribbean and in Africa. On one of those trips, Aduke was given her Nigerian name after her children performed. The name means “one who is loved by all”.
The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration, the Billie Holiday Theatre and Joseph Papp himself also supported the young female artist, Aduke decades ago. It helped the Brooklyn resident to introduce this work the “Liberation of Mother Goose” and others when the emerging director/producer had gender-politic difficulties in Manhattan.
The artist, educator, Aduke Aremu was also presented to the U.S. Congress in 2010 for commendation by her long-time mentor and friend, Hon. Ed Towns (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2010-03-21/html/CREC-2010-03-21-pt1-PgE429-4.htm).
The Liberation of Mother Goose, written by Aduke Aremu adapts Charles Dodson’s (Lewis Carroll’s) Alice In Wonderland and Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes specifically for inner-city introductions to the classic works. It is pure fun for the whole family with primers for phonics and a high level introduction to generational storytelling that has characters and ideas that are staples in every English Language Arts school-based curriculum across America and the global village.
The comprehensive education project has stage, television and educational workbook components. The workbook designed by W. Calvin Anderson, M.Ed uses The Liberation of Mother Goose children’s play to introduce youth and parents to Common Core and New York State English Language Arts Learning Standards. The end-in-view is for the Bedstuy Restoration Youth Arts Academy and other youth across the nation to learn to teach others about the literary works that they perform. Kids in cross-age tutorial can help out at home and in schools with enriched reading experiences with their peers and younger children (each-one-teach-one) about phonics, storytelling, acting and literary genre using the many jewels related to this play.
Omar Epps, notably in his successful career chooses movie and television scripts with plots that present a challenge. Thespians who can make us believe that returning from the dead is part of today’s wonders are more than extraordinarily talented. We believe that Mr. Epps is doing a great just on Sundays on ABC at 9/8 Central Time is ‘bringing new perspectives ’ to impact our own beliefs about death and dying.
Brooklyn people have a rare connection. The significance is that leaders, educators, stars, the play, the children is educational and the community-based arts family in Brooklyn and beyond has enough connection to one another to endorse theatre for children and prepare a way for new students to earn limited slots in the Fiorello H LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and add to arts portfolios for the highly competitive popular culture digital media opportunities of their generation. This play has entertainment, incredible educational value and a wide range of application and properties to make all investors determine a Return on Investment (ROI).
Cast and Lives Impacted
COLBY CHRISTINA (ALlCE) Professional Dancer, Actress and Singer. Since the age of two she has trained at the Restoration Youth Arts Academy in the disciplines of Ballet, Modern Dance, African, Liturgical Dance (Praise), Hip Hop, Horton, Tap, Dance, Drama and Vocal. Site now serves as a Teacher’s Assistant at the Youth Arts Academy for the 3 and 4 year old. Creative Movement classes. She is a member of the Restoration Youth Arts Ensemble. She has been choreographing her own dances for the past few years and has declared the Performing Arts as her true passion. She has received numerous awards, citations and Scrolls of Honor for her contribution to the Arts. She is also a phenomenal actress who loves the art and discipline involved in acting. She is academically astute and attends a Private Independent School.
BRIA TUBORAH KNOX (LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD) is 11 yrs. old. She is a student at Queen of the All Saints School. At 5 months she was cast in Obediah Wrights’, “Higher Ground Still Rising”. Years later she performed in Higher Ground for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. At Restoration she’s an apprentice in the Junior Ensemble. Many teachers have influenced her, including Lindia Dugue, James Atkinson, Germaul Barnes, Chris White, Shaneeka Nicholson, Leslie Saint-Jour, and Solomon Dumas. Brie Studies African Dance under Instructor Karen Thornton, who gave her the opportunity to perform in Dance- Africa at BAM directed by Baba Chuck Davis. Her love for singing led her to begin taking musical theater classes instructed by Peggy Alston and Mario E. Sprouse, musical theater is where Brie came into her own. Thanks to Ms. Peggy, she’s had many opportunities to sing including alongside a youth jazz ensemble at Cipriani. She has been receiving extensive classical vocal training from Mrs. Willana Mack. Brie longs to follow in her sister’s footsteps by attending, actor Omar Epps and her sister’s alma mater the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School For the Performing Arts, with hopes of becoming a triple threat.
NYESHA DAVIS (MOTHER GOOSE) putt completed her B.A. in English, Creative Writing from the City College of New York. Nyesha is eclectic in an array of areas and used her diverse personality to study Spanish language and culture in Spain with the City College of New York’s Study Abroad program. Through her writing, she is an actresses she has created characters from a wide range of ages, nationalities, and beliefs. Nyesha has participated in plays and monologues through college and enjoys interacting with directors and stage managers to help her present her craft onstage instead of on paper. With her passion for writing and working with people she has a background actor with work on the hit Netflix series ‘Orange is the New Black, and uses the time on set to develop new ideas and relationships. Overall, she enjoys the art scene and looks forward to many future projects and endeavors.
KEISHA JAMES (MOTHER/FEFE) Keisha James is what some may call an ‘intellectual talent’ with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland – College Park and a performing arts back-ground extending over 20 years. Her passion for the arts is nothing short of well…phenomenal! She is an alumni to the Restoration Dance Theatre Youth Arts Academy.She has been featured as a dancer on television shows including Good Morning America, the Martha Stewart Show and BET’s 106 & Park. She has choreographed for several college dance teams and artists including her most recent endeavor with the international young Soca superstar,Young Devyn. Dabbling in numerous styles of dance from ballet; modern; Jazz, and African to the more recent hip bop and Caribbean– plus many others in between, she has performed as a backup dancer for various artists in both stage shows and music videos. She is very hard-working, reliable,dedicated and committed to her craft.
CALIAF ST. AUBYN (SAMSUNG SPIDER) Caliaf is in artist who strives to entertain his audience with hopes that they leave each and every performance feeling fulfilled. Some of his accomplishments are playing the role of Levee in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, performing with one of his mentors, Gregory Hines, in the Showtime movie, Bojangles. He also played the role of Seaweed J. Stubbs in the Paper Mill Playhouse2010 production of Hairspray and sharing the stage with the incomparable, Ms. Patti LaBelle. He was involved in working on the launch for the lab for the Broadway show, Motown the Musical, as well as having a featured role in the 2013 film, Admissions. He also played the role of Jimmy Ear1yin the production of, Dreamgirls at the Gallery Players Theater in Brooklyn in 2013. This resulted in ho nomination for the 2013 Audelco”Outstanding Performance in a Musical” award and the 2013 New York Innovative Theatre“Outstanding Actor in a Featured Role” award.
JAMES JAROD WHITE (ALCOHOLIC) was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. James Jarod began his performing arts career as a tap dancer. With the art of Tap Dance under his belt, James later honed in on Hip-Hop, Modern and Step Dance. In the fall of 2002 he connected with Lamont O’Neil and The Nubian Gents and began using his gift in dance both nationally and internationally to advance kingdom purposes. It was not until he starred in Release Me: The Musical summer 2011 that he decided to professionally venture, modeling Christ in culture. into actin g, modeling Christ in culture.
MINGA BROWN (JILL) (actor/designer) is delighted to returned to her roots, in the role as “Jill”, with the Restoration Center of the Arts and the Billie Holiday Theatre. She had her debut as the leading character in the play” Little Red Riding Hood”. Mina has been previously Featured in the Daily News for her compelling role as Chanel Pete Nixon in play “Yesterday I died” with DIG Productions. Minga started performing at the age of two. She received her training at the Restoration YAA, where she studied ballet, tap, Dunham end African Dance, Jujitsu, gymnastics and theatre arts under the tutelage of Karen Thorne, Nilaja Sun and the esteemed Peggy Alston. Minga is also a singer/model, and was a contributing designer for a dance piece in “deeply rooted” a Martin Luther King Jr. (celebration, and a back —up vocalist with Bedford Stuyvesant’s recording artist,Blitz the Ambassador. Minga still finds time to “give back” as a mentor and talent coach at a Brooklyn high school.
KEVIN RUTLEGE (TWEEDLE DUM) 12 years old and attends Public School MS 113 -Ronald Edmonds Learning Center. He loves to listen to music and has a passion for dancing. He and his twin brother Steven are excited to be a part of The Liberation of Mother Goose. His passion is dancing, however, working with this production has opened up for him a new appreciation for acting. Kevin is quiet and very loving He looks forward to his next project and bringing his own special light to the stage.
STEVEN RUTLEDGE (TWEEDLE DEE) is 12 years old and attends Public School MS 113-Ronald Edmonds Learning center. He is a native of Brooklyn. He has a twin brother Kevin, whom he is proud to share the stage with, in the role of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Steven loves comedy and putting smiles on the Faces of the people he meets. This is not his first time on stage and he is looking for opportunities in the near future to grace the stage again. Steven has high hopes of perusing his dreams of becoming an actor. Steven would Ike to thank Mrs. Peggy Alston for giving him the opportunity to express himself artistically and pushing him to excel.
DAMANY CAMPBELL (PREACHER) is a Restoration Youth Arts Academy alumni. Damany was showcased as a Featured artist alongside Nay Nay Soul at the SGI-USA’s New York Culture Center. He is excited to make his return to the Billie Holiday Theatre stage in his role as Reverend Truth To The Bone Light Foot in The Liberation Of Mother Goose. Damany is also a prolific writer who has written many poems, as well as his one act play called The Game. Mr. Campbell rounds out his diverse talents with a passion for photography. His first series called, Masquerade, is scheduled for release this year. Damany wishes to thank his wife, Allays, for loving and supporting him; Abdel and Ms. Peggy for giving him an opportunity to perform with them and the talented cast of actors 6 has been fortunate enough to share the stage with.
SAMANTHA WILLIAMS (MOTHER HUBARD/LONDON LADY) Samantha Williams began her journey with Restoration Dance Theater in the early 90’sduring her pre-teen years. She was a student with an array of classes, including African Dance, Advanced Tap, Ballet, as well as the Drama class taught by the Youth Art Academy’s director, Ms. Peggy Alston. Samantha is currently revisiting her creative path with indulging into acting and the performing arts, while managing her family-owned business, Samantha Construction, Inc. and D&S Supply Expo. Samantha feels that her training at Restoration Dance Theater, in conjunction with other classes Samantha has helped her daytime work with children, teens and counselors within the five boroughs of New York City has improved. She was raised in BedStuy and is excited about the opportunity to give back to her community because it has been very instrumental to her self-development,
ANSELMO CHRISTOPHER FARRELL (HUMPTY DUMPTY) Anselmo was born on May 21, 2002 to proud parents Anselmø and Elizabeth. He has two sisters Regina and Angelina both of which he is very protective. His career started as an infant where he led a choir in the nursery. When he cried all the other babies seemed to follow. At the age of three and a half he started taking Kaizen Karate and received his junior black belt at ten. He is well known for his “gift of gab”. When he graduated from the Midwood Montessori School at age six the director made it clear, “he will convince you to buy the Brooklyn Bridge — even if you were not shopping for one”. He has always been the biggest of all his peers with a heart to match. I the last 3years at Restoration YAA he has developed a love For drumming and acting, but more importantly, he found a new family that has helped develop his talents and have fun. Now at the age of 11 he maintains an A-+ average, and is on the Honor Roll in the Gifted & Talented program at Andries Hudde.
JOSHUA STRAKER (CLOWN/GRUNDY) is 14 years old, and currently attends Fiorello H LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan As a drama major. He started acting in the fifth grade while attending Public School Elementary/Middle School 282 in Park Slope, Brooklyn. There he performed a number of plays, (Romeo) Romeo & Juliet, (Asagai) A Raisin in the Sun, and (Jim) Gift of Magic. He is tenacious and hopes to have professional career in acting and photography.
MIA JONES (MISS MUFFETT) Mia Jones is a student at Restoration Youth Arts Academy. She enjoy her courses in dancing and acting and it showed in the production of the Liberation of Mother Goose with stage presence and humor.
ANIYAH S. NEW (MARY MARY QUITE CONTRARY) Aniyah S. New is an eighth grader at the Brooklyn Seventh Day of Adventist School. Her favorite movie is Annie and as child she enjoy acting out the scenes. She is working on singing, dancing and acting (triple threat). In the fall she will be attending Talent Unlimited High School where she will pursue her dreams in musical theatre. Ms. New is very appreciative of the Restoration Youth Arts Academy and has “big plans” for herself and for future contributions to Restoration for honing her talents.
ABDEL R. SALAAM (ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER) Abdel Salaam R. Salaam is the executive Artistic Director/Co-Founder of the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre (FONDT) founded in 1981. Born in Harlem, New York, Abdel is a critically acclaimed choreographer. For 43 years he has continuously served the Dance World as a dancer, teacher and performing-artist on four continents. He has received numerous awards and fellowships for excellence in Dance including the National Endowment for the Arts, The New England Foundation on the Arts, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New You Foundation for the Arts. The New York State Council for the Arts, The National Council for Arts and Culture and Herbert H. Lehman College.He has served as a choreographer and/or director for the New York Shakespeare Festival, The Billie Holiday Theater, The Apollo Theater, The Winter Solstice at the Cathedral of St John the Divine, like New York Musical Theater Festival, BAM, BlackDance USA and The Tennessee Performing Arts Festival. In addition to his commercial credits in theater, film and television, Mr. Salaam has served on the faculties of the American Dancein the United States and Seoul Korea, Herbert H Lehman College and The Harlem Children’s Zone. Mr. Salaam is director of the Kwanzaa Regeneration Night Celebration(32 year old production) inspired by the Kwanzaa creator and visionary, Dr. Maulana Karenga. It has been a pleasure working with Peggy Alston, the children, alumni and staff of Restoration. May health, peace and blessings of Supreme Being and The Ancestors be with you all.
NAIMAH SALEEM (ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR) Naimah is originally from Washington, DC. She started her performing arts and dance training at the tender age of three with DC Youth Ensemble under the direction of Carol Foster. Her passion for dance and performance led her to study at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts High School, the Alvin Ailey School, the Garth Fagan School and the New World School of the Arts/University of Florida where she obtained a B.F.A. in dance styles such as African, Afro-Caribbean, Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz, Modern, Tap and Taratibu which is a Pan African Drill with instructor, Arla Scott. Ms. Salaam’s professional highlights: NBA Miami Heat Dance Company. She toured nationally and internationally with the Garth Fagan Dance Company under the direction of the Tony Award winning Garth Fagan as well as a company member in Forces of Nature Theatre under the direction of the brilliant, Abdel Salaam. Ms. Salaam is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association and the BLOC Talent Agency. Here credits include: The Michael J. Fox Show (NBS, Andy Fleming); Musical Theatre, MEMPHIS 1st National Tour, Hairspray (Fireside Theatre, WI) as characters Little Inez and one of the delectable Dynamites; Fame the musical (Macau, China: Macau International Music Festival) and The Harlem Nutcracker (Donald Byrd).
ADUKE AREMU (PLAYWRIGHT) Aduke Aremu grew up in Brooklyn, New York and attended Wingate High School, Hunter College and New York University. She is a pioneer producer and director of black children’s theatre in America having founded the critically acclaimed, Harlem Children’s Theatre company Harlem Children ‘s Theatre Company formerly located on NYC’s Theatre Row. The Harlem Children’s Theatre Company toured all of Aduke’s plays for several decades in the United States as well as Germany, France, Spain, Nigeria, Bermuda and Jamaica. Aduke has written 10 plays which were presented at The John F. Kennedy Center, The Public Theatre under director of Joe Papp, the Apollo Theatre, The Negro Ensemble, the Billie Holiday Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 42nd Street Theatre Row, Town Hall, The Hudson Guild Theatre, The Gene Franklin Theatre, and Theatre at Lincoln Center. Aduke Aremu won an Audelco Theatre Award for the children’s play the, Liberation of Mother Goose and received two U. S. Congressional Awards from Hon. Edolphus Towns (Former Congressman, Brooklyn) and Hon Yvette Clarke (Congresswoman, Brooklyn) for long-standing accomplishments in the arts and education. The Nigerian Consul General of New York also awarded her an outstanding playwright award for her writing about the African American diaspora as it relates to Nigerian culture. Aduke’s work with black children’s theatre was documented in a in a dissertation by Dr. Jacqui Scott from the University of Wisconsin. Aduke the educator founded two schools in NYC and served as a licensed principal. She currently hosts a radio talk show called the Princess Chronicles with a 40,000 nation-wide listener audience.
MARIO E. SPROUSE (MUSIC DIRECTOR) Mario E. Sprouse has been active in the arena of music, theater and film for over 41 years. Recently he has been involved with cataloging the massive music/media collection of the for late, legendary, modern Renaissance man, Gordon Parks. Mr. Sprouse performed at Mr.Parks’ Funeral at The Riverside Church in 2006 (and at the first). In addition, Mr. Sprouse was the music supervisor for three of Mr. Parks’ films: “Moment Without Proper Names”, “Martin __ A Film Ballet”, and the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary “Half-Past Autumn:the Life and Works of Gordon Parks.”He has been musical director for a number of theatrical events including: Black Nativity -. Gospel Song Play by Langston Hughes(Obie Award winner) – directed by Jesse Wooden Jr.; Lena Calhoun Home – the Civil Rights Journey of a Negro Women at the Billie Holiday Theatre. “The Dark Star born Harlem,” “Take It Easy” Sprouse won an award for the Best Musical Director from Spotlight On Productions he the play with music “. . .from the front porch” written and performed by Renee Flemings. Carmen McRae, Hubert Laws, Cornell Dupree, Buster Williams, Freddie Hubbard and Grover Washington, Jr. These are some of the noted jazz artists who have recorded his musical arrangements. Orchestration and original songs written by Mr. Sprouse have been performed live by Gregory Hines and Phylicia Rashad.He is currently the musical director for the blues, jazz and Caribbean band called, Circular Time .
The Youth Arts Academy Staff is as follows: Peggy Alston Director, Sabine LaFortune Program Manager, Edna Fulton Registrar/Bursar
Karlvy Smith Administrative Assistant, Sade’ Faulkner After School Coordinator; Interns: Trona Cenac, Brittany Davis, Faith Jordan, Production Staff: Director/Choreographer, Abdel Salaam
Assistant Choreographer, Naimah Saleem, Music Directors, Mario Sprouse, Brian Walker; Stage Manager, Sade’ Faulkner; Scenic Consultant, Patrice Davidson; Set Designer, Christopher Cumberbatch; Lighting Designer, Melody Beal, Sound Designer, David Lawson; Head of Wardrobe, Simone Knox; Costume Mistresses, Elania Lanier and Nicole London; Costume Designer, Minga Brown; Hair and Make-up, Elexsus Knox; Prop Master, Joshua McKenzie; Graphic Designer, Krystal Brown, Photographer, Damany Campbell;
Box Office Manager, Edna Fulton
The Billie Holiday Theater Incorporated Staff
Executive Director/Producer Marjorie Moon
Artistic Director Jackie Alexander, Resident Stage Manager Avan
Administrator Jonada R. Brunson, Director’s Assistant/Co. Manager Maiya Reves, Business Manager Carrie C. Reyes,
Maintenance Andre Ingram, Master Technician/Props/head Carpenter Jaime Durant, Scenic Artist Chris Cumberbatch, Light Board and Sound Operator Avan, Graphic Artist/Web-site Designer, Graphic artist for Play’s graphic above, Krystal Brown
Mr. Omar Epps has made a statement in the lives of these people and the play was phenomenal too. The Liberation of Mother Goose is a must-see… it hasn’t gone to Broadway but it is a Broadway play!
Aduke Aremu and the Dove, LLC Website
Restoration Youth Arts Academy Website
Omar Epps Website
Please look at more information about Omar Epps new show”