Archives for : BROADWAY

Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928- May 28, 2014)

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Poet Maya Angelou dies at age 86Maya Angelou, a renowned poet, novelist and actress whose work defied description under a simple label, has died, her literary agent, Helen Brann, said Wednesday.
She died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Brann said.

A professor, singer and dancer, Angelou’s work spans several professions. In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded her with the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.
She spent her early years studying dance and drama in San Francisco, but dropped out at age 14, instead becoming the city’s first African-American female cable car conductor.
Angelou later returned to high school to finish her diploma and gave birth a few weeks after graduation. While the 17-year-old single mother waited tables to support her son, she acquired a passion for music and dance, and toured Europe in
the mid-1950s in the opera production “Porgy and Bess.” In 1957, she recorded her first album, “Calypso Lady.” In 1958, Angelou become a part of the Harlem Writers Guild in New York and also played a queen in “The Blacks,” an off-Broadway production by French dramatist Jean Genet.
Affectionately referred to as Dr. Angelou, the professor never went to college. She has more than 30 honorary degrees and taught American studies for years at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.
“I created myself,” she has said. “I have taught myself so much.”
Angelou was born April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. She grew up between St. Louis and the then-racially-segregated town of Stamps, Arkansas.
The famous poet got into writing after a childhood tragedy that stunned her into silence for years. When she was 7, her mother’s boyfriend raped her. He was later beaten to death by a mob after she testified against him.
“My 7-and-a-half-year-old logic deduced that my voice had killed him, so I stopped speaking for almost six years,” she said. From the silence, a louder voice was born.
Her list of friends is as impressive as her illustrious career. Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey referred to her as “sister friend.” She counted Martin Luther King Jr., with whom she worked during the Civil Rights movement, among her friends. King was assassinated on her birthday.
Angelou spoke at least six languages, and worked at one time as a newspaper editor in Egypt and Ghana. During that period, she wrote “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” launching the first in a series of autobiographical books.
“I want to write so well that a person is 30 or 40 pages in a book of mine … before she realizes she’s reading,” Angelou said.
She was also one of the first black women film directors. Her work on Broadway has been nominated for Tony Awards.
Before making it big, the 6-foot-tall wordsmith also worked as a cook and sang with a traveling road show. “Look where we’ve all come from … coming out of darkness, moving toward the light,” she once said. “It is a long journey, but a sweet one, bittersweet.”

Carmen De Lavallade: Back To Business!

 

 

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The majestic dance icon Carmen de Lavallade is on Facebook AND Instagram (@carmendelavallade) !!!! According to her official website, Ms. de Lavallade is currently in rehearsals for “As I Remember It” at Baryshnikov Art Center in New York City. The show will have its world premier at Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts in June 2014 and will tour nationally through 2015.

Juanita Moore:October 19, 1914-January 1, 2014

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Juanita Moore (October 19, 1914 – January 1, 2014) was an American film, television, and stage actress. She was the fifth African American to be nominated for an Academy Award in any category, and the third in the Supporting Actress category at a time when only a single African American had won an Oscar. Her most famous role was as Annie Johnson in the movie Imitation of Life (1959).

 

Born in Los Angeles in 1914, Moore was a chorus girl at the Cotton Club before becoming a film extra while working in theater. After making her film debut in Pinky (1949),[1] she had a number of bit parts and supporting roles in motion pictures through the 1950s and 1960s. However, her role in Imitation of Life (1959), a remake, as housekeeper Annie Johnson, whose daughter Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner) passes for white, won her a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for the role.[2] When the two versions of Imitation of Life were released together on DVD, the earlier film was released in 1934, one of the bonus features was a new interview with Juanita Moore.

Moore continued to perform in front of the camera, with a role in the movie Disney’s The Kid (2000) and guest-starring roles on television shows Dragnet, Marcus Welby, M.D., ER and Judging Amy.

On April 23, 2010, a new print of Imitation of Life (1959) was screened at the TCM Film Festival in Los Angeles, to which Moore and co-star Kohner were invited. After the screening, the two women appeared on stage for a question-and-answer session hosted by TCM’s Robert Osborne. Moore and Kohner received standing ovations.

Moore was married for 50 years to Charles Burris; he died in 2001. He was a Los Angeles bus driver and, although she was a frequent passenger, she had stepped out in front of his approaching bus to cross the street to a local bar, hoping to find someone to study for the Inès Serrano role in the play No Exit—Serrano was a lesbian, and Moore was unfamiliar with the lifestyle. She and Burris married a few weeks later.

Her grandson is actor/producer Kirk Kelley-Kahn, who is CEO/President of “Cambridge Players – Next Generation”, a theatre troupe whose founding members included Moore, Esther Rolle, Helen Martin, Lynn Hamilton and Royce Wallace.[

Moore died at her home in Los Angeles on January 1, 2014, from natural causes. She was 99 years old.

Broadway:Talent Has No Color!

Gershwin discussed Etta Moten Barnett singing the part of “Bess” in his new work Porgy and Bess, which he had written with her in mind. She was concerned about trying a role above her natural range of contralto. In the 1942 revival, she did accept the role of “Bess”, but she would not sing the word “nigger”, which Ira Gershwin subsequently wrote out of the libretto. Through her performances on Broadway and with the national touring company until 1945, she captured Bess as her signature role.999442_613544122041117_473139520_n

Rihanna:New York State Of Mine!

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According to the New York Daily News, the singer’s new digs are in an apartment building right on the border of Chinatown and SOHO in Manhattan.  The Lafayette Avenue building has some pretty high priced units and this particular duplex was actually on the market for over $14 million, but Rihanna was able to rent it at a much more reasonable price.

The loft apartment, located on the 11th and 12th floors of the building, has four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, and a 2,4000 square foot wraparound terrace with fabulous views of the city.

It also has a six foot deep bath tub in the master bathroom that gives a direct view of the Empire State Building.

The Berry Gordy Story: Part 1

gordy1_thumbTHE BERRY GORDY STORY Prt1.
Mr Berry Gordy Jr was the most important non-performer in the history of Rock & Roll.During the years from 1959-1971 when his Motown Record Company headquartered in Detroit,Gordy Jr established it as the largest and most successful undependent record label in The US and a major force in the integration of popular music.

 

Over the years the Motown Sound has become a genre of music in itelf around the world,and its stars and hit songs have added luster to many feature films,television productions and documentaries.Berry Gordy Jr was born on Nov 28th 1929 in Detroit,Michigan,he was the 7th of 8 children raised by Berry ”Pops” Gordy and his wife Bertha who had moved from their family from Georgia to the Motor City in 1922.

 

The Gordy family was close-knit and hard work was stressed. The children were expected to work in either the family owned grocery  store or its plaster contracting business in Detroits inner City.

Richard Roundtree: Happy Birthday!

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Lil Wayne: Trunkfit!

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The Marvettes: Motown’s Finest!

july 8 1971On July 8, 1961 The Marvelettes signed with Motown, bringing “Please Mr. Postman” with them!  By December, the song – their debut single – became The Marvelettes’ first No. 1 on the pop charts. Listen here:  http://goo.gl/kKhJZ

Motown Revue:The Early Years!

Berry Gordy’s Motortown Revue. From left: Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Eddie Kendricks, Elbridge Bryant, Uriel Jones, Otis Williams, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin, Diana Ross, Robert Bullock, Patrice Gordy, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson.

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David Alen Grier: Happy Birthday!

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Mike Tyson: Happy BIRTHDAY!

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Marilyn Coleman: Rest In Peace

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George Lucas & Mellody Hobson: Mr. & Mrs. Hollywod

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Diana Ross & Tracee Ellis Ross:Portafino Italy

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Cornelius Grant: R & B Best Kept Secret!

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Who is Cornelius Grant?  For shame!  You call yourself a historian of soul?  Well put this in your Trivia Pursuit.  What man was the original guitarist, arranger and co songwriter for some of the Temptations biggest hits?  Wait there’s more.  In addition he was a musical conductor for Mary Wells and Marvin Gaye as a teenager.  That’s right, Cornelius Grant.  As of late, Grant has been trying to give props to some legendary folks that he feels have not quite gotten their shine. It is to that end that he created the “Skoole Awards.”

The award show is about showing love to the music industry.  “We invented an award called the ‘Skoole’ that we’re going to give to Old School artists and old school pioneers in the business,” he explained.

“The first recipient will be the last surviving member of the Platters, Herb Lee.  By the way, at the Grammy’s this year, ‘Wait Mr. Postman’ has been nominated for the Hall of Fame.  I figured they deserve an award.  I’m also working on Little Richard.  It’s looking pretty good.  I’ve been waiting to speak to him directly.  I’ve already spoken to Herb and his manager, we’re flying him in and we’re also flying in Katherine and the Marvelettes.  Little Richard should be in town shortly.  So, we should be finalizing that.”

 

As mentioned previously, Grant was creatively involved with the Temptations for about 20 years.  He has witnessed, and sometimes aided in, the creation of some of their greatest hits.  In addition to the “Skoole Awards,” Grant also runs an Internet TV show called Flashbacks and Newtraks at CorneliusGrant.com.

Florence Mills: Super Star!

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One of the earliest Black superstars, singer Florence Mills (1896-1927) on August 1, 1923 in ‘Dover Street to Dixie’ at the London Pavilion. Best known as the lead in the first all-black Broadway musical, “Shuffle Along” in 1921, Ms. Mills …sudden death in 1927 at the height of her popularity devastated her friends and fans in the United States and Europe. An estimated 150,000 people lined the streets of Harlem to mourn her passing.  Photo: Bassano/National Portrait Gallery, London

Bob Fosse: Happy Birthday!

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Katherin Dunham: Happy Birthday!

Sanna Lathan: Hot Cat On A Tin Roof!

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#flashbackfriday Winter in London. Hotel room photo shoot. Lived there for 6 months doing 8 shows a week of Tennesse Williams Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
 
 I  played Maggie the Cat, one of the most challenging and yet rewarding exeriences of my life.
We were an all black cast with James Earle Jones, Phylicia Rashad, and Adrian Lester…
All true geniuses. London loved us. Standing o’s every night. : ) #theaterismyfirstlove

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