“Take the A-Train” from DC’s thriving music scene on U St. to the roaring nightlife of the most famous of Harlem clubs — from the revolutionary home of the True Reformers to New York’s famed Cotton Club – this joint will most definitely be jumpin’! Playwright Sybil Williams brings us stories of courageous people in turbulent times, told in a musical journey across immortal songs from gospel to the jazz age: songs by Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, others.
In old-time theatrical traditions, theater was not only a business but a family affair. I am reminded of this when KenYatta Rogers stepped up to direct three members of his family – wife (Michelle,) son (Kesai,) and daughter third grader daughter (Mecca) and other gathered “family.” The performers of songs and dances in From U Street to the Cotton Club take us on a journey from DC to Harlem and beyond and back home again.
- What was a song that was most memorable for you in the list of so many old time “hits” that came our way? And why did that song jump out at you?
- The songs and music of the period are knit together by a narrator in the character if Lena. How did the writer, Sybil R. Williams, want us to view this narrator’s story, and in what ways was she successful or not?
- In the space created, how did the humble elements of staging and production create an opportunity to experience a theatrical reality of “we the people… carrying the cares and loves and hopes and dreams of our past and delivering them to our children”?