Legendary choreographer, dancer, and director George Faison revives the writings of influential African Americans in the staged production Steppin' Out of the Negro Caravan. This anthology of key literary works that have greatly influenced the thinking of African Americans will take place on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 8pm in the historic Ira Aldridge Theater.
Along for the ride, Debbie Allen, Avery Brooks, Lynda Gravatt and Joe Coleman will help bring the "Negro Caravan" back to life while presenting a truthful mosaic of African American experiences in America. The Negro Caravan is a journey through black literature, from the likes of Phyllis Wheatley, Jupiter Hammon and Richard Wright, and was the inspiration for writers of current ?ction. In The Negro Caravan, every literary form is represented, from the short story and novel to drama, to historical, cultural, social and personal essays.
Featuring guest artists Trustee Debbie Allen, Avery Brooks, Lynda Gravatt and Joe Coleman and students from the Department of Theatre Arts and English, Steppin' Out of the Negro Caravan is a tribute to all the shoulders on which the Howard legacy stands. Speci?cally, what you will experience through this journey emphasizes the development of this legacy from the Nineteenth century through its expression as chronicled in the pages of The Negro Caravan the ?rst anthology of African American sociological, political, ideological, cultural and aesthetic thought. The production itself is confluence of voices and persistence of gestures uttering and signing the continued struggle and triumph, frustration and re-determination of a people overcoming horror, and seeking life, liberty, dignity, and values "overlaid and blessed with truth and love and peace":
The Griot's chants echo the voices of Sterling Brown, Margaret Walker Alexander, Lance Jeffers, and Laurence Paul Neal. The Young Man's Speech echoes the voices of Nikki Giovanni and Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Toure). The Conversation in Harrison's bar echoes the voices of Sterling Brown, Randolph Edmonds, and Nikki Giovanni. Madam is the creation and power of Langston Hughes. The Music, past and present, is the art of African American transformative sound.
Steppin' Out of The Negro Caravan, a dramatic production commemorating the seventy-first anniversary of the groundbreaking anthology of Professors Sterling A. Brown, Arthur P. Davis, and Ulysses Lee, The Negro Caravan, honors Howard University's continual prescient scholarship. The Sterling Brown Endowment Initiative at Howard University, supported by a Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, launches a year-long commemoration of the seventy-first anniversary of The Negro Caravan, published in 1941. This landmark anthology of African American creative and theoretical production edited by the venerable Howard University professors Sterling A. Brown and Arthur P. Davis and Morgan State University professor Ulysses G. Lee, is the focus of the 2011-12 Initiative. "Few books acquire the status of legends, but this is one," proclaims historian Julius Lester in the "Introduction" to the most recent edition of The Negro Caravan, published by Arno Press.
Tickets are now on sale at $35 general admission and $150 VIP tickets (Patrons). Purchases of 10 or more $150 tickets are Gift Donors. Patrons and gift donors are invited to a VIP reception at 6:30pm in the Cramton Auditorium preceding the 8pm production. Steppin' Out of the Negro Caravan will be performed in Ira Aldridge Theater, located at 2455 6th Street, NW (located next door to Cramton Auditorium on Howard University's campus), on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 8pm. For tickets call (202) 806-7700.
Visit www.coas.howard.edu/theatrearts for more information.