blessing the boats: the remix

blessing the boats: the remix

As part of Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited

June 27-29, 8PM, June 30, 3PM

Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Theater Two, 199 Chambers Street Theatre

First come, first served – box office opens 45 min. prior to curtain

Co-commissioned by LMCC and BMCC, presented as part of Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited and as part of the River To River Festival

A re-imagining of an original play written and performed by Sekou Sundiata

From April to October 2013, fourteen New York arts and educational institutions will come together for Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited, a city-wide retrospective produced by MAPP International Productions.  Blink Your Eyes honors and explores the legacy of artist, poet, and educator Sekou Sundiata through a series of events including the re-imagining of major theater pieces and concerts of poetry and music, as well as poetry readings, humanities programs, and community engagement activities. To learn more about Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited, please click here.

During the retrospective, LMCC will present blessing the boats: the remix, a powerful re-imagining of one of Sekou Sundiata’s seminal works. Originally presented as a solo performance, director Rhodessa Jones revisits Sundiata’s story of life-threatening illness and miraculous recovery as told through the unique interplay of three next-generation poet/performers: Will Power, Carl Hancock Rux, and Mike Ladd. These three compelling voices revive Sundiata’s incisive writing, finding the universal in the particular and exploring Sundiata’s complexities and contradictions. This “remix” of Sundiata’s play as a ritual encompasses language, music, and visual projections of healing and hope. 

This spring, there will be two iterations of blessing the boats: the remix;  a staged reading in April and the culminating performance featured in the River To River Festival 2013. 

blessing the boats: the remix -  Performance
Thursday, June 27-Saturday, June 29, 8PM; Sunday, June 30, 3PM at BMCC’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center
Stay tuned for more information.

Past Events:
blessing the boats: the remix - A Staged Reading
April 12 & 13, 7:30PM
The Apollo Soundstage Theater
253 West 125th Street
Between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard (7th Avenue) and Frederick Douglass Boulevard (8th Avenue) 


Rhodessa Jones is Co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco acclaimed performance company Cultural Odyssey. She is an actress, teacher, singer, and writer. Ms. Jones is also the Director of the award winning Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, which is a performance workshop designed to achieve personal and social transformation with incarcerated women. Ms. Jones was most recently selected as an “Arts Envoy” by the U.S. Department of State, Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau to conduct an international residency/workshop process inside the Naturena Women’s Prison in Johannesburg, South Africa. The residency utilizes the medium of theater, movement, and literature to increase self and social awareness and explores an arts-based approach to help reduce the numbers of women returning to jail. Ms. Jones’ directing credits include; Lysistrata, for the African American Shakespeare Company; My Life in the Concrete Jungle, The Lorraine Hansberry Theater, San Francisco; and Sekou Sundiata’s Blessing the Boats, Aaron Davis Hall, New York.

Writer and music producer, Michael C. Ladd was born in Boston, MA. He has published in several literary magazines including Long Shot Review and Bostonia. His work is also featured in the book Swing Low, Black Men Writing and several anthologies, including, Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café, In Defense of Mumia, and Bum Rush The Page. Ladd is the writer and producer of ten albums, among them, Easy Listening For Armageddon (Scratchie/Mercury records). As a Fellow at the Institute for Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University, Mr. Ladd produced and directed Blood Black and Blue, an audio documentary/performance about Black police officers in the United States. Most recently, Ladd has been an Artist-in-Residence at L’abbaye de Royaumont and Harlem Stage. Ladd received an MA in poetry from Boston University and currently lives in Paris with his wife and two children.

Will Power is an award-winning playwright and performer. Power’s adaptation of the Greek tragedy Seven Against Thebes, retitled The Seven, enjoyed a successful Off-Broadway run at the New York Theater Workshop and The La Jolla Playhouse. His solo show FLOW was featured in the Hip Hop Theater Festival before touring nationally and internationally to critical acclaim.  Power’s numerous awards include a United States Artist Prudential Fellowship, a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, the TCG Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, a Jury Award for Best Theatre Performance at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival, and the Trailblazer Award from The National Black Theater Network.  Power’s numerous film and television appearances include The Steven Colbert Report (Comedy Central), and Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason (PBS). Presently, Power is in the process of developing new works for The Dallas Theatre Center, The Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, Hartford Stage, and The Royal Shakespeare Company.

Carl Hancock Rux is a writer and recording artist who crosses the disciplines of poetry, theater, film, music, and literary fiction. His critically acclaimed debut CD, Rux Revue (Sony Music), was voted one of the top ten alternative music CDs of 1998 (New York Times). With his powerful eleven-piece band, Rux has brought down the house at festivals like Transmusicales and Central Park Summerstage and at venues from the Jazz CafÈ in London to the new Casa da Musica in Porto, Portugal. 

His plays and performance works have been produced and or commissioned throughout the United States and internationally at venues including The Public Theater, the Robert E. Fischer Center for the Performing Arts, PS 122, the Kitchen, HERE Arts Center, Lincoln Center, BAM Harvey Theater (Next Wave Festival), REDCAT, Mass MOCA, University of Ghana at Legon, Ebenezor Experimental Theater Festival, Maison des Arts (Creteil, France), and the Victoria Theater (Singapore) among others.

blessing the boats: the remix – a Staged Reading is presented as part of BLINK YOUR EYES: Sekou Sundiata Revisited, a New York City-wide retrospective produced by MAPP International Productions.  Lead support for BLINK YOUR EYES has been provided by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation New York City Cultural Innovation Fund.  Major funds have been provided by Surdna Foundation, the Lambent Foundation of the Tides Foundation, Leveraging Investments for Creativity and The Ford Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Axe-Houghton Foundation and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. 

The residency and reading of blessing the boats: the remix at the Apollo Theater was supported through the Apollo’s Salon Series program.
Major support for the Apollo Theater Salon Series is from the Reginald Van Lee Fund for New Works and the Ford Foundation Fund for Global Programs.  Additional funding provided by the New York State Council on the Arts. 

The development and presentation of blessing the boats: the remix is supported by The Apollo Theater’s Salon Series, the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), and the 2013 River To River Festival. Major support for blessing the boats: the remix comes from the Ford Foundation. 

The development and presentation of blessing the boats: the remix is supported by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) and its River To River Festival 2013.  LMCC’s Public Programs are supported, in part, by Ameriprise Financial, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Charina Endowment Fund, F.B. Heron Foundation, and Lambent Foundation. LMCC’s Public Programs are also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts. Leadership support for the River To River Festival from the Alliance for Downtown New York, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Westfield, and American Express.  Major support for blessing the boats: the remix comes from the Ford Foundation.


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