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Arts-Culture/Harlem Song
May 29, 2002

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Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:
Harlem Song

by Anna-Kaye Burgher
photos by Anthony Henry


For the first time in its 89-year history, the world-famous Apollo Theatre will premiere a long-running production this summer. Harlem Song, a new musical written and directed by acclaimed playwright/composer/producer George C. Wolf will open in July, showcasing the extraordinary music and spirit that has characterized Harlem from the 1920's to the present.

Mr. Wolfe conceived Harlem Song a year ago, with the goal of conveying a sense of Harlem's power, energy, and vitality throughout the 20th century. He hopes the musical represents Harlem's youth culture as well, with an engaging display of the way youth culture has redefined today's cultural landscape. Wolfe is clearly confident about his new project.

On Thursday April 11th, a party was held at Jimmy's Uptown Café (appropriately located in Harlem) to promote the upcoming production. Influential personalities from the black theater and entertainment community filled the room as the walls reverberated with talk, laughter and smooth jazz.

Actor/musician/director Harry Belfonte, a co-chairperson for the event (along with Whoopi Goldberg), spoke about his commitment to helping Harlem Song succeed. Belafonte told the crowd that one of his goals with Harlem Song is to help the community understand its roots, and to appreciate its rich culture. "It is magnificent to celebrate what we have achieved through the power of voice and culture as we experience growth, joys and sadness through our songs" stated Belafonte.

I also spoke with Ida Epps to discuss her views and comments on the upcoming musical. Her goal is to influence people to do business (regarding theatre, ticket sales, etc.) through her organization, Epps Theatre Party Specialists. The organization looks to aid in the promotion of new productions similar to Harlem Song. Overall, with supporters like Epps and Belafonte, housing by the legendary Apollo, and creative work by like George Wolf, the future of Harlem theatre fails to appear anything but promising.

Return to HL's Harlem Song Main Page

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