ASHFORD & SIMPSON’S INVISIBLE LIFE THE MUSICAL AT THE APOLLO THEATRE
Ann McCormack will be performing the role of CANDANCE in the new musical INVISIBLE LIFE THE MUSICAL based on E. Lynn Harris’ best-selling novel “Invisible Life,” beginning June 25 at the APOLLO THEATRE in New York City. The cast includes Tony Award nominee Brenda Braxton as Mama Tyler, Grammy-nominated singer and actress Frenchie Davis as JJ, Tony Award nominee Vivian Reed as Aunt Susan, Milton Craig Nealy (Motown, Dreamgirls) as Coach Tyler, Gregory Williams as Raymond Tyler Jr., Brianna Horne as Sela and Terry Lavell (La Cage Aux Folles) as Kyle.
A musical adaptation of best-selling author E. Lynn Harris’ 1994 novel “Invisible Life,” which tracks one man’s coming of age and his experiences in bisexual and gay culture, is being reborn as a new musical featuring a score by hit-makers Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson.
Proteus Spann and Javon Johnson, who collaborated on the musical’s book, are directing the showcase that has music and lyrics by Ashford and Simpson and additional lyrics by Stanley Bennett Clay. Ashford and Simpson are the songwriters behind such Motown hits as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Your Precious Love,” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” “You’re All I Need to Get By” and “Reach Out and Touch.”
The musical, and its source material, which tackles issues of race, religion, gay identity and AIDS, centers on “Raymond, a college football player, who dreams of a future as a lawyer and family man with his childhood sweetheart Sela, but is seduced into a Down-Low romance by star Quarterback, Basil Hernderson. Pressured by his Father to continue his NFL legacy, Raymond escapes to New York City and falls madly in love with a Broadway Diva, Nicole. Raymond’s scandal-reunion with Basil, and fashionista best friends Kyle and JJ, threatens his ‘Perfect World’ and forces Raymond to ‘Live his Life in Truth…'”
IMANI UZURI: ‘CONJURE WOMAN’
A POSTMODERN CANTATA FOR STRINGS, VOICES AND FLUTE
Friday, March 6 (8pm) Avant Music Festival at The Wild Project
(195 E. 3rd Street, New York, NY)
Imani Uzuri (composer and contralto), Steven Herring (baritone), Ann McCormack (soprano), Keith Doelling (tenor), Kaoru Watanabe (flute), Pala Garcia, Trina Basu (violins), Dana Lynn (viola) and Marika Hughes (cello).
Uzuri introduces the world premiere of her new cantata Conjure Woman, inspired by the eclectic composer’s rural Southern roots, embodied within the coded, polyphonic and revelatory legacy of the Black American quilt making tradition. The composition will feature string quartet, four voices and flute. It takes as its main text a passage from American novelist Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon: “The singing woman … wrapped herself up in an old quilt … her eyes fixed … she sang in a powerful contralto.” (The concert will also include additional compositions from Uzuri’s eclectic repertoire.)
The Village Voice says, “With a voice that would sound equally at home on an opera stage or a disco 12-inch, Imani Uzuri is a constant surprise…seamlessly combining jazz, classical, country and blues motifs into highly personalized compositions.” Uzuri’s music highlights her affinity for her African-American cultural musical practices such as antiphony, polyrhythms, multi-layered harmonies and the use of melisma. Her compositions for rock combos, acoustic ensembles, choral ensembles, chamber orchestra, musical theater, sound installations and solo voice are also influenced by her travels to places like Hungary, Morocco, Ethiopia, Russia, Kazakhstan and Japan.
Uzuri has collaborated as a composer and performer with a wide range of noted artists across various artistic disciplines including avant-garde composer Robert Ashley; jazz luminaries Herbie Hancock and Vijay Iyer; acclaimed visual artists Wangechi Mutu, Carrie Mae Weems, Sanford Biggers and award winning choreographer Trajal Harrell. Her first orchestral composition, Placeless, premiered at the Ecstatic Music Festival; she was subsequently named by The New Yorker as one of the emerging “female composers edg[ing] forward.” Time Out New Yorksays, “[Uzuri] never fails to mesmerize with her narcotic blend of…ethereal sounds.”