Juneteenth Jamboree runs June 3–19
Hosted by Actors Theatre of Louisville, the 11th annual Juneteenth Jamboree is a celebration of new works by African-American playwrights and about the African-American experience. The three-week festival of new plays runs from June 3 to 19.
In the past, the Juneteenth Legacy Theatre has debuted its Juneteenth Jamboree plays as staged readings; however, this year’s audiences will instead encounter four full productions for four full productions each week. Many of the Juneteenth Jamboree performances in previous years have gone on to play in New York City.
- Juneteenth Blues Cabaret, book by Lorna Littleway, a theatrical concert of 24 blues classic, pays tribute to such legendary ladies of the blues as Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, the recently deceased Lena Horne, Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington. Set in the Cotton Club, a launching pad in Harlem for many jazz and blues greats in the 1920s and 1930s, Juneteenth Blues Cabaret celebrates these African-American female vocalists and their songs on men and love. Performances: June 3–5. Guest artists: Thyasis Walsh and Sue Lawless.
- Till by Ifa Bayeza explores the courage of Mamie Till Bradley, mother of 14-year-old Emmett, murdered in Mississippi in 1955. Mrs. Bradley’s decision to allow the world to see her son’s mutilated corpse at the funeral in Chicago captured the nation’s attention and spurred the passage of anti-lynching legislation. Performances: June 10–12. Guest artist: Sue Lawless.
- How Long Have I Been Dead Anyway by Carrider Jones is a comedy in which an elderly couple strives to persuade their local Social Security office that they haven’t passed on. Performances: June 10–12. Guest artist: Sue Lawless.
- Passing Ceremonies by Steve Willis imagines a meeting between African-American poets Bruce Nugent and Essex Hemphill. Nugent, a Harlem Renaissance figure and one of the first openly African-American writers, and Hemphill, an AIDS activist, trace the advances and obstacles to equality. Performances: June 17–19. Guest artists: Bryan Webster and Sue Lawless.
There will also be a monologue workshop on June 5 at 2 p.m., a play-writing workshop on June 12 at 2 p.m. and audition workshop on June 19 at 2 p.m.
Play performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday. All performances and workshops at Actor Theatre’s Victor Jory Theater.
Juneteenth Blues Cabaret has already played in four cities in Kentucky — Louisville, Elizabethtown, Campbellsville and Hopkinsville — and in Indiana and New York City. Lorna Littleway, the author, was co-founder of Juneteenth Legacy Theatre, Kentucky’s only professional African-American theater company.
Tickets cost $10 for Thursday performances and $15 for Friday and Saturday performances. A festival pass is $25 for Thursday performances and $39 for Friday and Saturday performances. Workshop tickets are $15 each or $35 for all three. Tickets can be ordered online or by calling (502) 584–1205.
Posted on May 17, 2010 by Ivonne Rovira