New Federal Theatre's "50 Years in the Groove" November 14
will be a "Club Quarantine" for theater.
Radio stars Felix Hernandez and G. Keith Alexander will team up with celebs for a Rhythm Revue salute to one of America's longest-running and most prominent Black theaters.
NEW YORK, November 6 -- Two of New York's most beloved radio hosts, Felix Hernandez (WBGO's Rhythm Revue Dance Party) and G. Keith Alexander (WBLS from 1973-2017), are teaming up November 14, 2020 for "50 Years In The Groove," a Rhythm Revue salute to Woodie King, Jr.'s New Federal Theatre (NFT). It'll be an evening of music and celebrity interviews celebrating the history and achievements of one of America's longest-running and most prominent Black theaters, which is now in its 50th season.
On Saturday, November 14 an evening of dance music and remembrances will be streamed from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM on the New Federal Theatre website (www.newfederaltheatre.com) and on Harlem America (www.HarlemAmerica.com), a radio podcast channel founded recently by G. Keith Alexander. The evening will adapt the festive style of DJ D-Nice's "Club Quarantine" to theatrical subjects. Celebrities attending will include actors Danny Glover, and Robert Hooks and singer Sarah Dash (co-founder of Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles). These stars and surprise guests will chat with NFT founder Woodie King, Jr. about the Theater's storied history. Their interviews will be interlaced with a very dance-able 70s-'80s Rhythm Revue that has been selected and mixed by Felix Hernandez to recreate the aural environment of New Federal Theater's formative years.
G. Keith Alexander will emcee and moderate the discussions. Listeners will be able to do more than dance to the mix: since the program will be powered by YouTube, audience members will be able to log in and leave comments.
Admission is free but donations will be gratefully accepted.
This evening is the brainchild of Valerie Graves, Petronia Paley and New Federal Theatre's Audience Development Committee. In the course of the evening, attendees will be able to register for breaking news of NFT's upcoming virtual productions. Now in its 50th year, the theater is eagerly pivoting to the "new tech." So far this season, its virtual productions have included a poetry jam honoring the powerful voices who invigorate today's Black verse and a series of retrospective playreadings in which five rarely-done yet noteworthy plays, all previously produced by NFT, were recreated by accomplished actors.
Technical supervisor for "50 Years In The Groove" is Kai Deveraux Lawson.
ABOUT FELIX HERNANDEZ
Felix Hernandez started his career as a producer and radio journalist while in college. In the 1980’s, he independently produced the award-winning radio series BluesStage, which had a 6 year run on over 200 NPR stations. He also worked extensively as a journalist with WBEZ (Chicago) and NPR. In 1986, Felix joined WBGO with the classic soul and dance music show Rhythm Revue. The program has also aired on New York's WBLS, WRKS ("Kiss-FM"), WTJM (Jammin' 105) as well as Sirius/XM. In 1991, he started the Rhythm Revue Dance Party, an event which, over 22 years, helped facilitate the revival of the Roseland Ballroom and continues to sell out venues throughout the New York metro area.
ABOUT G. KEITH ALEXANDER
G. Keith Alexander, born and raised in Chicago, started at the Chicago station WGCI and was a leading host on WBLS in New York from 1973 to 2017. He is now a voice-over actor. His on-camera appearances include "The Intern" (2015), "Final Rinse" (1999) and "Osa" (1986). This year, he is founding the podcast network Harlem America to be a "Total Black Experience in Entertainment, Empowerment and Health & Wellness."
ABOUT CLUB QUARANTINE
Since March 17, 2020, DJ D-Nice has used his Instagram feed to stream DJ sets from his apartment in downtown L.A. The shows, billed as “Club Quarantine” or “Home School,” have emerged as the place-to-be musical happenings of the lockdown: dance parties with a buoyant mix of disco, funk, soul and hip-hop that have drawn hundreds of thousands of virtual revelers and a range of celebrities including Rihanna, Oprah Winfrey and Joe Biden.
ABOUT NEW FEDERAL THEATRE
New Federal Theatre’s Mission is to integrate artists of color and women into the mainstream of American theater by training artists for the profession, and by presenting plays by writers of color and women to integrated, multicultural audiences - plays which evoke the truth through beautiful and artistic re-creations of ourselves.
Founded by Woodie King, Jr. in 1970, NFT started as an outgrowth of a theater program called Mobilization for Youth. This neighborhood-based professional theater was originally funded by the Henry Street Settlement along with a small grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. The theater’s first season was launched in the basement of St. Augustine’s Church on Henry Street. Several early successes brought NFT to national prominence. "Black Girl" by J.e. Franklin won a Drama Desk Award. "The Taking of Miss Janie" by Ed Bullins moved from NFT to Lincoln Center and won the Drama Critics Circle Award. "For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf" by Ntozake Shange, a co-production of NFT and Joseph Papp's Public Theater, performed on Broadway for 10 months and was nominated for the Tony Award before embarking on a three-year national tour. It has been performed regionally and around the world and was revived off-Broadway in 2019.
Many performers have benefited from early successes on NFT’s stage, including the late Chadwick Boseman, Debbie Allen, Morgan Freeman, Phylicia Rashad, Denzel Washington, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Issa Rae, and many more.
New Federal Theatre has been offering Off-Broadway productions in Castillo Theatre, 543 West 42nd Street, since 2015.
In May, 2020 the Off Broadway Alliance named Woodie King, Jr., Founding Director of New Federal Theatre, a "Legend of Off Broadway," recognizing his sustained achievement in Off Broadway theater. Last month, Elizabeth Van Dyke became NFT's Artistic Director while Woodie King, Jr. continues as Producing Director.
For more info see: https://newfederaltheatre.com/mission-and-history/.
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