On Monday, May 18, 2020, at 7 pm, Harlem Stage,
the legendary uptown performing arts venue will host an online premiere celebration on Facebook and Instagram in place of its annual spring gala.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Harlem Stage is forced to cancel its in-person event but is pleased to premiere a virtual event to be enjoyed by all arts and culture lovers.
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The online event is a tribute to artists, activists, and creators, and celebrates Harlem Stage’s more than 35 years as an institution known for commissioning and presenting new, innovative work that reflects and responds to the complex conditions that shape the lives of artists and communities of color.
Celebrating Harlem Stage will be hosted by award-winning Broadway, television and film actor, LaChanze, producer, director, and award-winning actor, Harlem’s Tamara Tunie, and award-nominated, rising Broadway actor, Celia Rose Gooding. Hosts and Harlem Stage will be responding to live comments throughout the event.
Viewers can see new and archival musical performances by legendary rock star Nona Hendryx fresh off the heels of her multi-sensory WaterWorks commissioned performance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this spring. Also featured will be jazz pianist, composer, and MacArthur Genius Jason Moran, jazz and hip-hop star José James, Harlem Stage WaterWorks artist, Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité and other musical guests. The gala will feature special appearances by MSNBC host and anchor, Joy Reid, dance legend Bill T. Jones, stars of television and film, Claire Danes, Hugh Dancy, hip-hop pioneer, Fab 5 Freddy, and star of television and film, Tate Donovan, among others.
Like so many arts organizations, especially those dedicated to serving artists of color and making their work accessible to the community, Harlem Stage is facing economic challenges like never before. Due to the cancellation of their annual spring gala, their most critical fundraiser of the year, Harlem Stage is facing a significant revenue gap that could undermine their ability to continue the mission they have so proudly championed for more than 35 years.
The event can be viewed on Harlem Stage’s Facebook and Instagram channels via the below links.
Donations are welcome to ensure the continued existence of Harlem Stage and its ability to discover, support, and commission works by visionary artists of color, and present those works at low, or no cost, to the community.
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“The closure of performing arts venues due to COVID-19 has been difficult for artists, administrators, stakeholders and for audiences. This online celebration will showcase our mission to a wider audience and hopefully raise the critical funds needed to continue to support visionary artists of color whose daring works inspire and uplift our community and our world” said Patricia Cruz, Executive Director of Harlem Stage.
Harlem Stage is the performing arts center that bridges Harlem’s cultural legacy to contemporary artists of color and dares to provide the artistic freedom that gives birth to new ideas. For over 35 years Harlem Stage has been one of the nation’s leading arts organizations, achieving this distinction through its work with artists of color and by facilitating a productive engagement with the communities it serves through the performing arts. With a long-standing tradition of supporting artists and organizations around the corner and across the globe, Harlem Stage boasts such legendary artists as Harry Belafonte, Max Roach, Sekou Sundiata, Abbey Lincoln, Sonia Sanchez, Eddie Palmieri, Maya Angelou and Tito Puente, as well as contemporary artists like Maimouna Youssef aka Mumu Fresh, Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité, Bill T. Jones, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Tamar-kali, Vijay Iyer, Mike Ladd, Stew, Meshell Ndegeocello, Jason Moran, José James, Nona Hendryx and more. Its education program each year provides over 2,000 New York City children with an introduction and access to the rich diversity, excitement, and inspiration of the performing arts.
In 2006, Harlem Stage opened the landmarked, award-winning Harlem Stage Gatehouse. This once abandoned space, originally a pivotal source for distributing fresh water to New York City, is now a vital source of creativity, ideas and culture. Harlem Stage is a winner of the William Dawson Award for Programming Excellence and Sustained Achievement in Programming (Association of Performing Arts Presenters).
Major support for this event provided by Manhattan Beer Distributors, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., WarnerMedia, LLC/HBO, SESAC, and others. For a complete list of sponsors and supporters visit https://www.harlemstage.org/gala2020
Celebrating Harlem Stage, May 18, 2020, 7 PM ET
Photo credit: 1) Tamara Tune. 2) Celia Rose Gooding. 3) lachanze. 4) Jose James. 4) Nona Hendrix.