Cleveland, OH - Playhouse Square traditionally hosts in-person events for Black History Month, but due to the pandemic, the performing arts center will offer a pair of virtual performances instead.
The first is Step Afrika!’s “Stono,” premiering Feb. 1 and running through Feb. 14.
“Stono was created as a streaming performance, and I tuned in for the world premiere online on September 9, 2020 – the anniversary of the historic Stono Rebellion,” says Playhouse Square Vice President of Community Engagement & Education Daniel Hahn. “Step Afrika! takes this important but too-little-known moment of history and retells it as only this world-class company of energizing dancers can.”
The performance tells the story of the 1739 slave rebellion on the banks of the Stono River in South Carolina. Though the uprising is a relatively little known event in history and was ultimately unsuccessful, it gave birth to percussive movements, which would change African American life and culture forever.
Next up is “Rhapsody in Black,” available to stream Feb. 22-28. LeLand Gantt stars in this one-man show that, Hahn says, “profoundly and personally explores the issues of contemporary racial issues in America.”
In the piece, Gantt recounts his personal journey growing up poor and Black in the ghettos of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, eventually rising to a successful acting career only to experience instances of racism again as he is looked at as the perpetual “other.” Following the show’s online run, Gantt will appear for a live Q&A on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.
The virtual performances, presented in partnership with University Hospitals, are free to watch, though registration is required. Visit playhousesquare.org for more information.
Photos courtesy of Playhouse Square
(Copyright, iHeartMedia, 2020)
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