The Shades of Black Theatre Festival opened at Darkhorse Theatre Sept. 2, and will continue through Sept. 28. The festival will feature mixers, workshops, film screenings, poetry and comedy shows and six different theatre productions presented by Darryl Van Leer, Kennie Playhouse Theatre, Sista Style Productions, The Destiny Theatre Experience and Dream 7 Theatre Productions. Admission for events varies. Workshops and special events are currently being added.
On tap for this weekend is Rubycat Lawson’s Roadhouse Lounge, written by Darryl Van Leer and Pete Edwards, and produced and performed by Darryl Van Leer.
This stunning, foot-stomping musical tale of redemption follows the story of Matthew Porter, proprietor of the once famous Blues and Rock & Roll juke joint. The Roadhouse has been deteriorating for more than a decade, and Matthew has been declining along with it. When he receives a letter from the government claiming eminent domain for a new Interstate highway, Matthew reaches the depths of despair and begins to mourn the loss of a historic landmark. Hope walks in—in the form of New York Times reporter Dawson Edwards, who has come to write an article on famous juke joints in the South. Matthew transports the reporter and the audience back in time to when the Roadhouse was booming, and transforms into the most electrifying performers of all time: Ray Charles, Little Richard, Elton John, Sam Cooke, Muddy Waters, Jelly Roll Morton, Big Joe Turner, Lionel Richie, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Together, Matthew and Dawson launch a plan to save the Roadhouse by earning the building a place on the National Register of Historic Places. Van Leer, a trained musician, brings to stage live music. With 21 on stage costume changes and 115 different sound effects, the audience will laugh, sing, and be inspired in this one-hour and 35 minute feel-good production.
Shades of Black Theatre Festival schedule:
Friday, Sept. 5 — Rubycat Lawson’s Roadhouse Lounge 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 6 — Rubycat Lawson’s Roadhhouse Lounge 7:30 pm; Late Night Comedy Show hosted by Renard Hirsch 11 pm
Thursday, Sept. 11 — Do Over, written and directed by Mary McCallum (Sista Style Productions), 7:30 pm
Friday, Sept. 12 — Songs For Our Sons, written and directed by Shawn Whitsell (Destiny Theatre Experience), 7:30 pm
Saturday, Sept. 13 — Do Over, 7:30 pm; Late Night Poetry Jam, hosted by Jene India, 11 pm
Sunday, Sept. 14 — Songs For Our Sons, 3 pm
Monday, Sept. 15 — A Poem For Broken Boys, written by Terrance ‘Cirvant’ French and directed by Shawn Whitsell (Destiny Theatre Experience)
Tuesday, Sept. 16 – The Meeting, written by Jeff Stetson and directed by Chuck Smith, 7:30 pm (Kennie Playhouse Theatre)
Wednesday, Sept. 17 — A Poem For Broken Boys (Destiny Theatre Experience), 7:30 pm.
Thursday, Sept. 18 — Songs For Our Sons (Destiny Theatre Experience), 7:30 pm
Friday, Sept. 19 — Do Over (Sista Style Productions), 7:30 pm
Saturday, Sept. 20 — The Meeting (Kennie Playhouse Theatre), 7:30 pm
Sunday, Sept. 21 — The Meeting (Kennie Playhouse Theatre), 3 pm
Friday, Sept. 26 — Black Knight Society, written and directed by Michael L. Walker (Dream 7 Theatre Productions), 7:30 pm
Saturday, Sept. 27 — Black Knight Society (Dream 7 Theatre Productions), 7:30 pm
Sunday, Sept. 28 — Black Knight Society (Dream 7 Theatre Productions), 3 pm