The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WNYC and WQXR
presents MAPP International’s production of
SEKOU SUNDIATA’s “the 51st (dream) state”
Thursday, October 10 at 7PM
Tickets on Sale NOW
(New York, NY – September 30, 2013) -- In the shadow of 9/11, the late New York poet, playwright, songwriter and educator SEKOU SUNDIATA spent three years traveling through the U.S. gathering perspectives from ordinary Americans to create what would be his last theater work, “the 51st (dream) state.” He sought to understand how he and others felt about being American during a time of terrorism and war and what future we could imagine and make possible.
On Thursday, October 10 at 7pm, The Greene Space will present Mapp International Productions’ revival of “the 51st (dream state),” the first re-staging of Sundiata’s final work in New York since its premiere at BAM in 2006. This special production will feature the original cast of singers and musicians, with singer LATANYA HALL in Sundiata's role as poet/narrator. Staged at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WNYC and WQXR in SoHo, this one-night revival will transform this expansive, illuminating work into an intimate performance piece to be recorded for future audiences. ARTHUR YORINKS, the acclaimed director and writer who is currently the audio director for The Greene Space’s August Wilson American Century Cycle recording series, will direct. The evening will be hosted by WNYC host JOHN SCHAEFER as part of the citywide retrospective Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited.
Tickets and a live video webcast are available at www.thegreenespace.org. The evening’s performance will also be recorded for on-demand video and audio web streaming.
”The 51st dream state asks the big questions: What does “pursuit of happiness” mean in a society that places so much emphasis on tangible outcomes? Given the multilingual reality of daily life in the U.S, what is the American language? Can the old, central myths about such things as beauty, power, and destiny sustain the nation? What does a public imagination steeped in violence say about us? What are the prospects for love, compassion and human solidarity? What kind of God do Americans imagine? What kind of God do we need?
Voices of everyday Americans are interwoven with audio of philosophers engaged vigorously in questions of democracy: CORNEL WEST, who poses fierce but loving questions, and JACOB NEEDLEMAN, who offers balance and hope.
“As a work of theater and music that was created by a native New York artist in the aftermath of the most dramatic event in the city’s recent history, Sundiata’s “the 51st (dream) state” is a fitting work for The Greene Space,” said Noreen O’Loughlin, Vice President of Integrated Marketing, New York Public Radio, and General Manager of The Greene Space. “From our radio theater adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God to our exclusive recordings of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle, we place language and audio at the center of so much of what we do. We’re delighted to present a production of Sundiata’s final work in which the poetry and lyricism takes center stage, and we are thrilled to capture and archive it for future generations.
What: Sekou Sundiata’s “the 51st (dream) state”
Where: The Greene Space (44 Charlton Street @ Varick)
When: Thursday, October 10 at 7pm
Tickets: $20; available at www.thegreenespace.org
Webcast: A live webcast of this work will be available at www.thegreenespace.org
Sekou Sundiata (1948-2007) was internationally known as a poet who wrote for print, performance, music and theater; as an educator; and as an artist-activist. He was featured in the Bill Moyers' PBS series on poetry, The Language of Life, and was part of Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on HBO. His highly acclaimed theater works were commissioned by leading venues, toured internationally, and received three AUDELCO Awards and a BESSIE Award. Mr. Sundiata was recipient of a Lambent Fellowship in the Arts, a Sundance Institute Screenwriting Fellow, a Columbia University Revson Fellow, a Master Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida), and the first Writer-in-Residence at the New School University in New York City, where he was a professor of writing at Eugene Lang College. He released two major recordings, The Blue Oneness of Dreams (Mouth Almighty/Mercury), and its successor, longstoryshort (Righteous Babe Records). He toured internationally with his band; in 2001, they performed throughout the U.S. and Canada as part of Ani DiFranco's "Rhythm and News Tour."
Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited, produced by MAPP International Productions in partnership with 20 New York City cultural and educational organizations, celebrates Sekou Sundiata’s broad vision for bold, rigorous, multidisciplinary artistic expression that emerges from a love for one’s community, a passion, for real democracy and social justice, and a vision for a better world. It has been made possible with support from Rockefeller Foundation New York City Cultural Innovation Fund, Surdna Foundation, Lambent Foundation Fund of the Tides Foundation, Leveraging Investments in Creativity, Ford Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Axe-Houghton Foundation, New York Council for the Humanities and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. More information: www.sekousundiata.org
New York Public Radio is New York’s premier public radio franchise, comprising WNYC, WQXR, The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, and New Jersey Public Radio, as well as www.wnyc.org, www.wqxr.org, www.thegreenespace.org and www.njpublicradio.org. As America's most listened-to AM/FM news and talk public radio stations, reaching 1.1 million listeners every week, WNYC extends New York City's cultural riches to the entire country on-air and online, and presents the best national offerings from networks NPR, Public Radio International, American Public Media, and the British Broadcasting Company. WQXR is New York City's sole 24-hour classical music station, presenting new and landmark classical recordings as well as live concerts from the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, and Carnegie Hall, among other New York City venues, immersing listeners in the city's rich musical life. In addition to its audio content, WNYC and WQXR produce content for live, radio and web audiences from The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, the station's street-level multipurpose, multiplatform broadcast studio and performance space. New Jersey Public Radio extends WNYC’s reach and service more deeply into New Jersey. For more information about New York Public Radio, visit www.nypublicradio.org.