The Soul-Searching BLACK IS THE COLOR OF MY VOICE July 22/26/28 at MITF

A singer at a crossroads seeks a spiritual rebirth

in the life and people she left behind

in

Black is the Color of my Voice

In Association with Midtown International Theatre Festival

A singular talent who rose from child prodigy in the 1930’s American South to become the soulful voice of a generation looks for redemption in Black is the Color of my Voice, a one-woman musical drama written and performed by singer and actress Apphia Campbell about choices, family ties and the ever-present sting of racial hatred.

Directed by Arran Hawkins and presented by Play the Spotlight Productions, Black is the Color of my Voice will be performed at the Jewel Box Theater at 312 West 36th Street on Monday, July 22nd at 9pm, Friday, July 26th at 6pm and Sunday, July 28 at 1:30pm.  The approximate running time of the show is 1 hour, 45 minutes.

When Mena Bordeux started playing the piano at the age of three, she seemed destined for greatness until she found her path blocked by prejudice. Supported by those who believed in her, she continued to pursue her dream of being a classical pianist until, needing money for school, she became a salon singer, warbling blues and other tunes which her mother called “the devil’s music”.  Mena’s passion for music grew even as it drove many of those she cared for away – including the man she loved.

In the 1960’s with the civil rights movement beginning and the world about to explode, Mena finds a new outlet for her passions and her music. But when youthful idealism smashes into the concrete bulwark of reality, all that’s left is a downward spiral of wrong choices, where even an attempted spiritual awakening may be too late to make things right.

Inspired by the life of an American soul legend, Black is the Color of my Voice looks at one woman’s breathtaking and heartbreaking journey from her religious beginnings to the soaring heights of possibilities and the inevitable fall and attempt to rise again that follow. Songs performed in the show include “Feeling Good,” “I Put a Spell on You” and many others.

Black is the Color of my Voice was first performed in May & June of this year in Shanghai, where it was sold out for all its performances and received enthusiastically positive critical reviews.  It will debut in NYC at the Jewel Box Theater, located at 312 West 36th Street, on the fourth floor. Performance times are Monday, July 22nd at 9pm, Friday, July 26th at 6pm and Sunday, July 28 at 1:30pm.  Tickets are $18, $15 for students and seniors and are available by calling 866-811-4111 or online at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/9795970. 

Apphia Campbell is a trained singer and actress from the United States who has been performing since the age of four.  She attendedFlorida International University where she graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance. There, she was a founding member of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, which has been in existence now for 10 years, and has won several performance awards inSarasota, FL. She moved to New York after graduation where she performed in regional theatres and off-Broadway houses. In 2009, she moved to Shanghai where she has been singing blues, jazz, and pop in venues such as Cotton Club, Park Hyatt, Brick, and Le Meridian Hotel.  She wrote and produced Josephina’s Holiday – a modern day Motown Christmas story, and has performed with Blue Lane Theatre Group as Ines in Sartre’s No Exit.  Black is the Color of my Voice is the third play she’s written, and the one she feels most passionate about. Apphia believes that pursuing your passion is showing appreciation for the gifts you receive.

Arran Hawkins is an actor, director and artist from Cornwall, UK, who has been involved in the Shanghai theatre scene since 2008. Recent theatre credits include A Christmas Carol (Marley’s ghost), King Lear (Cornwall), Private Ado About Nothing (Benedick), The Real Inspector Hound (Moon) and The Snow Queen, which he co-wrote and directed.  In addition to directing Black is the Color of my Voice he is currently working on an adaptation of Alice In Wonderland for production in 2013.  Arran recently played the lead in The Collector, an independent feature film shot in Hong Kong in 2012 and also appeared in Shanghai Calling, Ghosts of the Imperial Palace, and Shanghai Strangers.

Play the Spotlight Productions was founded by Apphia Campbell and Rami Abunameh, and its focus is on developing new works which are cultural, musical, and entertaining.

Midtown International Theatre Festival’s 2013 Season runs from July 15 – August 4, 2013. John Chatterton created the MITF in 2000, a Midtown alternative to other theatre festivals, as a way to present the finest Off-Off Broadway talent in convenience, comfort, and safety.  In 2003, the MITF moved its activities to their current location, the Theatre Building on W. 36th St., where it has been successfully ensconced since.  In 2008 the Festival expanded from two theatres in that building to four, at the WorkShop Theater Company and Abingdon Theatre Company spaces. The MITF’s artistic emphasis is on the script itself, and therefore the Festival focuses on effective but minimal production values.  For more information, visit www.midtownfestival.org.

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