While diversity should always be one of the major pillars in artistic principles, too often we find our stages, be they local, regional, or streaming live from the Oscars, lacking true representation of our communities, let alone providing many of our brilliant actors, writers and directors the recognition they deserve. But as in past seasons, GLOW Lyric Theatre and their artistic director Jenna Tamisiea are working towards providing a space designed to showcase all talents, and are keeping this tradition with their first event of the 2017 And Still I Rise, happening January 14th at the Fine Arts Center.
Focusing on both the social and political climate of the Upstate (as well as the nation as a whole), Glow’s programing seeks to bring open discussions to the stage, and in And Still I Rise, Glow in collaboration with members of the Upstate’s African American community, has organized a cabaret night filled with music, poetry, dance, and spoken word, focusing on the tumultuous racial tensions that have arisen from events such as the triumphant removal of the confederate flag from the South Carolina state house, to the absolute horror of the Charleston AME Shooting, and anything in between.
“The way we are igniting the dialogue is through this musical performance,” says Tamisiea. “Music (and art) have the power to speak when words fail, and that’s what I really think And Still I Rise strives to do.” Also discussing the questions that have arisen with the recent presidential election and subsequent uncertainty and fear 2017 has arrived with, Tamisiea went on to add “It’s our job as artists to use our gifts as a megaphone for those who may feel repression and discrimination.”
And the tapestry of gifts Glow has organized is a tremendous mosaic of talent, including renowned soprano Diana Thompson, local composer Jon Grier, the Vaughn Newman Dance company, poet Ashley Lumpkin, as well as student musicians from The Fine Arts Center, and Glow has worked hard to insure these artists are at the center of developing and creating the dialogue of their story.
“This whole performance has been solely driven by the artists in the show,” says Tamisiea. “They chose the material that was personal to their experiences, so audience should expect a truly intimate and personal perspective with no punches pulled.”
And with so many unique voices it should come as no surprise that And Still I Rise spans stylings from jazz, soul, gospel and spiritual. “It celebrates songs created and performed by African Americans,” says Tamisiea, which includes “A Change is Gonna Come,” “I Feel Good (I Got You)” and “Mercy Mercy Mercy Me,” and two unique compositions by Jon Grier as well as an overarching poetic text from the likes of Ashley Lumpkin, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and even ancient African prayers.
“Each piece illuminates a unique theme, ranging from the struggle of identity, acceptance and equality that black men and women have endeared in our country and community,” says . And for those inspired by the honesty and intimacy these artists have provided, there will be a talkback with the artists after the show, inviting the audience to take part in tackling and learning about many of these incredibly important issues. It’s sure to provide not only a beautiful array of diverse performances, but also ring in the new year with some thought provoking and unique reflection.
And Still I Rise is the first in Glow’s 2017 Raising Voices Series, which will include two additional cabarets representing other unique groups within the Upstate Community and will continue to elevate stories of marginalized artists. And Still I Rise has one performance January 14th at the Fine Arts Center starting at 7pm. Tickets are $15 with a $10 student rush, and can be purchased at https://glowlyric.wpengine.com/tickets/ . This is limited event with only 125 seats available.
GLOW’s 2017 Raising Voices Series continues with:
February 14th, 2017 at 7:00pm – The Warehouse Theatre
The second in the Raising Voices Series, Love is Love is Love re-imagines Valentine’s Day to focus on how the power of love can stop oppression. Seven Upstate LGBTQ singers, actors and dancers perform personal songs and stories that reflect their life experiences. Filled with humor and honesty, Love is Love is Love will take place on Valentine’s Day at The Warehouse Theatre in downtown Greenville beginning at 7pm. Sponsored by Upstate Pride.
Milan to Moscow
March 19, at 2017 at 2:00pm – Location TBA
Soprano Tacy Fluery, Mezzo Lucie Svatonova and Baritone Christian Elser present Milan to Moscow, a concert exploring the cultural heritage of each singer. This production is a part of Upstate International Month and sponsored by Upstate International.