The Fled Collective PRESENTS Step Kids: A Developmental Workshop

NEW YORK CITY, October 3, 2023 — The Fled Collective will present its second developmental workshop of its 2023 Season this month. Step Kids is written by Tyrone L Robinson with additional music by Postell Pringle and directed by Raz Golden. Tickets are available for performances on October 26th, 27th and 28th at 7:00 PM at The Flea Theater. The performance on October 27 is Black Theater Night followed by a talk-back with the cast and creative team.

Tickets are $15 and will be available through Eventbrite.

ABOUT: Step Kids is a one act hip hop musical that tells the story of a group of college
students auditioning for the elite and competitive step dance team, The All Stars. Competition is tough and no mis-step goes unnoticed by “The Voice of God” (Erin Cherry). After much scrutiny and questioning, our heroine, Yessica (Kamiah Vickers) shares her love of Step. In her explanation, she goes into the history of Step Dancing in America and its African Roots, leading her to find her own voice.

The audience gets a beautifully recounted history lesson on the history of Step in America along with a High energy show full of music and dance. In an effort to bring step to communities across NYC, this past spring, The Fled Collective hosted a Step workshop at Kings Elementary School in Brownsville, NY, where scholars ages 5-10 were given firsthand the opportunity to learn the vocabulary of basic Step routines ahead of their graduating recital, Stepping Up! The goal of this workshop was to teach the students about the history of Step and the significant role it played throughout Black History and how it evolved into the artform it is today. Following a brief presentation of the history of Step (which you can view HERE), the students were taught some basic stepping phrases and ultimately the workshop will end with the students having learned a short routine.

Book, Music & Lyrics by Tyrone L. Robinson
Additional Music & Lyrics by Postell Pringle
Choreography by James Alonzo White

‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ directed by Khalia Davis, Gets its First Stage Adaptation for Young Audiences—and it’s Breathtaking

Cherrye J. Davis in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Credit: Rebecca J. Michelson for New York City Children’s Theater, 2022.

Maya Angelou’s 1969 memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings has already been adapted for both film and stage, but New York City Children’s Theater’s world-premiere production at Theatre Row is the first stage adaptation for young audiences. And it’s positively wonderful.

Director, Khalia Davis

You don’t have to be a member of that young audience to enjoy it, though. With a script taken directly from Angelou’s text (courtesy of Idris Goodwin and Janna Segal), it’s certainly not dumbed down or overly sanitized. In fact, it even comes with a content warning, though its triggering content is still relatively tame. Directed by Khalia Davis, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is lyrical, powerful, and deeply engaging: a beautiful introduction and/or tribute to Maya Angelou’s groundbreaking work.

Much of the credit for this goes to Cherrye J. Davis, who, in just one hour, embodies Angelou’s boundless energy and peoples the stage with characters both loveable and laughable. As Angelou, Davis recalls the day she first arrived in Stamps, Arkansas at a young age after her parents separated. She recounts stories of her grandmother–who owned the general store that serves as the production’s backdrop–her brother, her crippled uncle, the woman who fostered her love of poetry, the poor white children who lived nearby, and others. Her carefree childhood jars to a halt when her absentee father visits and takes Angelou to live with her mother. After the trauma of being raped by her mother’s boyfriend, Angelou doesn’t speak for a year. Eventually she returns to Stamps, where Mrs. Flowers, a wealthy Black woman, takes an interest in Angelou and, by encouraging her to memorize poetry, finally brings her out of her shell.

Clearly, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings deals with heavy subject matter: parental neglect, child rape, poverty, racism. In one taut scene, Angelou’s uncle hides in a box of potatoes and onions to evade the Ku Klux Klan. In another equally tense moment, a group of uncouth white trash children gang up on her grandmother. But while these matters are never glossed over, the overarching mood is not one of despair or anger. Rather, as Angelou reviews her past, both the good and the bad, she savors memories of her grandmother’s strength, her brother’s beauty, Mrs. Flowers’ kindness, her own early passion for Shakespeare, and the excitement of listening to a boxing match on the radio–in a packed general store, with the sound all the way up so people on the porch can hear.

Without relinquishing the gravity required by the play’s darker moments, Davis gives a performance full of youthful joy and profound love. Inhabiting the stage with as much force as grace, she guides us on an emotionally resonant journey through one woman’s early memories. In doing so, she creates a poignant if imperfect world: a place worth living in for the courage and strength of good people, for the intransigent beauty of relationships, and for the chance to make everything a little better.

‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ runs at Theatre Row through June 5. Tickets are pay what you can. For more information, click here.

Read the full article by Erin Kahn for Stage Buddy here.

Scholastic’s ASTROBLAST blasts on to television Saturday, July 12th. Stage rights available

Astroblast!, a new original animated series from Scholastic Media, is ready for takeoff!  Produced by Scholastic Media’s Soup 2 Nuts studio, the series (26 episodes) for pre-schoolers launches on Sprout  this Saturday July 12th.   The series will also air on NBC Saturday mornings starting in October.

Astroblast! is based on the Scholastic book series by Bob Kolar and follows the hilarious adventures of a crew of irresistible animals in outer space. Through the crew’s friendship, the series imparts important messages (Rocket Rules) to preschoolers about embracing differences, modeling positive relationships and fostering healthy habits