Tag Archives: gospel

スペシャル・リポート from 東京:Mama I Want To Sing ママ・アイ・ウォント・トゥ・シング日本ツアー大成功のうち終了!

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Mama I Want To Singの1ヶ月に渡る日本公演が大成功のうちに1月5日をもって終了しました。初演から30周年、初来日から25周年という記念すべき来日公演。ツアー後半の会場は東京六本木のアミューズ・シアター。元ブルーマン・シアターという、あのブルーマン・グループが2年間に渡りロングランした場所、つまり本格ミュージカルのパフォーマンスのために作られた劇場なんです。

開演直前続々とつめかけるお客さんにまずびっくり。何せハーレムのデンプシーシアターにやってくるのは90%以上がアフリカン・アメリカン。近隣の教会からバスを連ねてやってくるクリスチャンが主流で、まるで日曜日の教会に来ているような気分にさせられるのだけれど、当然東京のお客さんはまったく違う。親子連れ、若いカップル、女子のグループ、私のように25年前の東京公演を見たという年季の入った?音楽ファンなど、あらゆるタイプの日本人でシアターは埋まっていました。

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Roppongi Amuse Theater

いつものとおり元ラジオDJでもあるプロデューサー、ヴァイ・ヒギンセンのドラマチックな語りでミュージカルがスタート。彼女が登場するDJブースは2階建てで、これはデンプシーよりもかなりグレードアップ。他のステージセットなどはハーレムと同様ミニマルでシンプルでしたが、照明は白を中心に東京風にかなりあか抜けた印象。衣装もいく分グレードアップしていたような・・・

しかし内容の素晴らしさはまさにハーレムがそのまま東京にやってきたかのよう!
主役のノエル・ヒギンセンは1ヶ月に30公演以上というハードスケジュールをこなしているにもかかわらずベストコンディションをキープ。6オクターブのアンビリーバブルな音域と豊かな声量を確かなテクニックであやつり、客席からはため息の連続。クワイアを構成するハーレム・ティーン・クワイア(ゴスペル・フォー・ティーンズ)がまた素晴らしい。彼らにとっては初めての海外公演。初々しさの中に自身が生まれますますパワフルに。成長したんだなーと思わず嬉しくなってしまいました。

Mama I Want To Sing in Tokyo

Mama I Want To Sing in Tokyo

そして気になるのはお客さんの反応。ハーレムの観客は即座にステージにエンゲージ、彼らの一挙一動、言葉の一つ一つに反応し、「ハレルヤ」「エイメン」とステージ客席が一体になって一つのパフォーマンスを繰り広げるけれど、果たして東京のお客さんは?
はっきり言って最初は様子をうかがっている感じ。ステージ両側に字幕があり、それを読むのも忙しかったのかも。でもだんだん体と心が暖まって来ているのが目に見えてわかる。そしてラストにキャストが登場し大合唱になる部分、ハーレムならここで観客総立ちになっていっしょに歌い踊る場面。その瞬間ノエルがハキハキした日本語で「タッテクダサイ!」と連呼すると次々にみんなが立ち上がる。続いて「日本人にもゴスペルを歌う人がたくさんいると聞いています。この会場にもゴスペルシンガーがたくさんいるでしょう? ステージに出て来てください。もし来ないならこちらから迎えに行きます!」と言った瞬間、キャストたちが客席に突進! 私も目の前に走って来たミュージック・ミニスター役のイライジャに「オーメグミ!来てたのかー」ととっつかまりステージに押し出されてしまいました。
ステージの上では「初めましてー」「久しぶりー」のハグ&キス大会。そして定番「This little light of mine」の大合唱。その瞬間客席を見ると、総立ちとなったお客さんの満面の笑顔、笑顔、笑顔!!

Autographing Session

Autographing Session

そしてショーが終わりもうニコニコのお客さんといっしょにロビーに出ると、既にキャストがテーブルに並んで待機。CDとプログラムを買ったお客さんに一人一人丁寧にサインするというハーレムスタイルをここでもきっちりやっている。暖かい一体感がここでも続いていました。

ママ・アイ・ウォント・トゥー・シング・イン・ジャパン。ゴスペルが運ぶ愛と音楽の素晴らしさ、暖かさは世界中どこに行っても変わらない。それがちゃんと伝わることを確信できた一夜でした。

(シェリーめぐみ)

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Mama Foundation Presents! Final weeks of Fall 2013 Season

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Mama’s mission is to present, preserve, and promote gospel, jazz, and the R&B arts for current and future generations.
mamafoundation.org/

Mama, I Want To Sing

Mama, I Want To Sing

Mama, I Want To Sing

Mama, I Want to Sing illustrates the story of many great performers who learned their craft in the church choir. The Doris in Mama, I Want to Sing (fashioned after Vy’s own sister Doris Troy) stepped out the church choir, performed during Amateur Night at the Apollo, migrated to London where she performed and provided a gospel and soul underpinning for groups such as the Beatles.
November 23 at 2pm
The Dempsey Theater in Harlem
127 W. 127 St., New York, NY 10027

We Are!

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WE ARE! Is based on an award-winning “60 Minutes” feature story that followed the students of Gospel for Teens, the acclaimed music program of The Mama Foundation for the Arts’ School of Gospel, Jazz and R&B Arts, for one year.
November 23 at 5pm
The Dempsey Theater in Harlem
127 W. 127 St., New York, NY 10027

Alive!

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Alive! features singers and musicians over the age of 55. Some were performers back in the day, some sing in church, the shower, or in the car, but they all can sing! Alive! illustrates that talent gets better, deeper, and richer with age. You will have a great time reliving the turning points in your life, and you will feel rejuvenated when you leave the theater.
November 16 at 5pm
The Dempsey Theater in Harlem
127 W. 127 St., New York, NY 10027

Over 55 Years Old Only:Mama Foundation for the Arts Presents ALIVE!

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Come check out Mama Foundation’s  latest production, Alive! It will inspire you!

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Yes, We are “ALIVE!”

The Mama Foundation for the Arts presents ALIVE!, an original musical featuring a full company of performers who are age 55 and over.

“Real people, telling real stories!” Conceived and written by Vy Higginsen and her husband Ken Wydro (the creators of Mama, I Want To Sing), and directed by Mr. Wydro, ALIVE! is currently performing in repertory on Saturday afternoons at The Dempsey Theater in Harlem (127 W. 127 St.).

The cast of ALIVE! is comprised of everyday, “ordinary” citizens from all walks of life; people with amazing talent, who never realized their desire to perform live. Each cast member now has the opportunity to take center stage, proving that it’s never too late to live a dream.

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One of the highlights of the show is when Theo Harris confessed that he was associated with people like pimps, drug-dealers and gangsters and became a drug addict. He ended up serving 40 years in prison and met a woman there and married. The song Theo performed was “Unchained Melody” the theme song for 1955’s film titled “Unchained,” a story of a convict in a medium-security prison who is torn between his need to finish his sentence and get back to his wife and family, and his desire to escape the confines of prison.

♪♪Oh my love my darling/I’ve hungered for your touch…….I’ll be coming home wait for me……..♪ At the end of his song he reunited with his wife in real life, Phyllis Harris and hugged each other……..Alive!

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ALIVE! features a unique blend of gospel, jazz, R&B and pop music – songs that served as a soundtrack for this generation. Through the music and through authentic stories and testimonies, the ALIVE! cast tell how it used to be, and how life could be going forward . . . at any age. They are ALIVE! . . . and kickin.’

The cast of ALIVE! features Num H.S. Amun’Tehu, Deborah Bingham, Donna Love Brown, Matthew Brown, Matthew Burke, Robin Campos, Robin Crudup, Gladys DeJesus Mitchell, Darlene Eklou, Phyllis Harris, Theo Harris, GloRia Jones, Susie Jones, Sahron Patrick, Roberta Ross, Ricardo Vega, Renee Walker, Pamela White, and Hugh Wright.

ALIVE! has music direction by Greg Kelly and musical staging/choreography by Elijah Ahmad Lewis.

ALIVE! is performed at The Dempsey Theater in repertory along with other Mama Foundation for the Arts shows: WE ARE! A World Premiere musical created by Ms. Higginsen and Mr. Wydro.

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THE MAMA FOUNDATION – Fall 2013 Schedule:

Saturday Oct. 12th WE ARE! @ 2:00pm; ALIVE! @ 5:00pm

Saturday Oct. 19th ALIVE! @ 2:00pm; WE ARE! @ 5:00pm

Saturday Oct. 26th MAMA @ 2:00pm; WE ARE! @ 5:00pm

Saturday, Nov. 2nd ALIVE! @ 5:00 pm

Saturday Nov. 9th MAMA @ 2:00pm; ALIVE! @ 5:00pm

Saturday Nov. 16th SING, HARLEM, SING @ 2:00pm; ALIVE! @ 5:00pm

Saturday Nov. 23rd MAMA @ 2:00pm WE ARE! @ 5:00pm

Chuck Jackson In The House!! The 30th Anniversary Celebration of Mama I Want To Sing #2

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The 30th Anniversary Celebration of Mama I Want To Sing – Part 2 – Chuck Jackson

“Any Day Now” fame, Chuck Jackson was in the house!

To fans of genuine rhythm and blues music, the name Chuck Jackson needs no introduction. His soaring baritone transformed such songs as “Any Day Now” and “I Don’t Want to Cry” into international chartbusters whose soulful declarations have transcended the test of time. When I spotted Mr. Jackson at the “Mama, I Want To Sing” 30th Anniversary Gala, I couldn’t resist asking him a few questions.

H2N:                  Hello Mr. Chuck Jackson. How are you? We are happy to see you.

Chuck:               Thank you.

H2N:                  Where is your base?

Chuck:                Well, I’m all over the place. I just returned from Detroit where I performed a few shows.

Chuck Jackson

Chuck Jackson

H2N:                  Currently you are in New York. Did you see “Motown The Musical”?

Chuck:                No, not yet. I believe it opens in April. It is only in previews right now. I spoke with Smokey Robinson on the phone last night. He told me he would invite me to the show. Yes, I will see it soon.

H2N:                  The first time I saw your show was at Sweetwaters around the mid 80’s and Mike Tyson was in the audience waiting for his fiancée at the time, Robin Givens. Do you remember that show?

Chuck:                Yes, as a matter of fact, I was just thinking about that. She became a big actress after that. I did many shows at Sweetwaters. The club is gone now.

H2N:                  We are so glad that you are still around. Can we expect new music from you anytime soon?

Chuck:                 Yes! I’m working on my new album. It’s funny that this time I’m signed to the first label I was signed to. Smokey Robinson wrote a song for me for this album and I’m also working with Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and many others.

H2N:                  Sounds great! Does that mean that you are going to give us the classic Chuck Jackson album?

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Chuck:                Yeah, the record company told me to be myself. They want me to sound like me. I’m very excited!

H2N:                  We can’t wait! Will you be touring to Japan soon?

Chuck:                Yes, as a matter of a fact I think we got an offer but I don’t know exactly when. I know I have many fans in Japan and I’d love to go over there and do shows.

H2N:     Thank you.