Tag Archives: Mama

Mama I Want To Sing’s Gospel For Teens Appears@The Rockefeller Christmas 2013

Ariana Grande Stole The Show With The Aid Of Gospel For Teens!

Read in Japanese


Reckefeller Christmas Tree

Reckefeller Christmas Tree

Today, the Rockefeller Christmas is a New York’s tourist-filled, multimillion-dollar special yearly event.

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

The holiday special boasted a slew of performers. The highlight performances include Mariah Carey, performing her classic “All I want for Christmas is You”; Tony Braxton and Babyface with a duet of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”; Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson and many others.

It was, however, 20-year-old ‘Mini Mariah,’ Ariana Grande who stole the show. The singer wowed the audience with her powerful performance of her hit single “Love Is Everything” with assistance from a choir, Harlem’s own Gospel For Teens. As you may already know that some members of GFT left for Tokyo for “Mama, I Want To Sing!” Japan tour.

Emily “Cissy” Houston, Valerie Simpson and Dionne Warwick Attend “Mama, I Want To Sing” 30th Anniversary Gala



The 30th Anniversary Celebration of
Mama, I Want To Sing
America’s Longest Running Black Musical
Saturday, March 23, 2013

Among many celebrity guest, Emily “Cissy” Houston, Valerie Simpson and Dionne Warwick attend “Mama, I Want To Sing” 30th Anniversary Gala Celebration at The Dempsey Theater in Harlem Saturday night.

After welcoming all the board members and the benefit committee at Red Carpet, the gala began with a very special performance that includes musical highlights from “Mama, I Want To Sing” and “Sing, Harlem Sing!, ”as well as a performance from the Gospel for Teens Choir.


Cissy Houston, Vy Higginson

The Background Story

By Vy Higginsen

I was the youngest of four children growing up on Harlem. My father was a minister and my mother was very involved in his church. My oldest sister, Doris, sang in the choir. She was eventually discovered by James Brown at The Apollo, and went on to a successful career in popular music. Kind and generous, Doris was a big influence on me. I was inspired to tell her story, and so I wrote Mama, I want To Sing with my husband, Ken Wydro.

As we wrote the story, we became aware that is wasn’t just ours. It was the combined stories of numerous African-Americans who grew up on the church, stepped out of the church choir and then made their way into the recording industry and on stage. They created a new sound that was uniquely African-American – Something at once uniquely personal and wholly universal.

Initially the script was rejected by every major producer in New York – none believed that the story was worth telling or that an audience could be found for a Gospel-based production.

With nowhere else to turn, we devoted our entire life savings to opening Mama, I Want to Sing in East Harlem at the Heckscher Theatre which had housed Joe Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival 15 years earlier. As the doors’ chain was lifted, puffs of dust and dirt greeted us in the abandoned 632-seat theater.

Standing on that dusky, silent stage, dimly lit with coated work lights; I saw the theater filled with senior citizens, church groups, school children, and hard-working black mothers and fathers who had spiritual values and loved soul-stirring music.

Mama, I wan To Sing opened March 25, 1983 with a minuscule advertising, promotional, and publicity budget. Word-of-mouth spread quickly through the black community and the theatrical and traditional musical circles. Mama, I Want To Sing positively the power, spontaneity and emotional uplift of the black church experience.

For thirty years now, Mama, I wan To Sing has been performed all over the world. It has not only entertained, but it has helped introduce gospel music to other cultures, and it has taught audiences everywhere about our community and our people.

Inspired by the show’s worldwide success, I created Mama Foundation for the Arts in 1998 as a cultural space in Harlem where both youth and adults have access to quality training and employment in the performing arts. With a mission to present, preserve, and promote the history and fundamentals of gospel, jazz, and rhythm and blues music, the Gospel for teens program began at the foundation in 2006. Open to the public at no cost, so that all interested could benefit from it, Gospel for Teens provides support to our musically gifted children by replacing the arts programs taken out of many inner city schools. In the past seven years, we have served hundreds of teens. These fine young men and women have now become Ambassadors of the Music, making sure that the music lives on for generations to come.

It is a thrill to have seen these young people evolve through the arts – I’ve witnessed them change mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

All of us are part of a community that is rich and full of history, conversation, food, music, and art and culture. To explore all that; to present that on stage – whether through our musicals, performances by the Gospel for Teens Choir, or other events – is a privilege.

During the initial run of Mama, I Want To Sing, Doris Troy played the role of our mother; and my brother, Randy, played the role of our father. Now, my daughter, Knoelle, is playing the role of her Auntie. Doris passed away nine years ago, but her life lives on stage to this very day. For that, I am jumbled, and so grateful.

Thank you for your support.


Vy Higginsen

Finally!! A Gospel Brunch at Ginny’s in Harlem


Ginny’s Supper Club Inside Red Rooster
310 Lenox Avenue
(between 125th and 126th Streets)
212.421.3821  MAP




FROM 11:00 A.M. – 3:30 P.M.

Award-winning chef and author Marcus Samuelsson proudly presents Vy Higginsen’s Gospel for Teens Choir, who will provide the musical entertainment for “A Gospel Gathering at Ginny’s” beginning Sunday, July 15th, 2012 at Ginny’s Supper Club, the sister venue to Samuelsson’s Red Rooster Harlem, located at 310 Lenox Avenue (between 125th and 126th Streets).  The Gospel for Teens Choir will perform three sets of rousing gospel tunes during the venue’s new Sunday buffet brunch served between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Seats are $35 per person (half off for children under 12). Reservations and walk-ins are accepted by calling 212.421.3821.

 For more info, please visit:



ママ・アイ・ウォント・トゥ・シングMama, I Want To Sing 追加公演決定!Extended!!

Mama, I Want To Sing

ママ、アイ・ワント・トゥ・シング 追加公演決定!

「 Mama, I Want To Sing: The Next Generation」の追加公演が決まりました。ハーレム体験をする絶好の機会です。地元のお客さんに混じって本物のゴルペルを堪能して下さい。35ドルだす価値は十分あります。
詳細: www.MamaFoundation.org

春のスケジュールは以下: Spring 2012 Performance schedule

Saturdays, April 21, 28
Saturdays, May 5, 12, 19, 26
Saturday, June 2
At 4:30pm

夏のスケジュールは以下: Summer 2012 Performance Schedule

Saturday, July 21
Saturday, August 18
At 4:30pm

Dempsey Theater
127 West 127th Street
New York, NY 10027 MAP



Mama, I Want To Sing: The Next Generation

“Still a blessing.”
– The Amsterdam News

The acclaimed revival of the Off-Broadway classic extended throughout the summer at Harlem’s Dempsey Theater (127 West 127th Street) performs Saturdays at 4:30pm. Visit www.MamaFoundation.org

Spring 2012 Performance schedule

Saturdays, April 21, 28
Saturdays, May 5, 12, 19, 26
Saturday, June 2
At 4:30pm

Summer 2012 Performance Schedule

Saturday, July 21
Saturday, August 18
At 4:30pm

Dempsey Theater
127 West 127th Street
New York, NY 10027  MAP