Tag Archives: African American theater

‘Don’t Call Me Brother!’ At the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival



I am excited about the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival this year! Not only has my play ‘Don’t Call Me Brother!’ been selected as a special event for the ABTF but AspireTV has chosen to be the presenting sponsor for it!

The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival (ABTF) is fast becoming one of the premiere outlets for quality black theater audiences, actors and playwrights across the nation. In its fifth year the ABTF continues to grow in size and the quality of its productions.

AspireTV is dedicated to deliver enlightening and entertaining programming  to African American families that reflect positive images of the African American community. Aspire also creates new and unique opportunities for the next generation of the African American creative community.

Don’t Call Me Brother! addresses the impact of current events on individuals who carry the dual membership of being African American and being in law enforcement. A panel talkback,  ‘The Conversation We Need to Have’ with community leaders will be held immediately following the reading to discuss possible solutions to bridging the gap of distrust between our communities and law enforcement.

‘Don’t Call Me Brother! is the story of Andrew Merritt, a high-ranking African American police officer with ties to both the police force and the black community. With the death of a black youth by a police officer under questionable circumstances and his recent promotion, he is at a crossroad. Where does he place his loyalty? With his family who has a long history of civil rights activism or with the police department where he has devoted twenty-four years of service. All eyes are on him.


Tickets are available at www.atlantabtf.org under Special Events!

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Theater Jones Q&A Nnenna Freelon

Q&A: Nnenna Freelon

The Grammy-nominated jazz singer talks about a work she co-created, The Clothesline Muse, playing at TeCo Theatrical Productions.

The Clothesline Muse is playing at TeCo Theatrical Productions

Dallas — Nnenna Freelon is a Grammy-nominated jazz singer, performer and writer. Her latest passion project, The Clothesline Muse, is currently on stage at the Bishop Arts Theater Center in Oak Cliff, co-presented by TeCo Theatrical Productions and Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts through the National Performance Network.

Muse is a devised theater and dance piece that combines a narrative about an African-American grandmother (played by Freelon) and her granddaughter, using the idea of clothes and the clothesline as a metaphor for the human condition; along with dance that is inspired by African dance and classical ballet, choreographed by Kariamu Welsh. Freelon, Welsh and Maya Freelon Asante cowrote the work, which plays through the matinee on Saturday, April 4.

TheaterJones talked to Freelon about creating the work, its inspiration and the idea of taking a break from modern techology.

Click the link to read Lisa Ross’ (Theater Jones) interview with Nnenna Freelon below:


Also check out the gorgeous slideshow photos for Nnenna Freelon and The Clothesline Muse:


THE 2ND ACT! Newsletter and Blog


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The Stage is Set!

Get Ready!

If you want to keep up to date about what is JWHill Productions is doing, this is the place to start!

Sign up for our blog and quarterly newsletter ‘THE 2ND ACT!’ http://eepurl.com/bdjeyf


You’ll find information not only about what JWHill Productions is doing but what is happening industry wide. We’ll give you the inside scoop on how we really create those great productions you see on stage! You’ll read informative articles from some of Black theaters best. Learn about what is going on in the Black festival circuit and how you can participate!

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The Mountaintop : A Review



Mountaintop Marc Pouhe and Carla Nickerson

I will preface this by saying that I viewed the epic movie, SELMA! and the stirring play, The Mountaintop, within twenty-four hours of each other. While I was fairly young and living in the north when these events took place, I do have memories of dinner table conversations, front porch discussions, back porch arguments about the pros and cons of stirring up white folks and it being the perfect time to demand equality for our race and not so impartial news reports about both.

I remember the pride and reverence that everyone, well, everyone in my world, had in regard to Martin Luther King, Jr. I remember hearing his comforting voice, the hope in the call and response of the Negro people, as we were known then as he issued his peaceful giant’s call to action. A call to dignity…calls to equality…a call to justice…a call to destiny.

However, with all of the love, admiration and pride many of us had and have for Martin Luther King, Jr., we forget that he was human, a man subject to the same failings, faults and fears that all men and women experience.

It is here where The Mountaintop experience really begins, not with the often quoted “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech rendered hours before at the Mason Temple for the sanitation workers but here- at the Lorraine Hotel, 450 Mulberry Street, Memphis TN on a stormy Wednesday night, April 3, 1968.

The opening claps of thunder as King enters his hotel room, tired and disappointed; put the audience on notice that this is not going to be a usual night.

The Mountaintop pict Carla and Marc

While Marc Pouhe’s physical appearance doesn’t match that of Dr. King, his mannerisms make the connection. Searching for listening devices that have become part of the décor wherever he goes, pacing while waiting on trusted friend, Ralph Abernathy to bring him his Pall Mall cigarettes. He calls the service for a cup of coffee and is informed room service has stopped for the night but for him they will make an exception. Enters the spirited, sassy, at times irreverent maid, Camae (portrayed by Carla Nickerson) with a vocabulary totally unlike that of the Church of God in Christ audience he just left.

At first she appears to be in awe if not a little intimidated by Dr. King but that soon passes as a connection develops between them that dissolves status, titles or stature. Her funny nature blends with his sometimes open and sometimes guarded demeanor as the increasing bursts of thunder visibly affect him.

The Mountaintop Carla Nickerson and Marc Pouhe

We see a side of Martin Luther King, Jr. that the public was seldom if ever privy to. Yes, there are glimpses of his ‘appreciation of women’ but what we see that is more important is his vulnerability.

I am limited as to how much I can reveal without ‘spoiling’ it for others but I will say that their conversation covers the major areas of human opinions including politics, violence versus non-violence, (Camae has a unique take on how Dr. King could approach the race issue) to touching on his interaction with his wife and children.

The play has a few unexpected twists and for some may be a little over the top in certain areas but for all it is or isn’t, we get a little insight at what it’s like when a god isn’t on the pedestal.

While some say that Ms. Hall has blurred the lines between the temporal and the eternal, I think it was her destination all along. It’s a journey we all have to make, where what we believe is real meets what we know is truth.

Join Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Marc Pouhe’) and Camae (Carla Nickerson) at the Austin Playhouse weekends until January 25th in Katori Hall’s dramatic and to some controversial play, The Mountaintop, directed by Don Toner, Artistic Director, Austin Playhouse.

#mlk, #themountaintop, #Selma, #marcpouche, #carlanickerson, #dontoner, #austinplayhouse, #theatre, @jeanettewhill,  #blacktheatre, #blackpower, #camae, #ujimamagazine, #history



Jeanette Hill Productions
(JWHill Productions)
The Amen Circle