By Walter Rutledge
The Faison Firehouse Theater will present The Word, The Game, The Dance on Friday June 3 at 8pm.
The work is a collection of life altering autobiographic moments of the very talented cast assembled by the production’s curator and director George Faison. The cast will include Hip Hop poet Black Ice, the multi- talent dancer, singer, writer Brinae Ali and tap dancer extraordinaire Maurice Chestnut.
Black Ice, born Lamar Manson, has become a modern day lyric storyteller. His socially charged poetry was nurtured by his urban upbringing in North Philadelphia. Black Ice was discovered by Russell Simmons at New York’s Soul Café and became the first spoken word artist signed to Def Jam Records. His prophetic message resonates with diverse audiences including the Hip-Hop Summit, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Source Youth Foundation and ShiNE, and performed for such notables as the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Muhammad Ali and Minister Louis Farrakhan, as well as performing a poem on rapper fabulous’ third album Real Talk. He has released an album called The Death of Willie Lynch in September of 2006.
Tap Dancer Maurice Chestnut has taken the art form and invigorated it with 21st century funk, hip-hop and soul. At age five Chestnut began dancing under the direction of Alfred Gallman, and by age fourteen was named One of New Jersey’s Artist to Watch in the New Millennium. Chestnut was in the cast of the national touring company of the Tony Award–winning Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk with Savion Glover. He continued to work with Glover throughout his Improvography tour. His off-Broadway credits include Shades of Harlem, The Wiz, and Bubbling Brown Sugar.
The Word, The Game, The Dance is an original interdisciplinary theatre work that encompasses drama, tap dance, spoken word, and song. The theme revolves around surviving hardship and triumphing over adversity. This positive message of healing and personal growth is directed to our youth, but is a mantra we all could learn from.
For the past eleven years the Faison Firehouse Theater has presented timely productions that address the philosophy of the present esthetic and consciousness that is being dubbed as a second Harlem Renaissance. Some of these productions have boldly taken us into new artistic territory. While others have reached back into the past to honor, acknowledge and education the public.
For more information about The Word, The Game, The Dance or upcoming events at the Faison Firehouse Theater call 212 665-7716 or visit the website at www.faisonfirehouse.org.