For a PDF version of this press release, click here.
For the most up-to-date Campus information about Black History Month, please read our latest press release (updated as of January 2023) here.
Celebrate #BlackHistoryMonth with @KimmelCC (Twitter)/@KimmelCulturalCampus (Facebook/Instagram) & @PhilOrch alongside @ThePhillyPOPS, @phila_ballet (Twitter)/@philadelphia_ballet (Instagram)/ @philadelphiaballet (Facebook), and @OperaPhila. More info at www.kimmelculturalcampus.org.
Lauren A. Woodard Hall
KIMMEL CULTURAL CAMPUS AND THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH CAMPUS-WIDE PROGRAMS
February events join a lineup of year-round programming honoring defining contributions of Black artists
Vibrant presentations from renowned artists in a variety of musical styles, spanning opera, dance, jazz, and theater
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (December 15, 2022) –– The Kimmel Cultural Campus and The Philadelphia Orchestra commemorate Black History Month in February 2023, honoring African American expression and culture with educational and exciting programming. In addition to orchestral and theatrical performances, this year’s programming includes works from varied Resident Companies including Philadelphia Ballet, The Philly POPS, and Opera Philadelphia.
“Our diversity is our greatest strength, and it is an honor to celebrate Black History Month with a range of presentations that showcase the vibrancy, talent, and defining contributions of Black artists,” said Matías Tarnopolsky, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Inc. “Our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility is not limited to February, and it is reflected in everything that we do, from the art on our stages—including The Philadelphia Orchestra’s ongoing work to honor the legacy of Florence Price—to our community partnerships, and more.”
The celebration kicks off with A Soldier’s Play. Co-presented by the Kimmel Cultural Campus and The Shubert Organization, this presentation runs January 24 through February 5, telling the story of the events following the murder of a Black sergeant on a Louisiana Army Base in 1944. With Yannick Leads Schumann and Dawson, February 2 and 3, The Philadelphia Orchestra revisits groundbreaking composer William Dawson’s sensational Negro Folk Symphony. Carmina Burana + Credo, an affirmation of racial justice, peace, and Black pride, is presented by Opera Philadelphia from February 3 to 5. Philadelphia Ballet presents Forward Motion from February 3 to 11, as three renowned choreographers are commissioned to bring brand new works to the stage, including acclaimed Bessie Award Winner and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater member Hope Boykin.
From February 14 to 26, the Kimmel Cultural Campus and The Shubert Organization co-present 1776 in the Forrest Theatre, telling the story of John Adams as he attempts to persuade fellow Continental Congress members to sign the Declaration of Independence; this presentation kicks off 1776’s post-Broadway run and is a Philadelphia premiere. Jazz singer-songwriter Gregory Porter will take the stage February 16, bringing a selection of favorites from throughout his career. Back by popular demand on February 17, DRUMLine Live embodies the soulful, high-stepping style of the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) marching band experience. February 17 through 19, The Philly POPS Presents GET UP, STAND UP: AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SOUL; celebrating the sounds of funk, R&B, and soul, this program features Into the Woods and Hamilton star Joshua Henry. From February 24 to 26, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will dazzle audiences with technical brilliance and passionate energy. Rounding out the month on February 25, Divi Roxx Kids brings energetic music and a feeling of empowerment to the stage, in a performance that will get kids moving to the beat.
Returning for another year, aligned with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Black History Month, is the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Creative Stages education program: Jazz4Freedom. Taught by experienced teaching artists, 4th graders are first engaged with a preshow workshop about the Harlem Renaissance and growth of jazz in Philadelphia. The highlight of Jazz4Freedom is a field trip to the Kimmel Center building for an event featuring music, dance, and commentary on social change throughout history. Students are inspired by a post-show workshop linking the Civil Rights Movement to jazz and providing the opportunity for reflection on the continuation of social change.
Follow the Kimmel Cultural Campus social media channels to read inspirational quotes from African American artists and cultural leaders as part of the Black History Month celebration. Be sure to check out our Kimmel curated Black History Month Playlist on our Spotify channel – celebrating generations of African American artists and musicians.
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BELOW IS A FULL LIST OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH OFFERINGS ON THE KIMMEL CULTURAL CAMPUS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER:
A SOLDIER’S PLAY
Part of the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Broadway series
January 24 – February 5, 2023, Times Vary • Forrest Theatre
A Soldier’s Play, the 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning thriller by Charles Fuller, has rocketed back into the spotlight, thanks to this 2020 Tony Award®-winning Best Revival from Roundabout Theatre Company. “This is a play that deserves to be staged regularly all over America—though it’s hard to imagine that it will ever be done better than this. It keeps you guessing all the way to the final curtain” (The Wall Street Journal).
In 1944, on a Louisiana Army base, two shots ring out. A Black sergeant is murdered. And a series of interrogations triggers a gripping barrage of questions about sacrifice, service, and identity in America. Broadway’s Norm Lewis leads a powerhouse cast in the show Variety calls “a knock-your-socks-off-drama," directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon.
YANNICK LEADS SCHUMANN AND DAWSON
The Philadelphia Orchestra
February 2 – 3, 2023, Times Vary • Verizon Hall on the Kimmel Cultural Campus
In 1934, legendary conductor Leopold Stokowski and The Philadelphia Orchestra brought audiences to their feet with the world premiere of William Dawson’s sensational Negro Folk Symphony. Inspired by traditional spirituals, Dawson’s emotionally charged symphony is a striking departure from the European symphonic form. Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto builds a symphonic harmony between soloist and orchestra that is both surprising and satisfying. Pianist Tony Siqi Yun brings his poetic style to one of Schumann’s most popular works.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor
Tony Siqi Yun Piano
R. Schumann Piano Concerto
Dawson Negro Folk Symphony
CARMINA BURANA + CREDO
February 3 - 5, 2023, Times Vary • Academy of Music on the Kimmel Cultural Campus
The critically acclaimed Opera Philadelphia Chorus and Orchestra take center stage in a concert that brings together one of the most popular pieces in the choral canon with a rarely performed masterpiece.
From its very first moments – spine-tingling chords of vocal and percussive ferocity – Carmina Burana captures the audience's attention. It is a kaleidoscopic piece that demands to be heard live, as thundering cries on the fickleness of fortune transform into lilting celebrations of spring and raucous drinking songs.
Orff's cantata will be preceded by Margaret Bonds’ Credo, a setting of a prose poem by W.E.B. Du Bois. An affirmation of racial justice, peace, and Black pride, the piece matches Du Bois’ reverent words with Bonds’ ingenious orchestration and powerful melodic language.
February 3 –11, 2023, Times Vary. • Perelman Theater on the Kimmel Cultural Campus
In the continuation of our highly-popular New Works series, now called Forward Motion, three renowned choreographers have been commissioned to conceptualize new works for the stage.
This program features world premieres from recipient of the Danza Award for Best Choreography Andonis Foniadakis; Hope Boykin, acclaimed Bessie Award Winner and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater member; and our own Resident Choreographer Juliano Nunes.
Part of the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Broadway series
February 14 – 26, 2022, Times Vary • Forrest Theatre
They knew they would make history, but not what history would make of them. Fed up with living under the tyranny of British rule, John Adams attempts to persuade his fellow members of the Continental Congress to vote in favor of American Independence and sign the Declaration. But how much is he willing to compromise in the pursuit of freedom? And to whom does that freedom belong?
From American Repertory Theater at Harvard University and Roundabout Theatre Company, Jeffrey L. Page and Tony Award winner Diane Paulus reexamine this pivotal moment in American history in a new production of this Tony Award-winning musical.
Part of the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Jazz series
February 16, 2023, 7:30 p.m. • Academy of Music on the Kimmel Cultural Campus
International best-selling artist Gregory Porter’s music is at once timeless yet utterly of its time, solidifying his standing as his generation's most soulful jazz singer-songwriter. Known for his warm baritone vocals, Gregory Porter rose to acclaim in the 2010s with his earthy, cross-pollinated brand of jazz, soul, and gospel. A gifted singer of standards as well as more contemporary soul material, Porter has earned favorable comparisons to his idols Nat King Cole, Donny Hathaway, and Stevie Wonder.
Over the past decade, Porter has taken the world by storm, bringing Jazz to the masses and collecting numerous accolades and acknowledgments, including two GRAMMY Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
His latest release Still Rising is an exquisite collection of musical delights, including a selection of brand new songs, covers, duets, and beloved favorites from throughout his career.
Porter's fifth studio album Nat “King” Cole & Me hit number 3 on the Official UK Album Chart, landing him his highest ever chart position and biggest-selling first week. Nat “King” Cole & Me, the follow-up to Porter’s GRAMMY-winning albums Liquid Spirit (2013) and Take Me to the Alley (2016), broke records by becoming the first jazz album to break into the top 5 for over a decade.
February 17, 2023, 7:30 p.m. • Miller Theater on the Kimmel Cultural Campus
DRUMLine Live, the show stopping attraction created by the musical team behind the hit movies, Drumline and Drumline: A New Beat, embodies the soulful, high-stepping style of the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) marching band experience. With its riveting rhythms, bold beats, and ear grabbing energy, DRUMLine Live is a high-octane musical roller coaster ride that is guaranteed to touch every emotion in your body. We’re back with a BRAND-NEW show for the entire family and we promise… you will be on your feet by Halftime!!
GET UP, STAND UP: AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SOUL
The Philly POPS
February 17 – 19, 2023, Times Vary • Verizon Hall on the Kimmel Cultural Campus
Rickey Minor is back, bringing his unbelievable music expertise and world-renowned talent to the POPS once again! After his explosive POPS debut last year with SINATRA: A Man and His Music, Minor is returning for what is sure to be an unforgettable program.
Hamilton and Into The Woods star Joshua Henry made his POPS debut on July 3, 2021 with electric takes on “Tomorrow,” “Feeling Good,” and “Uptown Funk.” As he left the stage to a standing ovation, he remarked: “And I didn’t even do my James Brown.”
Now, Joshua grooves through his very own encyclopedia of soul! The program covers favorites like “Heard it Through the Grapevine,” “A Change is Gonna Come,” and “Let’s Get it On,” celebrating the sounds of funk, R&B, and soul. He can sing Marvin, he can sing James, and he can sing Sam … all with his own swagger and swing!
Plus, The Philly POPS will open each half of the program with an original instrumental piece, flavored with the soul of the nation.
ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
February 24 – 26, 2023, Times Vary • Academy of Music on the Kimmel Cultural Campus
The dancers of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dazzle with their technical brilliance and passionate energy, bringing audiences to their feet at every performance. They’ll electrify the stage with contemporary works by some of today's most in-demand choreographers and classic favorites from the repertory. Each program will close with Alvin Ailey's wildly popular Revelations, the beloved masterpiece that "cannot fail to move" (Vogue).
DIVI ROXX KIDS
Part of the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Family Discovery Series
February 25, 2023, 3:00 p.m. • Perelman Theater on the Kimmel Cultural Campus
Divi Roxx Kids brings funky bass lines and inspiring rhymes of empowerment to the stage with songs from her debut family music album, Ready Set Go! Little ones will clap their hands, stomp their feet, and move to the beat of songs performed by the energetic and internationally acclaimed, award-winning bassist and songwriter, Divinity Roxx.
Divinity Roxx made her entrance into the family music scene and instantly gained attention with her infectious bass beats and unique approach to meaningful music for kids and families. She’s toured the world and played with masters like Beyoncé and Victor Wooten, and now the immense talent is turning her attention to the audience that matters most.
Ready Set Go! is a celebration of self-love and positivity specifically designed for kids aged 8 and under. The lyrics of two of the songs from the album, "Happy and Healthy" and "Me + You", were released as fully illustrated books by Scholastic as part of their Family and Community Engagement initiative. The books were illustrated by NaShanta Fletcher.
The Family Discovery Series is sponsored by Dietz & Watson.
Black History Month Kimmel Cultural Campus Education Programming includes:
CREATIVE STAGES SIGNATURE PROGRAM
More information to come.
Jazz4Freedom is a program developed for 4th grade students linking Jazz to Black History in Pennsylvania and beyond. Taught by experienced teaching artists, 4th graders are first engaged with a preshow workshop about the Harlem Renaissance and growth of jazz in Philadelphia. The highlight of Jazz4Freedom is a field trip to see Kimmel Center’s Jazz4Freedom performance featuring music, dance, and commentary on social change throughout history. Students are inspired by a post-show workshop which links the Civil Rights Movement to jazz and provides the opportunity for reflection on the continuation of social change. Finally, classroom teachers are empowered to continue the discussion through study guides connecting Jazz4Freedom to academic standards in Social Studies and Language Arts.
In September 2019, the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus announced its 5-year Strategic Growth expansion, which will educate, engage, and inspire 100,000 students each year in the Philadelphia area by year 2023. FREE education programming on the Campus and within the community is 100% supported by contributions, enabling the Center to fulfill its vision to transform lives daily through the arts and move forward in its mission to engage the region’s diverse communities with art through performance and education.
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Tickets can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999 or online at www.kimmelculturalcampus.org. In-person ticket sales can be conducted daily from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at the Academy of Music Box Office, located at 240 S. Broad Street. See www.kimmelculturalcampus.org for more information.
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KIMMEL CULTURAL CAMPUS
Located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia, our mission is to engage the region's diverse communities with art through performance and education. Our Cultural Campus serves more than 1-million guests per year and includes Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, and SEI Innovation Studio), the Academy of Music, and the Miller Theater (formerly the Merriam Theater) – representing more than 160 years of rich history for the performing arts along Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts. We are home to The Philadelphia Orchestra and seven esteemed Resident Companies: Opera Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, The Philly POPS, PHILADANCO, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Curtis Institute of Music. With nearly 9,000 seats per night, we are the region's most impactful performing arts center, and the second largest in the country. Our Cultural Campus serves as a preeminent and inclusive place to enjoy exceptional experiences that reflect the spirit of our region by cultivating a creative and socially responsible environment where our community shares experiences that are delivered with pride, integrity, and respect. As a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization, we collaborate on, present, and produce a broad range of relevant and meaningful events, we serve as an active gathering space for social and community events, we educate the region's young people through access to quality arts experiences, and we provide support to artists in the creation of new work. Read Kimmel Cultural Campus' vision statement, world view, and mission statement here. Learn more about our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and how it encompasses our mission, coworkers, and programs here.
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For a PDF version of this press release, click here.