Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day that a regiment of Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of the enslaved peoples of Texas. On January 1, 1980, Texas became the first state to declare Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day and Freedom Day, an official state holiday. Today, corporations throughout America are recognizing the holiday, states are considering following Texas’ lead in declaring it a state holiday and Congress is considering making Juneteenth a national holiday.
Here are some theatrical observances:
Tonight at 5pm
IN Series concert
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IN series artists Melissa Wimbish, Jarrod Lee, Brittani McNeill, and Carl DuPont celebrate Juneteenth with a concert featuring a medley of music and traditional readings. Here’s how to join the conversation after.
Tonight: Red carpet: 6pm, Awards ceremony: 7pm
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Broadway! Black hosts the inaugural Antonyo Awards, a celebration of the Black Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre community. The streamed ceremony will include a pre-show virtual red carpet, original musical numbers, star presenters and performers, and more.
Current scheduled: Audra McDonald, Tituss Burgess, Alex Newell, Jordan E. Cooper, Teyonah Parris, Ephraim Sykes, LaChanze, Derrick Baskin, Nicolette Robinson, Jelani Alladin, Christiani Pitts, James Monroe Iglehart, Amber Iman, Kalen Allen, Nzinga Williams, Jackson Alexander, Cody Renard Richard, Ashton Muñiz, Shereen Pimentel, Kirsten Childs, Aisha Jackson, Antoine L. Smith, Griffin Matthews, Michael McElroy, Jocelyn Bioh, and L Morgan Lee.
Four special “Kinfolk Awards” – the Lorraine Hansberry Award, the Langston Hughes Award, Welcome Award and The Doors of the Theatre are Open Award – will also be presented to members of the Black theatre community as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Register for the free After Party hosted by TodayTix.
TODAY: 10pm ET, 7pm PT
Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids.
by Vincent Terrell Durham
A reading, part of the Juneteenth Theatre Justice Project
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Theatre companies from Florida to California are staging Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids as part of Juneteenth Theatre Justice Project, a nationwide movement by American theater companies striving to “change the world, one play at a time.” The project was created in response to the current civil uprising in reaction to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others.
“With a perfect blend of wit, pathos and humor, [Polar Bears] speaks to some of the most pressing subjects of our time — gentrification, white fragility, the sustainability of the planet, the Black Lives Matter movement and police violence against Black bodies.” – Aldo Billingslea, founder, Juneteenth Theatre Justice Project.
Many Americans are learning of the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma massacre, now being brought into sharp focus by President Donald Trump’s decision to hold a campaign in that city during what would otherwise be the weekend celebration of Juneteenth.
Now through June 25
Alvin Ailey Dance Theater
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Celebrated choreographer Donald Byrd draws on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre as his main source for Greenwood, a riveting ensemble work with music by Israeli violist and composer Emmanuel Witzthum. As his fifth work for the company, Greenwood navigates through one of the worst incidents of racial violence in US history and explores the story through different lenses of those who were affected.
Coming this weekend:
from Studio Theatre:
What does Freedom mean to you?
Watch on Studio Theatre’s YouTube page
Conversations with Studio-affiliated artists including Temídayo Amay, Ora Jones(Curve of Departure), Shannon Dorsey (Skeleton Crew), Felicia Curry (Laugh), and Jeremy Hunter (Good Bones reading, Pass Over).
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