A Celebration of African American Playwrights
March 22/23/24/25 & March 29/30/31
The importance of ONYXFest: Develop and present voices not often heard and showcase the work of established voices. Engage new and established audiences in the art and craft of production Bring new excitement to theatre and grow ONYXFest as a center for African American playwrights. Impact of ONYXFest: Growth of new works, new audiences, new performing companies, new fringe festival shows. Imagine the new voices being heard – on stage in 2018.
ONYXFest Events and Plays:
Tuesday March 13 - Jabberwocky:
Hear the voices of a trio of people who witnessed Robert Kennedy’s speech in 1968 and hear the impact that historic moment had on their lives. Reflect with these witnesses on progress and struggles for racial and civil equality over the last 50 years since the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King.
Friday March 16 @ 6pm-7:30pm - ONYXFEST PREVIEW & READINGS
FREE EVENT Get a taste of the importance of ONYXfest via a panel discussion with the playwrights and cast, plus light refreshments.
March 22-March 31 ONYXFest Plays:
Dear Bobby: The Musical
http://www.indyfringe.org/theatre-show/dear-bobby-musical This play explores the very real struggles and successes of the Black community and the Jewish community to unite as one around the time of Bobby Kennedy’s arrival in Indianapolis to deliver a speech about his run for presidency. Instead, he found himself having to inform and console the audience about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On opening night Thursday, March 22, join us for complimentary light refreshments at 6 p.m. and the show at 7 p.m.
Playwright: Angela Jackson Brown Lyrics: Music: Peter Davis Judith Rosenstein and Annabelle Strong are two twelve year old girls from opposite sides of Indianapolis but their stories are similar. Both girls are growing up without their mothers and both have two very loving fathers and brothers.This play explores the very real struggles and successes of the Jewish community and the black community to unite as one in Indianapolis during this time. It explores in a larger scope, the tumultuous times everyone was living through as they watched in horror the assassination of their leaders.
“Take My Hand” (A Blues Man’s Path to Gospel) Playwright: Lillie Evans
Thomas Dorsey, a self confident composer and self-taught pianist is determined to make his mark. In his early twenties he was well on his way to being one of the most prolific composer in blues history and was sought after by some of the top blues artist of his time. But, what's gospel have to do with it? His vision is to marry church music with blues rhythms—it was called gospel. Pressured by those around him, he is unable to choose between the blues he loves and the secular music he was striving to change. The answer comes at a heavy price but heralds a song that anointed Dorsey as the “father of gospel music.”
Playwright: Lillie Evans is a playwright, author and storyteller. Her plays include Grandmothers, Incorporated, which enjoyed at twelve week Off Broadway run and produced by the Billie Holiday Theater; Stakeout (both with co-writer Crystal Rhodes), and Is God Calling My Name? Her play Take My Hand was selected for a reading at the prestigious National Black Theater Festival. Barnett is an author and writes under the pen name L. Barnett Evans. She has co-authored four cozy mysteries: Grandmothers, Incorporated; Saving Sin City, There's Something Wrong with Miss Zelda, and Whose Knife Is It Anyway? The books have received two on-line book awards. She is a member of the international organization, Sisters In Crime. Ms. Barnett is an Indiana native and holds a Bachelor's degree from the Indiana Institute of Technology. Visit her at www.lilliebarnettevans.com or www.grandmothersincorporated.com email: Lbarnettevans@gmail.com
Forever Moore Playwright: Lanetta Overton
The holidays are quickly approaching, and the Moore family is planning to visit with one another. Ruby and Michael are anticipating the arrival of their three beloved sons. Tyrique is the eldest son, he is a lawyer who has worked hard to make partner at Lax and Chism Law firm. He’s in the right business, but he may soon need a lawyer of his own. Trent is the middle son who is currently in his last year at Notre Dame, his passion is football, but he has a love for something else which could lead to his demise. Lastly, the youngest son Jywan is a military man that has not always had a voice, but is in desperation of trying to be heard. The Moore’s will share more than good food and laughs over the holiday. It’s time for this family to show they will be there for one another despite the odds they may face.
Playwright: Lanetta Overton is making her debut as a playwright and director with “Forever Moore.” Born and raised in Chicago, her first acting performance was in October 2016 at Eastern Star Church in “Creeps and Silly Women.” Since then she has appeared in multiple plays, films, co-directed and offers character development coaching.
FREE EVENTS - NEW PLAY READING
G.O.Me (Get Off of Me) Playwright: Curtis D. Shepard
Families, like birthdays, can be full of surprises. In 2016, a close-knit family in a quiet cul-de-sac nestled in Crooked Creek, Ind., came face to face with secrets that would surprise them all. Mr. Fix It, a respected handyman in the community, had a peculiar talent for fixing things once broken. Occasionally, some things, even people, are broken unfixable.
Playwright: Writer, Actor, Spoken Word Artist and Change Agent. Now accepting bookings for ‘TRAPPED’, - One couples journey from love to domestic violence. And, ‘UnMasked’, a triumphant tale of abuse, abandonment, addiction and RECOVERY! “Often, the greatest difference we can make is making memories that make a difference”.
Summer Storm Playwright: Ramla Bandele
In a bizarre chain of events, Summer Barker Brown, finds herself involved in a criminal investigation that could lead to the loss of her child. However, in this era of renewed Black activism around police brutality and misconduct, Summer is helped by the Community Social and Psychological Service Center.
Playwright: Ramla Bandele is a local writer interested in telling contemporary, authentic dramas about Black life. As a professor of Political Science and Africana Studies, she has also written several non-fiction works about the African American experience.
Book Launch: Indiana Avenue - Life and Musical Journey from 1915 to 2015 Author: Aleta Hodge
Experience the robust legacy of music including ragtime, blues, jazz, spiritual, bebop, doo wop, Motown, opera and hip hop. A diverse array of Indiana music legends are represented including Wes Montgomery, J.J. Johnson, Freddie Hubbard, The Ink Spots, David Baker, Larry Ridley, Slide Hampton, Hoagy Carmichael, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Angela Brown and Babyface Edmonds. Over 60 photos and maps illustrate the rich and notable history.
Author: Aleta Hodge grew up in the racially-segregated neighborhood near Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis. She wrote an editorial column for the Indianapolis Star for three years on health and wealth topics and appeared on NBC and FOX 59 news segments. In 1991, she presented her paper, “International Marketing Approach for Women and Small Business Owners” at the World Conference on Entrepreneurship and Innovative Change in Singapore. She is the author of two financial empowerment books – “Women and Money” and “The Value Book.”