11th Annual Juneteenth Jamboree of “Best” New Plays

The “11th Annual Jamboree is a “Festival of Who in Black America” with a theme of legacy – for both JLT’s decade of new play production and development as well as for the four stories told about the African-American experience and its legacy for four performances over three weekends.

We open with a 24-song blues legacy tribute, written by JLT Co-Founder Lorna Littleway and directed by Obie nominee Sue Lawless, to Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and the recently departed, Lena Horne, in “Juneteenth Blues Cabaret”, June 3-5; the legacy of Civil Rights efforts to get anti-lynching legislation passed told through the saga of Mamie Till and her brutalized teensge son, Emmett, in Ifa Bayeza’s one-act,”Till”, paired with the tragic story of a devoted elderly couple’s struggles with a local social security office in “How Long Have I Been Dead Anyway?” by Kentucky native Carridder Jones, June 10-12; and the legacies of Harlem Renaissance poet, Bruce Nugent and 60’s gay rights poet-activist, Essex Hemphill, whom North Carolina playwright Steve Willis imagines in the afterlife.

These plays were produced originally as staged readings in Festival years, 2006 for Passing Ceremonies, 2005 for Till, 2003 for Juneteenth Blues Cabaret aka Juneteenth Cotton Club Revue, and 2001 for How Long Have I Been Dead Anyway?