Philadelphia Theatre Company presents Prospect Theater Company’s “Making Micheaux” about America’s first major Black filmmaker

-Courtesy of Aversa PR & Events
Feature photo: Aaron Marcellus in MAKING MICHEAUX; image by DP Brian Bon

Philadelphia Theatre Company continues its 20-21 Virtual Theatre season presenting Prospect Theater Company’s original musical on film, Making Micheaux, directed by PTC Resident Director Jeffrey Page. This 15-minute film is available now through May 16th. Access to the video is free and is available through the PTC website at philatheatreco.org. Audience questions can be answered by calling the company’s virtual box office at 215-985-0420.

This 15-minute jazz musical-on-film is inspired by the life of America’s first major Black filmmaker, Oscar Micheaux. In 1918 Chicago, Micheaux stands at a turning point in his life: Facing down a world which denies him a place in the narrative, what path will he take? Prospect Theater Company created this as part of the company’s VISION Series of original music-theater on film. Making Micheaux has a book and lyrics by Jesse L. Kearney, Jr. and music by jazz artist Alphonso Horne. It is directed by Jeffrey Page and stars Aaron Marcellus.  

Making Micheaux is a meditation on the ingenuity and perpetual will of black people to both locate and create a celebrated reflection of self within society,” said Page.  “Oscar Micheaux and his work represents this idea. With music by Alphonso Horne and a book by Jesse L. Kearney, Jr., I was interested in situating the spirit of Oscar Micheaux in direct conversation with contemporary questions about race politics and the pervasive black story. The gesture is impressionistic and a fantasy-like metaphor of something that I believe to be urgent and necessary.”

The film features jazz musicians Endea Owens, Mathis Picard, and TJ Reddick with Alphonso Horne. Director of Photography is Brian Bon; editing by Milton Guanga. The production team includes lighting designer Victoria Davidjohn, sound designer Kevin Heard, project and production manager Josh Cape, production manager Pope Jackson, and Health & Safety Supervisor Zoe Grabinski, M.D. 

PTC is also giving audiences a chance to learn more about Making Micheaux with a post-screening discussion hosted by award-winning writer Kirsten Childs with the creative team. It is available at philatheatreco.org.

About Jeffrey Page
PTC Resident Artist Jeffrey Page is an opera and theatre director of both classical and contemporary works. As director and choreographer, he spearheaded the Tokyo production of Memphis, which received four Yomiuri Award nominations, including Best Musical. The first African American to be named the Marcus Institute Fellow for Opera Directing at the Juilliard School, he has also been nominated for an Emmy Award, and won an MTV Video Music Award for his work with Beyoncé. His work was featured on Beyoncé’s “The Formation World Tour,” in her historic Coachella performance, and in two of her HBO specials. Page was the associate creative director for Mariah Carey’s “Sweet, Sweet Fantasy” European Tour, and has been a featured choreographer on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.” 

As a performer, Page was in the original Broadway cast of Fela! and choreographed the Broadway musical Violet starring Sutton Foster. At the Barrington Theatre Company,  Page won a Berkshire Theater Award for Joe Iconis’ Broadway Bounty Hunter. In 2016, he established Movin’ Legacy as an Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the ethnology and documentation of contemporary and traditional dance from Africa and the African diaspora. He holds a Master’s of Fine Arts degree, (Theatre Directing) from Columbia University in New York City, and has been awarded the Chuck Davis Emerging Choreographer Fellowship from the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Jeffrey recently joined the adjunct faculty of The Juilliard School as well as Harvard University as a Lecturer in Theater, Dance and Media. Currently, he is preparing to choreograph and co-direct, with Diane Paulus, the upcoming Broadway production of 1776, after premiering at the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University.

You can hear Jeffrey every Friday at noon on Philadelphia’s WURD, as he co-moderates Stage Door, a weekly radio show covering Arts & Culture, with Tiffany Bacon, host of The Source.

About Aaron Marcellus
Aaron Marcellus (Oscar Micheaux) is a singer, vocal coach, writer, musician, dancer, and actor from Atlanta who got his start in gospel music and has performed around the world. He has recorded albums and was voted top 24 on American Idol in 2011. After a world tour, Marcellus was featured in a ChapStick commercial, NBC’s Next Caller, and STOMP. Marcellus also hosts a burlesque show at Duane Park. He founded Surrender to Love, LLC, a foundation that supports arts programs and seeks to feed the hungry and Adventure Voice, a training program offering vocal classes for groups and individuals. He directs The Marcellus Music Ensemble, a new and powerful collection of voices that help to comprise the Marcellus Orchestra.

Making Micheaux is free and is available through the PTC website at philatheatreco.org. Audience questions can be answered by calling the company’s virtual box office at 215-985-0420.

Making Micheaux is supported by Cozen O’Connor and Firstrust Bank & The Daniel B. and Florence E. Green Family Foundation

ABOUT PHILADELPHIA THEATRE COMPANY
Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) is a leading regional theater company that produces, develops, and presents entertaining and imaginative contemporary theater focused on the American experience.

PTC’s 2020-21 virtual season is supported by Independence Blue Cross with additional support from Comcast NBCUniversal and Cozen O’Connor for its cultural equity programs. PTC also receives support from PNC Arts Alive for ticketing access. 

Founded in 1974, Philadelphia Theatre Company has presented 201 world and Philadelphia premieres. More than 50 percent of PTC’s world premieres have moved on to New York and other major cities, helping to earn Philadelphia a national reputation as a hub for new play development. In 2007, PTC was instrumental in expanding Philadelphia’s thriving cultural corridor by opening the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on the Avenue of the Arts.

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