(PATERSON, NJ) -- The Paterson Performing Arts Development Council (PPADC) will present the inaugural Hamilton Arts Festival from June 17 – 25, 2021. The festival includes a series of events including streaming films, virtual theatrical performances, and roundtable discussions. On Thursday, June 17th, PPADC will host a private screening of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical drama In The Heights at the Fabian 8 Cinema for a group of Paterson H.S. students and senior citizens. The film adaptation of the Broadway musical tells a story set over the course of three days, involving characters in the largely Dominican neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City.
The festival includes the Playwright Showcase Abigail (June 18 at 7:30pm ET), a dramatic play written by Sarah Tuft, the second place winner of the PPADC 2020 Show Me The Monologue Playwriting Competition. Directed by Kristen Penner, this virtual workshop production will stream live over ZOOM. Abigail tells the story of a renowned stage actress who hires her Hollywood director husband to helm an American theater classic—Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible—on Broadway. But when he insists on casting a YouTube star to play the lead Abigail Williams, her objection to the role’s misogyny threatens to unpin the play and all its players. A portrait of an older woman’s complicity and a younger woman’s disruption. ABIGAIL is a dramatic play that examines our #METOO culture and reverence for icons that perpetuates a cycle of predatory behavior. ABIGAIL is a 2021 O'Neil and 2020 Ashland Finalist.
In honor of this Juneteenth, Hamilton Arts Festival’s lineup includes film shorts, documentaries, and videos streaming on demand starting June 19th including Giving Voice: A Black Lives Matter Musical, featuring a diverse cast of Georgia College Department of Theater and Dance students, a documentary dedicated to victims of police violence; and, From Pain To Power, a documentary released by REVOLT that highlights influencers doing the groundwork for social equality, including Tip “T.I.” Harris, Tamika Mallory, Drumma Boy, Shabazz the OG, and Mothers of the Movement. Some films are centered on social justice, and Black history, while others are present-day stories told by Black creators. Juneteenth—a holiday marking the end of slavery in the U.S. on June 19, 1865—has been celebrated by African Americans since 1866, starting in Texas and spreading across the nation.
Bryan-Keyth Wilson, who is the first place winner of PPADC’s 2020 Show Me The Monologue Playwriting contest, is a native of La Marque, Texas, a city in Galveston County where Juneteenth originated. PPADC is proud to present its Playwright Showcase of Wilson’s choreopoem, For Colored Boyz On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown/When Freedom Ain’t Enuf (June 25 at 7:30pm ET).
“Our presentation of Bryan-Keyth Wilson’s For Colored Boyz is an homage to the groundbreaking work of playwright and poet Ntozake Shange who ushered in a new genre of theater, one uniquely representative of Black feminist expression,” says Denise E. Womack, a local poet, and Board President of the Paterson Performing Arts Development Council. “Wilson’s narrative around the lives of men of color does not shy away from this expressive dramatic artform. The Hamilton Arts Festival represents our commitment to shepherd and cultivate more diverse and non-traditional theatre offerings to Paterson.”
Inspired by the Ntozake Shange choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf, Wilson's piece examines the dark realities of what it means to be a man of color in America, addressing such issues as toxic masculinity, systemic racism, mental health, homophobia, and police brutality. For Colored Boyz is a composition that was birthed out of frustration, self-examination, and reflection through the eyes of a Black man. A Talkback with the playwright, cast and crew will follow the performance. For Colored Boyz features strong language and is intended for mature audiences age 17+
Leading up to For Colored Boyz is a roundtable panel discussion focusing on Trauma and Mental Health (June 23rd at 7:00pm ET), especially among Black men. Exposure to trauma, whether through witnessing or direct victimization, is often a daily reality for many Black males who often have an unmet need for mental health services. The panel features retired Paterson Police Lieutenant Dalton Price and former NFL linebacker Dwight Hollier, Sr. Associate Vice President of Wellness and Clinical Services for the NFL and Senior Associate Athletic Director for Student Athlete Health, Well Being, and Program Outreach at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Also, as part of the lineup at the Hamilton Arts Festival, is a showcase of films from different independent artists across the globe to highlight our International Film Day Celebration on June 24. This includes the documentary Janani’s Juliet directed by Pankaj Rishi Kumar, who traces the making of the play, ‘Chandala: The Impure’, which weaves caste politics into the Shakespeare classic Romeo and Juliet and is inspired by a real life victim of an honor killing in India.
PPADC is committed to presenting events that are accessible, free, or low-cost, diverse, and inclusive of a wide range of artistic voices. Tickets range from $2.99 for VOD and $10 for virtual performances.
The Hamilton Arts Festival is made possible with funds from the Passaic County Cultural & Heritage Council, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts; the New Jersey Theater Alliance; and the Investors Foundation. Special thank you to our HAF Fanbase Sponsors: PSEG, TD Bank, and 4imprint, our supporters, and our individual donors.
The Paterson Performing Arts Development Council (PPADC) is a 501C3 nonprofit organization based in Paterson, NJ. PPADC devotes its energy and resources to fulfill our mission of bringing together diverse communities via performing arts and cultural events, establishing career pathways for aspiring and accomplished independent artists, and promoting the City of Paterson as a destination for arts enthusiasts. PPADC also strives to engage and encourage our city’s artistic youth. PPADC is an Affiliate Member of the New Theater Alliance, the country's first statewide professional theatre service organization; and a member of ArtPride New Jersey, the state's largest arts service and advocacy organization.