Theater for New Town to Present World Premiere of I JUST WANT TO TELL SOMEONE
Smokey Stevens, one of Broadway’s great musical performers, has adapted his autobiographical novel, “I Just Want To Tell Someone: The Autobiography of Ronald Smokey Stevens,” into a One-Man and Two-Way theatrical production. characters. The play dramatizes Stevens’ lifelong battle with drugs, in which he finally triumphed. “Smokey” plays both himself and his nemesis, a sarcastic doppelganger called “D MAN”. The play takes us through modern moments in theatrical history which were the triumphs of Smokey and the journey through drug use that came close to its demise. Theater for the New City will present the New York premiere of the work from January 6 to 23, 2022, directed by Stephen Byrd.
Mr. Stevens earned a spot on Broadway thanks to his raw talent and intelligence, becoming a featured member of the ensemble of productions such as “Bubbling Brown Sugar”, “Inacent Black”, “Dreamgirls”, his own musical. , “Rollin ‘on the TOBA,” and tours of “One Mo’ Time” and “Ain’t Misbehavin ‘”. His films include “The Wiz” (as one of the Crows playing with Michael Jackson), “The Cotton Club” and “Times Square”. He has danced with greats like tap master Charles “Honi” Coles, Lucille Ball, Cab Calloway and Gregory Hines, to name a few. He is now Artistic Director of the Capital City Readers Theater in Washington, DC, recipient of the 11th Annual @NAACP Theater Arts Award, and Documentary Director.
Stevens also co-designed the vaudeville musical, “Shoot Me While I’m Happy,” which premiered at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. While in New York he also produced “The Sho ‘Nuff Variety Revue” at The Village Gate, “The Rising Stars Cabaret” and productions at the Children’s Theater of Harlem.
In an archival music video, you can watch Stevens perform “The Hop Scop Blues” from “Rollin ‘on the TOBA” (1999). This production was a tribute to the genius of the artists who roamed the black vaudeville circuit known as TOBA – Theater Owners’ Booking Association – in the 1920s and 1930s. He was both a champion and a destroyer of Black Vaudeville. .
A native of Washington DC, he began his professional training and career at the DC Black Repertory Co., where he studied and performed in the repertoire for six years. After graduation, he appeared in “Showdown Times” on the National Black Touring Circuit.
He had already adapted his first published book, “I Just Want to Tell Someone, the Autobiography of Ronald Smokey Stevens”, into a solo stage production of the same title and performed a development version of it at the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company. in Washington DC in 2011.
He graduated from the Community Film Workshop in Chicago, where he produced two 16mm shorts. He received a Heritage Project Grant sponsored by the DC Humanities Council for his first documentary, “Preserving Ledroit Park”. For DCTV, he co-produced a documentary about The Arc, a humanitarian community-serving mall east of the Anacostia River in Washington, DC. His other documentaries are “America: An Immigration Nation”, “Dancing Destinations: The Story of DC Hand Dance” and “Black Broadway at The Village Gate”.
He recently published his second book, “The First 60 Years, The History of Afro-American Musical Theater and Entertainment 1865-1930”.
The direction and scenography are by Stephen Byrd. The lighting design is by Alexander Bartenieff. Multimedia is by Larry Law.
Director / Set Designer Stephen Byrd is originally from Washington, DC, where he began his theatrical career at age 16 in Ted Shine’s production of “Mrs. Patterson”, where he met and performed with Ronald “Smokey” Stevens. He studied drama at Howard University (BFA cum laude) and trained in theater with James W. Butcher, Glenda Dickerson and Linda Gravatt and in directing with Vera J. Katz and Davey-Marlin Jones. As part of his personal mission, he has written and performed to date 18 performances for the public in non-traditional places, including prisons, nursing homes, shelters for battered women, halfway houses, centers hospices, homeless shelters and drug addiction centers. . He produced, wrote and directed “Teddy Bear Blues Don’t Last” for the DC Black Theater Festival in Washington, DC. Production of the educational workshop of the theater “Love’s Labor’s Lost”.
Mr. Stevens writes: “Putting on a show in New York is no easy task. I would like to thank Crystal Field for their mission and vision. I am extremely grateful to him and to the Theater for the New City for providing me the opportunity to share my new work in such a prestigious historical environment.
Members of the public must show proof of vaccination to attend this live show.
Masks are mandatory at all times for all spectators.
The artists will not be masked.
For more information visit: https://theaterforthenewcity.net/