Black Broadway: A Proud History, A Limitless Future
Premieres Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV and the PBS App / Watch Now with KPBS Passport!
“Black Broadway: A Proud History, A Limitless Future” is a new concert special that celebrates iconic stage performances made famous by Black artists and features the best of the current generation of Black Broadway stars. Performing classics from “The Wiz,” “The Color Purple,” “Company,” “Porgy & Bess,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and more, the cast is joined by multiple guest conductors and a choir of students from HBCUs Howard University and Morgan State University. All are accompanied by the American Pops Orchestra, founded by Music Director Luke Frazier. The concert was filmed on Oct. 5, 2022, at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium.
Featured artists include television and Broadway star Corbin Bleu (“Make Them Hear You” from "Ragtime"); Broadway performer and concert soloist Nikki Renée Daniels (“Being Alive” from "Company" and “Come Rain Or Come Shine” from "St. Louis Woman"); and Broadway and TV star Tiffany Mann (“Fools Fall In Love” from "Smokey Joe’s Café" and “I Got Love” from "Purlie"). Nova Payton sings “I’m Here” from "The Color Purple," a show in which she starred in Washington, D.C., followed by Stephanie Mills — Dorothy in the original Broadway run of "The Wiz" — with “Home.”
Additional performers include Emmy, Tony and SAG Award nominee Norm Lewis (“I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’” from "Porgy and Bess" and “Waiting For Life” from "Once On This Island"); Broadway artist and choreographer John Manzari (“Low Down Blues” from "Shuffle Along"), and teenage prodigy violinist Leah Flynn (“Summertime” from "Porgy and Bess").
From Broadway’s "Hamilton," Amber Iman performs “Learn To Love” followed by Grammy winner Sydney James Harcourt with “Stan’ Up An’ Fight” (Carmen Jones). Actress, singer and drag artist Peppermint gives her rendition of the title song from "Ain’t Misbehavin,’" and Nova Payton returns to close the concert with the showstopping “And I Am Telling You” from "Dreamgirls."
Guest conductors featured include Dr. Eric Conway (Morgan State University), Brittany Chanell Johnson (Howard University), Sean Mayes (Broadway’s "Hadestown" and "Michael Jackson: the Musical") and Dr. Eric Poole (Howard University).
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"Black Broadway" premieres on Tuesday, Feb. 28 on KPBS TV and the PBS App, but is available on demand now before the broadcast with KPBS Passport, a benefit for members supporting KPBS at $60 or more yearly, using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.