A year-long live radio play series created by Harlem Stage’s Director of Programming Monique Martin and curated by playwright/actor NSangou Njikam explores the impact and resonance of the Harlem Renaissance after 100 years. Using influences of artists from the Renaissance, as well as one of the four elements of Hip Hop, each radio play will explore the past, present, and possible future of Harlem and how the Renaissance continues to be a rich source of inspiration across the globe and in every corner of this historic New York community. Combining music, theatre and imaginative foley i.e. beatboxer, The Renaissance EP takes you on an anthropological excavation through time and space to explore the power and legacy of a neighborhood that has been described as the epicenter of Black culture and the radical Black imagination.
Written by NSangou Njikam
Directed by Adesola Osakalumi
With Celestine Rae, Joseph Webb and NSangou Njikam
A young couple goes to the Apollo Theater, hoping to connect with the Spirit of The Renaissance, thinking it will bring back an energy that’s all but lost. Their plan is to appease and seek the help of Sandman, whose Spirit guards the secrets of the original Renaissance. Before long, they are on a journey that connects them with the beauty and harsh realities of the neighborhood they love. Can they truly bring back a “New Renaissance”? Or is Harlem doomed to lose its famed history forever?
Joseph Webb performs a short set celebrating the hoofers of the Renaissance. After visiting a poetry reading at the Langston House a young griot in training becomes inspired by the legends of the Harlem Renaissance era. Oscillating between the New Negro Movement and modern times-through swing and hip-hop this visit drives his ambition to tell the history of yesterday with the younger generations of today. This piece encompasses tap, dance, piano, song and poetry/emceeing.