A Gullah Healer Woman and an Afro-Cuban Priest forge a new world of magic & dreams in Jim Crow Miami.

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Ok so the setting isn’t quite the Bronx but rather in tropical Miami, however, I thought this was a good Kickstarter campaign to promote especially since its executive producer, Ron Simons, produced the award winning ‘Gun Hill Road‘ which was written by Bronxite, Rashaad Ernesto Green.

Besides that, it’s a story that many of our readers can relate to, regardless of which corner of the globe you hail from.

From their Kickstarter campaign page (For 7 days, April 14th-April 21st, a donor has pledged $10,000 to match any pledge of $150 or more!  With your help, we can raise $20,000!)

WHAT’S GOOD BREAD ALLEY?

Good Bread Alley is the second play in April Yvette Thompson’s Miami trilogy of plays – the first being the critically acclaimed New York Theatre Workshop production Liberty City (www.libertycityplay.com) about the end of the Black power movement in Miami focusing on the journey of a movement family.

Not quite a musical but rather, a play with a whole lot of music, dance, Orisha myth & magical realism, Good Bread Alley is August Wilsonian epic meets Like Water for Chocolate.  A period play in the tradition of Lynn Nottage’s heroine-led stories, Good Bread Alley is a story about how families are made and the power of love.  Afro-Cuban and Gullah music, dance and myth create an epic landscape that explores the most fundamental truths about a mother’s love and the struggle to become better than what was promised.

Inspired by my great-grandmother Celia’s life in a raucous Miami neighborhood named Good Bread Alley, the play takes place days before the1926 Great Hurricane. When Miami was little more than a swamp with shanty houses, Celia owned property, ran several businesses, buried three husbands and was on the verge of learning life’s most important lessons. She was a trailblazer, an autodidact and the town’s rainmaker building an oasis in the Jim Crow South.

WHAT’S THE DEAL?

We’re raising funds for a sequence of developmental workshops for Good Bread Alley over the next year!  The goal of these workshops will be to add Afro-Cuban and Gullahmusic and dance – two essential elements without which Good Bread Alley cannot be told.   There are places where each tradition has songs, dance and poetry that teach the great lessons that the characters have forgotten.

April is joining forces with Cuban Composer/Percussionist Enildo Rasua and Musical Director Justin Ellington who are co-composing the score of Good Bread Alley which explores both the Afro Cuban and Gullah traditional music and dance forms that have been passed down to April from her family.  From traditional Rumba to Guaguanco to Ring Shouts, work songs and spirituals; these two West African-based traditions have grown richer like a thick gumbo passed through the sieve of slavery, Spanish occupation, Cuban revolution, Jim Crow and Reconstruction to create a new recipe for what it means to be African, Cuban and American.

During our upcoming workshop with New York Theatre Workshop, we’ll be adding theses major elements and streamlining the text to allow the music and dance to tell the story.

 

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