April 13 benefit at the Apollo Theater Soundstage to feature Patina Miller,
Leslie Odom, Jr., and music from Witness Uganda

 NEW YORK (March 31, 2015)—Theater and Harlem luminaries will converge on the Apollo Theater Soundstage on April 13 to mark the 15th anniversary of The Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH) (Ty Jones, Producing Artistic Director; David Roberts, Managing Director). Hosted by actor Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton, Law & Order: SVU, Person of Interest and Smash), CTH’s 15th Anniversary Celebration and Benefit Concert will feature the New York premiere of songs from the eagerly anticipated off-Broadway musical Witness Uganda, as well as an appearance by Patina Miller (Tony Award winner, Best Actress in a Musical, Pippin).

Called “a joyous, wrenching experience” by the Boston Globe, Witness Uganda by Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould has won the American Academy of Arts and Letters 2014 Richard Rodgers Production Award for Musical Theater, ASCAP’s Dean Kay Award and ASCAP’s Harold Adamson Award, among others. The show, which is set to open off-Broadway later this year, chronicles one man’s battle to find his place in a world full of injustice and inhumanity and explores the question: Is changing the world even possible?

CTH celebrates 15 years of creating comprehensive access for theater artists of diverse backgrounds. This includes not only actors but also directors, designers, playwrights, technicians and arts administrators. Since its founding in 1999, CTH has presented a world repertory ranging from works by classical playwrights (Chekhov, Euripides and Shakespeare) and established 20th-century playwrights (August Wilson, Langston Hughes and Derek Walcott) to new plays by emerging playwrights.

The Classical Theatre of Harlem’s 2015 season includes two anchor productions, the first being Shakespeare’s classic The Tempest, directed by Carl Cofield, and the second the world premiere of The First Noel, a holiday musical directed by Kamilah Forbes and created by Jason Michael Webb and Lelund Durond Thompson.

The family-friendly, free production of The Tempest will run from July 3 through 26 at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater at Marcus Garvey Park and is presented in association with City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage festival. The CTH-commissioned musical The First Noel, by composer/lyricist Jason Michael Webb (Brooklyn Tabernacle, Broadway’s Motown the Musical, Violet) and writer/lyricist Lelund Durond Thompson (founder, YellaFella Entertainment; and CTH Artistic Associate) will premiere in December. In development for two years, the Harlem-based holiday show is destined to become an evergreen classic for years to come.

The host committee for the CTH 15th Anniversary Celebration and Benefit Concert includes Rodrick Covington; David and Monica Csatari; Frederick Davie and Michael Adams; Laurent Delly; Kwaku Driskell; Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews; Richard Habersham; Greg Mays; Joe Johnson; Ty and Jill Jones; Peggy and Ulrich Jorde; Jason and Yvonne Lee; Alex and Brad Linard; Greg Mays; Estela Ogiste, M.D., Ph.D., and Jason Ogiste, M.D.; Billy Porter; David Roberts and Paul Di Donato; Zead Ramadan; Juan Ignacio Rosa; Ken and Kate Ruck; Donavin and Emilie Scott; Meredith Simmons; and Sue Suh.

Tickets for the event, which starts at 6:30 pm, are $100 each and can be purchased online at The Apollo Theater Soundstage is located at 253 West 125th Street in Manhattan. The Classical Theatre of Harlem can be found on Twitter at @classicalharlem and on Facebook at


The Classical Theatre of Harlem (Ty Jones, Producing Artistic Director; David Roberts, Managing Director) is an American theatre company which tells stories as seen through the lens of the African diaspora and does work that honors the cultural legacy of the neighborhood in which it was founded. CTH combines original adaptations, music and dance to present great classics of world literature as well as contemporary works that will stand the test of time, while being truly reflective of the diversity of ideas and racial tapestry that is America. CTH also proudly provides theater-based training and live theater experiences to Harlem youth and their families through its arts education program, Project Classics. The organization engages new audiences, provides artistic development of new work and gives exposure to emerging playwrights with its three free reading series: Future Classics, Playwrights’ Playground, and Revisited Classics. CTH is supported in part by Axe-Houghton Foundation, Casement Fund, City Parks Foundation, Columbus Foundation, Dramatists Guild Fund, Ford Foundation, Harlem Community Development Corporation, Jarvis & Constance Doctorow Family Foundation, L & N Andreas Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Office of NYC Councilmembers Inez E. Dickens and Mark D. Levine, Princess Grace Awards, Puffin Foundation West, SHS Foundation and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. Local business sponsors include: Art in FLUX, The Cecil, Harlem Shake, Lido, and Minton’s. Visit and follow CTH on Twitter (@classicalharlem), Instagram (@classicalharlem), and Facebook (

# # #

To arrange interviews or for media inquiry, contact:

Cheryl L. Duncan
Cheryl Duncan & Company Inc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment