On Saturday, The Billie Holiday Theater will hold a live performance at Bed-Stuy’s Black Lives Matter mural, bringing 12 stories of racial injustice to audiences near and far.
It will be the iconic theater’s first foray into live performance amidst the converging pandemics of COVID-19 and protests against racial injustice, and it will be streamed online for all.
The mainstage fall presentation, 12 Angry Men…and Women: The Weight of the Wait, is being held in partnership with The New Press, using stories from the acclaimed 12 Angry Men: True Stories of Being a Black Man in America Today, as well as an original story that focuses on the killing of Breonna Taylor.
The show is a reimagining of work put on at the theater in 2015. Theater Executive Artistic Director Dr. Indira Etwaroo said the previous show had an all-male cast, but with the recent persistent killings of Black women, the same level of outrage and illumination was warranted.
“The Billie will continue to innovate in response to the converging pandemics that disproportionately impact the lives of Black people in this country with works like 12 Angry Men…and Women,” she said. “Our stories are our salvation.”
12 Angry Men…and Women shares stories of everyday people subjected to racial profiling, and the cast includes Wendell Pierce, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Lisa Arrindell and Billy Eugene Jones, with live music by Daniel Bernard Roumain and a musical overture performed live by a quartet of New York Philharmonic musicians.
Tony Award-winning cast member Wendell Pierce said: “As an actor, performing these stories that illuminate systemic racial injustices in this country on the site of NYC’s first Black Lives Matter mural in the largest community of African Americans in the country, Central Brooklyn, is a statement.
“The statement is pure and it is simple: the fight for injustice has been centuries-long, but we will not cease to fight until all Black lives matter.”
The show will begin at 7.30 p.m. and can be viewed on The Billie Holiday Theater’s YouTube Channel.