The Black Rep announces 2015-16 schedule

39th season to feature new 'Edison Series' at Washington University

The Black Rep will bring “Tell Me Somethin’ Good,” its popular musical revue, back to Edison Theatre this September. Pictured from left, in a 2004 production, are Sara Stephens, Lisa Rachel Harris and Tameka Bradford. (Credit: Courtesy of The Black Rep)

In 1976, as a student at Washington University in St. Louis, Ron Himes began staging upstart theatrical productions across the Danforth Campus. Thirty-nine years later, The St. Louis Black Rep has grown to become one of the nation’s largest and most respected professional African-American companies.

On Sept. 2, Himes and The Black Rep will launch their 2015-16 season with “Tell Me Somethin’ Good” in Washington University’s Edison Theatre. The decades-spanning musical revue, which runs through Sept. 20, is the first of three shows The Black Rep will present in Edison this year.

“Washington University is where it all began,” said Himes, The Black Rep’s producing director as well as the Henry Hampton Artist-in-Residence in the Performing Arts Department in Arts & Sciences.

“We’ve been staging shows in Edison for several years now, but this is the first time we’ve had the resources to present three in a single season,” Himes said. “The Edison Series, as we’re calling it, represents a great new opportunity for us, and a whole new level of commitment on the part of the university. We’re very grateful for that support.”

Following “Tell Me Somethin’ Good,” The Edison Series will continue Jan. 13-31 with Dominique Morisseau’s family drama “Sunset Baby.” The series will conclude with “The Family Reunion: In My Father’s House,” a company-developed work-in-progress, April 20-May 1.

“The Black Rep is a St. Louis — and indeed a national — institution,” said Mark Rollins, chair of the Performing Arts Department. “Theater is creative laboratory that helps shape the ways we see ourselves and the communities in which we live. We are extremely proud of the work Ron has done as a student, as an alumnus and as a teacher, and we’re thrilled to welcome The Black Rep back to campus for the coming season.”

“This season has something for everybody,” Himes said. “Music and drama; the personal and the political; new works and old favorites — they’re all part of the theater, and they’re all part of human experience.”

The Black Rep 2015-16 ‘Edison Series’

Sept. 2-20
“Tell Me Somethin’ Good”
Conceived by Ron Himes, this critically acclaimed revue — one of the most popular shows ever produced by The Black Rep — is a stroll down musical memory lanes, from the street-corner doo-wop of the 1950s through ’60s soul, ’70s funk and the birth of hip-hop.

Jan. 13-31, 2016
“Sunset Baby”
Written by Dominique Morisseau, “Sunset Baby” tells the story of Kenyatta Shakur, a onetime Black Revolutionary and political prisoner. After the death of his wife, Kenyatta desperately tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Nina, but finds that reconciling with his past means conquering the most challenging revolution of all: fatherhood.

April 20-May 1, 2016
“The Family Reunion: In My Father’s House”
This company-developed work-in-progress celebrates the trials, tribulations and triumphs of the African-American family through poetry, music, dance and dramatic literature.