• Press Release

Virginia Stage Company, Public Works VA, Norfolk State University present The Earth Remembers




Words and Images courtesy of Virginia Stage Company.


Virginia Stage Company and Public Works Virginia, in collaboration with Norfolk State University Theatre Company, present the World Premiere of The Earth Remembers: a new musical song cycle. Thanks to funding from the N.E.A. (National Endowment for the Arts), this new Public Works piece was originally scheduled to premiere in August, 2020, but was postponed due to the global pandemic.


The Earth Remembers is a contemporary, original musical about the history of the Hampton Roads community and shines a light on the different cultural voices, past and present, that make up the unique community of the 757. Once Upon A Rhyme creative team, Ronvé O’Daniel (music & lyrics) and Jevares Myrick (music & orchestrations) are the playwrights. Anthony Mark Stockard, of NSU Theatre Company, directs.


This fully realized Public Works Virginia production uses a pageantry style of music, movement and large scale puppetry to tell the story of Hampton Roads. Cameo performance groups include Teens With a Purpose, Atumpan Edutainment, and Philippine Cultural Center School of Creative and Performing Arts, and Red Crook-ed Sky. Performances are free but are limited to a 200 seat capacity for social distancing requirements and masks will be mandatory to wear inside during the performances. Performances run from Friday, August 13th, through Sunday, August 15th. Free tickets can be booked here: https://www.vastage.org/ter

There will also be a free pre-show performance by local music artist and Teens With A Purpose lead teaching artist, Testimony. Learn more about his music here: https://www.instagram.com/officialtestimony/

Public Works Virginia believes that all people have the right to theatre. This large scale presentation contains opportunities for all members of our Hampton Roads Community to participate at various levels regardless of prior experience.


ABOUT THE EARTH REMEMBERS:

This episodic song cycle tells the History of Hampton Roads in a way you’ve never heard it before. Using rap, jazz, gospel, and rhythm & blues, we hear stories and meet characters foundational to who we are today. Watch this sneak peek.


ABOUT THE CREATORS:

Ronvé O’Daniel is a songwriter, lyricist, composer, playwright, and rapper. He was the recent participant in the TheatreWorks Silicon Valley New Works Festival, as well as the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony Residency at Goodspeed Theater. He was also the recipient of Eugene O’Neill National Music Theater Conference’s Georgia Bogardus Holof Lyricist Award – given to only one lyricist every summer who exemplifies a promising career in musical theater writing. Ronvé’s music was recently featured in the Letters to the President concert at New York City’s historical Great Hall to celebrate Cooper Union’s 160th anniversary. Additionally, Ronvé was featured as a performer and writer for Rafael Casal and Daveed Digg’s (Blindspotting and Hamilton) #BARS Workshop at The Public Theater. You can keep up with him at ronveodaniel.com.


Jevares C. Myrick is a New York-based award winning Producer, Composer/Orchestrator Singer, Actor, Dancer, and Choreographer. Co-Creator and Composer/Orchestrator of the new, multi-award winning musical "Once Upon A Rhyme". BROADWAY CREDITS: The Book of Mormon (Current Swing, Understudy, and Dance Captain) NATIONAL TOUR CREDITS: The Book of Mormon (1st & 2nd National Tour). REGIONAL THEATRE CREDITS: Guys and Dolls (MUNY), Heart of Rock and Roll, Smokey Joe's Café, All Night Strut, Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors, Grease, Ragtime, Ain't Misbehavin’, Sophisticated Ladies, and many more. TELEVISION/FILM CREDITS: The Originals (Choreographer, and actor). He is a five time Suzi Bass Award Nominee with 2 wins. Jevares is also an Ovation Award recipient for Best Male Vocalist.


ABOUT THE DIRECTORS:

ANTHONY MARK STOCKARD returns to Virginia Stage after having previously directed The Wiz. The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival has honored him with multiple Meritorious Achievement Awards for Excellence in Directing for his productions of Topdog/Underdog, The Brothers Size, Black Nativity, Broke-ology, and The Color Purple. Anthony has directed more than 60 productions for professional and university stages.

He proudly serves as director of Virginia’s most nationally recognized collegiate theatre program and America’s #1 Most Nationally Recognized HBCU Theatre Program of the last five years, NSU Theatre Company. Since his arrival to NSU, drama and theatre has gained historic national recognition and acclaim and record-breaking audience attendance. He is the Founding Director of the brand new BA in Drama & Theatre Program at Norfolk State University. Recent honors received were national awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for Distinguished Production & Performance Ensemble and Distinguished Performance by an Actor in a Play for the production The Brother’s Size. The production beat out more than 1,300 productions that were entered in the festival and involved more than 200,000 students nationwide. In July of 2017, the company won Best Fine Arts Program at the HBCU Awards in Washington, D.C. where Stockard was one of four national finalists for Male Faculty Member of the Year.

Anthony has also appeared as an actor in four VSC productions of A Christmas Carol and in The Parchman Hour as Martin Luther King Jr., How I Learned What I Learned as August Wilson, The Wiz as Uncle Henry, I Sing the Rising Sea as Langston Hughes and The Tempest as King Alonzo as well as many other off-Broadway and regional theatre productions. He holds a B.A. in Theater Arts from Alabama State University and an M.F.A. in Theatre Arts from Brandeis University.

He was recently named one of 25 Game Changers in American Theater; is an inaugural recipient of the 50 Under 50 Award at his alma mater, Alabama State University; is a presidentially appointed NSU Honors College Senior Fellow; is the recipient of the College of Liberal Arts’ 2015 Certificate of Achievement; the NSU Theatre Company’s 2016 Outstanding Dedication & Service Award and NSU Student Government Association’s 2016 Honor & Appreciation Award. He is the former Producing Artistic Director of Aldridge Repertory Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama.

He holds memberships and affiliations with Stage Directors & Choreographers Society, Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, The Association for Theatre in Higher Education and The Society of American Fight Directors. He currently sits on the boards of Region IV of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Cloverdale Playhouse in Montgomery, Alabama and Virginia Theatre Conference. He holds a M.F.A. in Theatre Arts from Brandeis University and a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Alabama State University. www.nsu.edu/drama -- www.anthonystockard.com


PATRICK MULLINS Recently adapted, directed and starred in Virginia Stage Company’s 2020 production of A Christmas Carol, a 4 person cast due to the global pandemic and social-distancing. Other recent directing and adaptation projects include The Tempest with music by Jake Hull and puppetry by Paperhand Puppet Intervention; The Taming of the Shrew, a synth-pop fantasia mixing Shakespeare’s text with the music of Jacki Paolella; Beneath the Surface, an immersive performance event at the Hermitage Museum and Gardens; The Tempest with music by Jean Sibelius performed with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra at Chrysler Hall; Swingtime Salute, a 1940's music revue on the deck of the USS Wisconsin; and Midsummer Fantasy Festival – an immersive Shakespearean festival/visual art installation/ performance event in Town Point Park. Patrick has directed work across the country, is a professor at Old Dominion University, and is a frequent collaborator with Norfolk State University Theatre Company. He holds an MFA in acting from the University of South Carolina. Pmull.com


Virginia Stage Company is southeastern Virginia’s leading theatre destination, normally serving an audience of over 58,000 annually both at the Wells Theatre and throughout the community. Since the shutdown in March, 2020, the Stage Company has pivoted to online content and has shared over 7,000 hours of free virtual content that has served more than 13,000 participants across the country. Virginia Stage Company's mission is to "enrich, educate, and entertain the region by creating and producing theatrical art of the highest quality.”


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