Creating Broadway history in Los Angeles, over 200 actors, singers, dancers, directors, choreographers, composers and producers will join together for the photo shoot "Black Stars of The Great White Way"- a Chapman Roberts Concept, Saturday, December 3, 2011, 11 a.m. at the California African American Museum (CAAM). This celebratory Broadway reunion is an effort to capture the unique style, elegance, sophistication and creativity vitality, which further illuminates the formidable talents of the African American performers of "The Great White Way" in the past, present and future. Broadway performers set to attend include Debbie Allen, Loretta Divine, Jackée Harry, Hattie Winston, Anna Maria Horsford, Roz Ryan, Charlene Woodard, Reginald Vel Johnson, Linda Hopkins and many more.
On the ghastly evening of January 28, 1985 the life's work of photographer Bert Andrews, which included 40,000 prints and 100,000 negatives and the only photographic essay chronicling the On and Off Broadway stage appearances of African Americans were destroyed in a fire that ravaged through an Eighth Avenue building where his studio was located in New York's Theatre District. Andrews spent the last three years of his life, attempting to restore the photos, but was unsuccessful. Over a half century after Andrews' first photo, rising from the dust and ashes are the recently captured images of some of the surviving Bert Andrews subjects, which are included in Carmen L. de Jesus' current photo collection, "Releasing The Spirit: Faces of The Theatre." Carmen L. de Jesus is the protégé of Bert Andrews and is now a world-class photographer whose work will be presented in her expressionist collection of Black notables of American Theatre in New York during the spring of 2012, preceding a national tour.
Broadway veteran Chapman Roberts known for his performances and production work in "Hair," "Hello Dolly," "Five Guys Named Moe," "Bubbling Brown Sugar," and "The Fantasticks," was inspired by de Jesus' mission to recreate her mentor's visions.
"The Great White Way," coined because of the influx of lights in the early 1900s, is the area of Broadway Avenue in the Times Square Midtown section of New York City, encompassing the Theatre District, between 42nd and 53rd Streets.
The photo opportunity is open to other African American Broadway veterans, current and incoming. A portion of all proceeds from the sale or commercial exploitation of the photo "Black Stars of The Great White Way"– A Chapman Roberts Concept will benefit The Richard Allen Center for Culture and Art, The Rodney Kirk Foundation at Manhattan Plaza, Manhattan Plaza Theatre Desk Fund at the Actors Fund, and the California African American Museum. Attendees should plan to arrive at 10 a.m. to sign in and photos will begin promptly at 11 a.m. CAAM's galleries, which are always free to the public, will be open for viewing.
CAAM is located at 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, 90037.