Acting,Baton Rouge,Entertainment,Events,Submitted News admin“Since its launch in 2008, New Venture Theatre has premiered more than 60 shows bringing fresh voices to our arts community. We have hired, nurtured and developed more than 800 artists of color. “We have pressed our audiences to confront difficult issues and lead them with compassion towards transformational dialogue. We have raised our voices in harmony to joyfully lift the human spirit. We did more than build a theatre, we made a home for a hungry arts community. And we’re not done yet—twelve years is just the beginning,” said director Greg Williams Jr.Now the community theatre group welcomes season twelve with the following productions.CROWNSA GOSPEL MUSICALBy Regina Taylor, adapted from the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig MarberryFebruary 14-17LSU Studio Theatre | $30Crowns is a moving and celebratory exploration of history and identity as seen through the eyes of Yolanda, a young African-American woman who comes down South after her brother is killed, and is introduced to her grandmother’s circle of hat queens. Each hat holds the story of one of life’s joys or struggles, as Yolanda comes to realize that these hats aren’t just fashion statements, but testimonies of sisterhood—they are hard-earned Crowns.JAMBO! TALES FROM AFRICATHEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES!BOOK BY ALVIN A TEMPLEFebruary 22Southern University Hayden Hall Theatre | $15“Jambo, human beings!” Take a trip to Africa, where Lion, Monkey, Elephant and their larger-than-life animal friends share three stories of people and animals who find themselves in sticky situations and use their clever minds to escape. Brimming with African folklore, storytelling, and music, each tale is taken directly from the stories passed down through the folklore of many nations and cultures—including East Africa, Kenya, and the Kalahari Bushmen—and offers important lessons for children of all ages.FETCH CLAY, MAKE MANBy WILL POWERMarch 29-31LSU Studio Theatre | $20Contains some adult content/themes. Recommended for ages 13 and up.In the days leading up to one of the most anticipated fights for Cassius Clay—soon to become Muhammad Ali—the heavyweight boxing champion forms an unlikely friendship with controversial Hollywood star Stepin Fetchit. With a rhythmic script, the play explores the bond that forms between two drastically different and influential cultural icons trying to shape their legacies amidst the struggle of the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1960s and examines the true meaning of strength, resilience, and pride.THE COOKOUTA DANCE MUSICALApril 5-7Southern University Hayden Hall Theatre | $20You’ll be dancing in the streets with this new dance musical! It’s time to bring multiple generations of the family together for one big outdoor dance party. And let’s face it: At least half the fun of meeting up is having the young folks teach you the latest moves while the older relatives show how they used to get down back in the day! The Cookout is a dance musical that features all of your favorite songs to groove to. They transcend time and inspire you up off that picnic bench after a day of grilling and dining.DISNEY’S ALADDIN JR.THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES!Music by ALAN MENKENLyrics by HOWARD ASHMAN, TIM RICE, and CHAD BEGUELINBook by CHAD BEGUELINBased on the Disney film written by RON CLEMENTS, JOHN MUSKER, TED ELLIOTT & TERRY ROSSIOJune 21- 23LSU Shaver Theatre | $20 for Adults and $15 for KidsDisney’s Aladdin Jr. is based on the 1992 Academy Award-winning film and 2014 hit Broadway show about the “diamond in the rough” street rat who learns that his true worth lies deep within.SWEET GEORGIA BROWNBy GREG WILLIAMS, JR.Music by VARIOUS ARTISTSJuly 25-28LSU Shaver Theatre | $30This new musical is chock-full of sweet blues songs of the ’60s and ’70s, like “I Put a Spell on You,” “Let the Good Times Roll” and “Down Home Blues.” The diva herself, Georgia, has thoroughly burned her bridges in the music industry, including physically assaulting Etta James, cursing out Dr. Martin Luther King, and stealing the Tree of Hope from the Apollo Theatre. Determined to get back on top, Georgia takes up singing in a hole-in-the-wall club, ready to do whatever it takes to be number one again.PIPELINEBy DOMINIQUE MORISSEAUAugust 9-11LSU Studio Theatre | $20Contains adult language, content and themes. Recommended for ages 16 and up.The play’s title refers to the “school-to-prison pipeline,” and within it, inner-city public high school teacher Nya is committed to her students but desperate to give her only son Omari opportunities they’ll never have. When a controversial incident at his private school threatens to get him expelled, Nya must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent. But will she be able to reach him before a world beyond her control pulls him away? Don’t miss this deeply moving story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future—without turning her back on the community that made him who he is.HAIRSPRAY JR.THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES!Book by THOMAS MEEHAM and MARK O’DONNELLMusic by MARC SHAIMANLyrics by MARC SHAIMAN and SCOTT WITTMANBased on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by JOHN WATERSDate: Fall 2019 (to be announced May 1, 2019)LSU Shaver Theatre | $20 for Adults and $15 for KidsIt’s 1962, and spunky, plus-size teen, Tracy Turnblad, has one big dream—to dance on the popular “Corny Collins Show.” When she finally gets her shot, she’s transformed from social outcast to sudden star. In balancing her newfound fame with her desire for justice, Tracy fights to dethrone the reigning Miss Teen Hairspray, Amber von Tussle, and integrate a TV network in the process. With the help of her outsized mom, Edna, and guest DJ, Motormouth Maybelle, the rhythm of Tracy’s new beat just might proveONE NIGHT ONLYA FUNDRAISER FOR NEW VENTURE THEATRESATURDAY, MAY 25, 2019SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY HAYDEN HALL THEATREBACK BY POPULAR DEMAND…POLKADOTSTHE COOL KIDS MUSICALFRIDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2019SEASON 12NEW V AWARDSDECEMBER 7, 2019SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY HAYDEN HALL THEATREBOX OFFICE:225-588-7576 or www.nvtarts.orgRead more »
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New Venture Theatre’s artistic director Greg Williams Jr. is the recipient of the 2018 Man-Up Theatre of Arts Award from Patterson Enterprises who presents the 2018 Voice Awards, May 13, in New Roads. For 11 years, Williams has led New Venture’s productions in Baton Rouge.
Greg Williams, Jr. is in his eleventh season as Artistic Director at New Venture Theatre. Before beginning his role at New Venture, he served as a co-founder of the King Little Theatre and also the Creative Production Company.
His professional theatre background includes working with Don Holder (Tony Award Winning Lighting Designer for Disney’s THE LION KING), The Negro Ensemble Theatre Company (NYC), Black Theatre Network (New York), The Little Black Box Theatre Company (New Jersey), Northwestern State University (Louisiana) and American Family Theatre (Philadelphia.) He conceived the highly acclaimed musicals SHOUT! and SWEET GEORGIA BROWN, which both played to sold out audiences.
As Artistic Director for New Venture, Mr Williams’ directing credits include over 35 productions such as August Wilson’s FENCES, the regional premiere of THE COLOR PURPLE, AIDA, DREAMGIRLS, FAT PIG and LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR AND GRILl.
Mr Williams is a graduate of Northwestern State University (Bachelor of Arts), Ellis College of New York (Masters in Business) and the International Association of Assembly Management Performing Arts School (Graduate Certificate.) He has earned many distinctions including a State of Louisiana Commendation for his contributions to the performing arts in the African American community, iHope Award for his dedication to the arts, MLK Leadership Award for leadership in the arts community, The Baton Rouge Links Louisiana Role Model Award for contributions to the performing arts community, and was nominated for the Fichandler Award under the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. Under his leadership, New Venture has also earned distinction for productions of artistic excellence and highly praised theatrical diversity.Read more »