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‘Veils’ Takes Center Stage at Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
By Sentinel News Service
Published September 15, 2022

Fannie Lou Hamer is portrayed in the play, “Veils.” (Kimberly C. Gaines)

The popular musical reminds us of the price paid for the freedoms won and the women behind it all

The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) has teamed with Restoration Stage of Washington, DC to bring the popular musical, “Veils,” to the Los Angeles area for a short run.

“Veils” will open Thursday, September 15 at 8 p.m., at the Nate Holden Performing Art Center in Los Angeles.

The play continues on Friday, September 16, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, September 17, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The show concludes on Sunday, September 18, at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at www.bherc.org.

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Much has been written about the men lost in the Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter movements. Unexplored, however, are the stories of the women whose lives are affected by these tragedies — the women who wear the “Veils.” This musical is described as an emotional historical pageant of grief and resilience that pays tribute to women veiled in mourning, with a focus on Black lives lost in bloodshed during the Civil Rights Movement to gain many of the freedoms we enjoy today.

BHERC believes that “Veils” on its own sends a powerful message of courage and sacrifice, according to Sandra J. Evers-Manly. “However, as we find ourselves at the precipice of a democracy that is being contested, and the right to vote is being undermined as well as other freedoms, ‘Veils’ is truly a great example of the price that has already been paid for the gains being threatened. It represents the strong Women, like those who today are standing up and marching for justice,” she said.

“We are proud to bring this inspirational and compelling work to Los Angeles for a second time,” added Evers-Manly. “The pandemic disrupted the performance in March 2020, but not this time. Everyone must come out to witness this incredible musical. It will inform, energize, and inspire you, with hope for our future as a people.”

Dick Gregory and daughter, Ayanna. (Courtesy photo)

“Veils,” the musical, is written by Steven A. Butler, Jr. with music and lyrics by Courtney Baker-Oliver and Christopher John Burnett, and is directed by Courtney Baker-Oliver. Joining the West Coast production is soul singer, dramatist, educator, and activist Ayanna Gregory. The daughter of iconic comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory, Ayanna continues her father’s work with deep awareness and concern for Human Rights expressed through her gift of music. “She touches the place that is the deepest and clearest in my heart,” according to Stevie Wonder.

Filling out the cast are Bernie Alston, Steven A. Butler, Jr., Desire’ Dubose, Kandace Foreman, Bridget Garwood, Andrea Gerald, Robert Hamilton, Brandyn Marshall, Corisa Myers, Suli Myrie, Ayana Ogunsunlade, Grace Pugh, and Nakiea Washington Dade.

The sacrifice of Viola Liuzzo is highlighted in “Veils.” (Courtesy photo)

Some of the accolades about “Veils” include:

The singer-actors have created an exquisitely beautiful experience of enduring sorrow, honor, and healing.” –  John Stoltenberg

“The surprise is that with Veils two such multitalented African American young men have undertaken this profoundly womanist theme with such deep empathy and authentic respect. This, to my knowledge, is a first in theatre history.” — DCMetroTheatreArts.com

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“Tackles roles ranging from Sybrina Fulton and Mamie Till to Jacqueline Kennedy and Viola Liuzzo.” — The Washington Informer

“I’m thrilled that my mother’s story is one being told in this production which brings history to life and light.” — Mary Liuzzo, daughter of civil rights martyr Viola Liuzzo

Tickets are $55, $45 for students and seniors, and $45 for groups of 10 or more. For tickets, visit www.bherc.org or call (310) 284-3170.

 

From left are Courtney Baker-Oliver, Steven A. Butler, Jr. and Christopher John Burnett. (Courtesy photo)

Categories: Entertainment
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