Saint Paul, Minnesota (November 5, 2020) — The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts today announced a free virtual screening of Rhapsody in Black, a one-man show that explores creator LeLand Gantt’s personal journey to understand and transcend racism in America, and a live Q&A community conversation with Gantt, moderated by Twin Cities-based film and stage director E.G. Bailey.
Free event reservations, available today beginning at 2:00pm at Ordway.org, include access to stream Rhapsody in Black on demand, between November 30–December 6, and access to the live Q&A conversation, streaming on December 5 at 7:00pm. The audience will be given the opportunity to submit questions during the Q&A conversation.
Written and performed by LeLand Gantt and developed at NYC’s Actors Studio by Estelle Parsons, Rhapsody in Black is a one-man show that explores Gantt’s personal journey to understand and eventually transcend racism in America. The show follows his life story—from an underprivileged childhood in the ghettos of McKeesport, Pennsylvania to teenage experiments with crime and drugs, to scholastic achievement and an acting career that land adult Gantt in situations where he is virtually the only African-American in the room. His efforts to cope with the various psychological effects of consistently being marked “The Other” is recounted in remarkable and exquisitely moving detail, guaranteed to leave lasting impressions.
Multiple elements combine to give Rhapsody its super-powered emotional punch, many of them concentrated in the incredible persona of its star. Charming, self-deprecatingly funny, linguistically awesome, LeLand Gantt imbues every word that falls from his mouth with all the passion and poignancy of a preacher speaking the Gospel. This is partly because he’s confronting heavy subjects, but mostly because he believes so firmly in his message that it’s impossible for it to emerge any other way. In his own words, "Objective truth strikes a chord."
The Ordway will host a live Q&A community conversation with Gantt, moderated by Twin-Cities based film and stage director E.G. Bailey, on December 5 at 7:00pm. The audience will be given the opportunity to submit questions during the discussion.
“Rhapsody in Black is both a powerful performance and a provocative tool to understand racism. We are thrilled to co-commission this work in partnership with 12 other theaters around the country, allowing us to provide this experience free of charge to the Ordway community,” said Dayna Martinez, the Ordway’s Senior Programming Director.