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Global Theatre Peformance Series
Curated by Broadway and off-Broadway Producer, Cheryl Wiesenfeld

Gospel, Rap, and Social Justice
Written by Ron Jenkins
Featuring BL Shirelle and Naomi Blount Wilson

BL Shirelle is an accomplished musician, producer, and songwriter. In addition, Shirelle serves as deputy director of Die Jim Crow, the first non-profit record label in United States history for currently and formerly incarcerated artists. After serving ten years in prison herself, Shirelle is dedicated to social change and activism through her music and work with Die Jim Crow Records. Shirelle has been a guest speaker at colleges across America, educating youth on mass incarceration. She also continues to work with artists still in prison to produce and share their music on high-quality platforms. Shirelle and her work have been featured in, the LA Times, NPR, Rolling Stone, PBS/Whyy, Ms. Magazine, Bushwick Daily, Aesthetics For Birds, We Want The Airwaves, and The Philadelphia Inquirer among others.

“I was born in the ‘50s and raised in North Philadelphia. I had a great childhood and discovered that I had musical talents at a very early age. I recorded my first single, I’m So Young, when I was 15. During that time, I went down a dark path, quitting high school, then becoming a drug addict and alcoholic. In 1982, I went to prison for conspiracy to murder. I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. While in prison, I obtained my GED, earned an associate’s degree in business and a paralegal certificate. In 2019, after serving 37 years in prison, my sentence was commuted, and I was released from prison. I now work as a commutation specialist for the Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (Pennsylvania). I am also a program consultant for the Shining Light Academy where we try to unlock human potential inside of all American prisons. Life is now, like a box of chocolates.” – Naomi Blount Wilson

Quick Center for the Arts Fellow

Ron Jenkins is a recipient of Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships. His prison theater work in Indonesia, Italy, and the U.S. has been supported by the R.F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights, The Asian Cultural Council, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. Jenkins has written books on theater and social justice as well as articles for The New York Times, The Jakarta Post, and The Yale ISM Review. He has translated and/or directed plays by the Nobel laureate Dario Fo for productions at the Yale Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theater, and the New York Theatre Workshop. His documentary plays have been commissioned by the Mellon Foundation, the U.S. State Department, the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He is a 2022-23 Senior Fellow at the Yale Divinity School’s Institute of Sacred Music.

THEATRE THAT CHANGES OUR WORLD

FRONTLINES:

Stories From The Edge

Stories ripped from the headlines- stories that RESONATE in a larger than life way, while also being AFFECTING down to the most intimate personal moment.

The world as we know it has CHANGED indelibly.

Covid-19 and the pandemic has taken its toll – millions of people have perished exceeding what was once inconceivable in comparison to the 1918 pandemic. It continues to wreak havoc here and around the world. The mental anguish and economic tsunami continues. With that, the racial, social and political situation has turned the world inside out.

We will produce and showcase work that EDUCATES, ENLIGHTENS, and ENTERTAINS but at its center has the capacity to open our hearts, question our beliefs and shake us to our very core.

Work that is political, socially relevant, poignant, and work that will change our world, and change us in the process.

Cheryl Wiesenfeld has been in the communication field as an editor, writer, photographer, and producer. Since 1998, she has been a Broadway and off-Broadway producer with numerous plays and musicals to her credit. She has numerous awards for her productions including the Drama League, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, NY Drama Critics awards, as well as four Tony Awards.

Explore Cheryl Wiesenfeld's Broadway productions →
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