RAISIN’ CANE: A Harlem Renaissance Odyssey starring Jasmine Guy
Written and conceived by Harry Clark
Original score by Avery Sharpe
Performed by the Avery Sharpe Trio
Production Design by Gregg Bellon
Theatrical Projection Design by Daniel Foster
Directed by Dan Guerrero
Executive Producer Gloria Johnson Goins
Inspired by the classic 1923 novel "Cane" by Jean Toomer
and works by other artists of the Harlem Renaissance
It was an exceptional time. It was our time. It was time.
Time: 1920s. Place: Harlem, New York, USA.
In the American Black community, during the years leading up to the Harlem Renaissance, there was a sense of building artistic expression. Outlets and avenues for its poets, musicians, novelists, artists, and actors were few. But in 1918, as the first great World War concluded and thousands of African-American soldiers returned home victorious, this mountain of artistic expression was now ready to explode.
The words and thoughts of Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, W.E.B. Du Bois and many others, became the voice of a new generation of African-Americans- looking forward but still struggling with the past and present. These thoughts, songs, and images are woven into a panoramic experience that spans this extraordinary outpouring of artistic endeavor. Raisin' Cane is a window on this critical point in our history.
Starring the award winning actress, singer, and dancer Jasmine Guy, a modern day Griot, and the acclaimed Avery Sharpe Trio, Raisin' Cane celebrates and honors the legendary voices of the Harlem Renaissance through text, song, music, movement, and imagery.
Jasmine Guy has a regular presence on film, television, and stage. She was the star of the Bill Cosby spin-off A Different World for which she won six consecutive NAACP Image Awards. Recent television work includes The Vampire Diaries, Melrose Place, NYPD Blue, and Dead Like Me. A former dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, she has also appeared in a range of Broadway and national productions including Chicago, Grease, and The Wiz. On film, she starred in Spike Lee's School Daze, as well as in Harlem Nights, and Stompin at the Savoy. Her collaborations over the years, from Bill Cosby to Spike Lee to Kenny Leon to the Atlanta Ballet, show her to be a multi-faceted star. Ms. Guy is not only recognized as an accomplished actress, singer, and comedienne, but also as a director, writer, and speaker.
Avery Sharpe is considered one of the greatest Jazz bassists of his generation. He has performed and toured with many of the world's top jazz musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, Bobby McFerrin, Pay Metheny and others. Sharpe's extraordinary compositional skills are on display in Raisin' Cane. His exceptional works have been performed in every musical configuration from orchestras to the Grammy Award Winning Jazz recordings of Michael Brecker and McCoy Tyner. For performances of Raisin' Cane, Mr. Sharpe is joined by the renowned percussionist Kevin Sharpe and violinist Diane Monroe.