Sci-Fi Musical prepares to enlighten and entertain
Bring the Beat Back is a queer, black, sci-fi music-theater experience, set in a funky futuristic, groove-centered alternative reality. Inspired by Afrofuturism, house music and the underground ball scene, the show follows a young man struggling to reconcile his sexuality with his faith.
The hero journeys towards spiritual affirmation and self-discovery as conservative religious authorities and an ostentatious queer subculture clash over the music at the center of his world.
Bring the Beat Back is the brainchild of playwright Derek Lee McPhatter, who explored the tradition of sci-fi themes in black popular music as he developed the world of the show. McPhatter explains further: “the story reflects some of my own challenges growing up as a black gay male. It was difficult to see a future for my whole self: black, gay and geek. And I was struggling to overcome the homophobia I internalized from church, school and in our culture. I found hope in music, particularly artists like Parliament Funkadelic, Sun Ra, and Meshell Ndegeocello. That journey is at the core of Bring the Beat Back.”
Listen to a lively conversation with Executive Producer Bryan Glover and Playwright Derek McPhatter.
- Freddie Cosmo
- Lynnesha Crump
- Charles Curtis
- Kalon Hayward
- Julius Hollingsworth
- Janet Lafontaine
- James Arthur M.
- Chloé Maynard
- Matthew Truss
The April presentations at JACK are the next phase of the show’s evolution, building on music workshops in Chicago in 2016. Executive Producer Bryan E. Glover explains: “April will be the first time we present the show with a live audience – part performance, part dance party. There aren’t very many queer, black, sci-fi, music-theater projects out there for us to learn from, so we’re definitely charting our own path.”
The show is poised to even more opportunities following the April presentations. Director Christopher Burris has been awarded a residency with The Drama League to support show development, and an exciting roster of producers and collaborators are providing a solid foundation for next steps.
Derek reflects, “we’ve got big dreams for the project – a dance workshop, a touring production and more. But we can’t do that without more help, and I’m thrilled about the amazing support that has mobilized to make this a success.”
His enthusiasm is shared by many members of the team, some black, some queer, some sci-fi fans, and some are none of the above. But all of them have found something resonant about Bring the Beat Back, and audiences are in for a treat: a funky example of what becomes possible when we celebrate the diversity of our experiences.
Bring the Beat Back
Dates/Times: Friday, April 21 at 8 pm
Saturday, April 22 at 8 pm
LOCATION: JACK | 505 ½ Waverly Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238 | C or G train to Clinton-Washington
Playwright/Producer: Derek Lee McPhatter
Director: Christopher Burris
Costume Design and Make-Up/Producer: Rhonney Greene
Composer/Producer: Germono Toussaint
DJ: Manchild Black
Executive Producer: Bryan E. Glover, Earthseed Visions
Producers: Under the Spell Productions, Inc., King is a Fink Productions, Zac Hill and Richard Pelzer, II.
Revelation of the Beat
Avery R. Young