N'Kenge, Terence Archie, Tamara Tunie Lead Cast for Virtual Benefit Reading of "Black Butterfly" A Surreal Dramedy TV Series With Music Presented by Amas Musical Theatre
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 04:30 pm EST 01/20/21





New York, NY (1/20/21) - Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer) will present a virtual benefit reading of "Black Butterfly" a surreal dramedy TV series with music, written by Mary McCallum & N'Kenge. This virtual experience will launch online beginning Wednesday, February 3 at 7pm (followed by a Q&A with the company) and will be available on demand through February 6, 2021. Tickets are free, but reservations are required at www.amasmusical.org. All proceeds will benefit Amas Musical Theatre's education programs.

Tahja, a beautiful and multi-dimensional aspiring Black opera singer, leaves behind the comforts of family life in Florida, the opportunity to work the family business and her engagement to the perfect "southern gentleman" to pursue her dreams as a graduate student at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City.

Black Butterfly incorporates a mixture of pre-existing and brand new Broadway, jazz, hip-hop, opera, blues and soul music into Tahja's journey, set in the bustling and exciting world of the New York City music scene. From the rigid walls of Juilliard filled with strict professors and young hungry talent, to the cutthroat competition of the Broadway stage and audition scene, with the raw eclectic energy of NYC heightened by surreal experiences, Tahja learns that her journey of self-discovery is tied to empowering herself and her passion for her music, and that her dreams "do not have deadlines."

Directed by Jerry Foley ("The Late Show with David Lettermen, "Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best is Yet to Come"), the cast features N'Kenge (Caroline, or Change, Motown: The Musical), Terence Archie (Rocky:The Musical, Company) and Tamara Tunie ("Law & Order, SVU," "As The World Turns") with Benjamin Eakley ("Orange is the New Black," "The Blacklist," Robert' De Niro's The Good Shepherd), Joy Hermalyn (Caroline, or Change), Tess Keisz, Kevin Kilner ("Bonding," "House of Cards"), Tamika Lawrence (Caroline, or Change, Come From Away, The Book of Mormon), Jahzara Martina, and John Preator ("American Idol"). The stage manager is Benjamin A. Vigil .

Creative Team Bios

Mary McCallum (Co-Writer) received her B.A. from Vanderbilt University (cum laude) in 1994 and her M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University in 2000. She founded SistaStyle Productions in 2001 for the purpose of providing opportunities for "hidden" talent in our community. Since its inception, SistaStyle has created opportunities for many talented entertainers, including writers, directors, actors and technicians to showcase their gifts. Mary has written and directed I'm Going Home (2007) and The Balm of Love (2008) and Peace In The Valley (2009) for The Hermitage, Home of Andrew Jackson. Mary has produced theatrical productions for the Nashville Community, including: Love's Light In Flight, Green Honey Love, Shakin' The Mess Outta Misery, The Story, Pretty Fire, Waitin' 2 End Hell, In Real Life and The Desire. In February 2007, Mary also co-produced and assistant-directed My Soul Is A Witness with Metro Nashville Parks. My Soul Is A Witness was adapted from slave narratives and performed at many historical sites around Nashville and for Mayor Purcell. My Soul Is A Witness was nominated for a 2007 Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association Award. Mary is also an accomplished actress and has performed with many theater companies in Nashville and surrounding cities. Her appearances include A Raisin In the Sun (Patterson Park Murfreesboro), Lysistrata (People's Branch Theatre), Home on the Morning Train (Theatre Craft), American Menu (American Negro Playwright Theatre), Black Nativity (Amun Ra Theatre) and The Face of Emmett Till (Murfreesboro Little Theatre). Mary is also co-Founder of the Shades of Black Theatre Festival. The goal of the festival is to Unite, Learn, and Celebrate by providing an artist outlet to Nashville and surrounding cities, as well as to provide a platform for actors, directors, producers, writers and theatre enthusiasts to network and learn. She received the "Right On" award for her theater work and artistic contributions from TN Style Magazine in 2007. In 2008, Mary received the "Volunteer of the Year" award for work her work with the International Black Film Festival of Nashville. Her play, The 70% Club also appeared in The New York International Fringe Festival and the Capital Fringe Festival (D.C.) in 2008. The 70% Club was made into a feature film and was the winner of the 2009 International Black Film Festival of Nashville "Best Feature." It was released by Maverick Entertainment in June 2010. Her play The 'D' Word was accepted into the Manhattan Rep. Winterfest and played in New York City in March 2010. Her play Fly, Girl! is based on the life of Bessie Coleman, the first African American female aviator. It has appeared at the D.C. Black Theatre festival and is currently running at Next Level Entertainment in Nashville. Her play Hunger In Paradise was selected for the 2011 Reader's Theatre at the prestigious National Black Theatre Festival.

N'Kenge (Producer/Co-Writer/Tahja) - Heralded by the New York Times as "a classically trained diva that can stretch from Broadway, Pop, Soul to Opera", N'Kenge slayed the game on Broadway originating the role of Mary Wells in Motown: The Musical which garnered a Grammy Nomination for Best Musical Theater Album. Motown Founder Berry Gordy describes N'Kenge as "the most versatile artist I know" and NY Post called her performance of Mary Wells "ELECTRIFYING." This International Award Winning Singer's Musical range covers 11 languages and genres that stretches from Opera, gospel, Jazz, pop and musical theatre. N'Kenge has sung for Presidents and Dignitaries around the globe including President Obama's historical Commander-in-Chief Inaugural Ball. N'Kenge has headlined Pop and Opera concerts with Seattle Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and Cleveland Orchestra to name a few. N'Kenge has graced the stage as a presenter at the 58th Annual NY Emmy Awards. A proud alumni of both The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music, N'Kenge will return to Broadway in Fall 2021 in the revival of Caroline, or Change. This energetic, well-rounded singer has performed with jazz greats like Ornette Coleman and Wynton Marsalis to name a few. N'Kenge is slated to star in the role of Jazz in Broadway bound musical Dangerous written by John Introcaso and Michael Colby. N'Kenge is the writer and creator of "Forever Summer- a Tribute to Donna Summer" that she will perform at Carnegie Hall in October 2021. N'Kenge is the conceiver and producer of Broadway bound musical Dorothy: The Musical, portraying the role of Hollywood's very first African- American Movie Star, Dorothy Dandridge. For more details on N'Kenge's 2021 tour schedule and recordings, please visit www.nkengemusic.com .

Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer) is a non-profit, multi-ethnic theatrical organization founded in 1968 by Ms. Rosetta LeNoire. Amas ("you love" in Latin) is devoted to the creation, development and professional production of new American musicals, the celebration of cultural equity and minority perspectives, the emergence of new artistic talent, and the training and encouragement of inner-city young people. Amas celebrates its impact in pioneering multi-ethnic casting in the American Theatre and reiterates its commitment to this reflection of our diverse society.

Link http://www.amasmusical.org

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