Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Event Slides Per Node 1415

Harlem 100: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary
of the Harlem Renaissance

featuring Mwenso and The Shakes
with special guests Brianna Thomas, Michela Marino Lerman, and Vuyo Sotashe

7:30 pm Tuesday, October 22, 2019

One hundred years after one of the most culturally significant periods in human history, Harlem, New York, is in the midst of a resurging creative movement sparked by the centenarian embers left by the wildfire that was the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance has since proven to be an unrivaled period of brilliance in both profound intelligent expression and preeminent entertainment.

The performance features Mwenso and The Shakes, a prolific music collective based in Harlem that encounters an unexpected journey when a power outage leads them to discover their connection to the historical figures and great American artists that inspire them today. The musicians bask in the merits and tidings of their ancestral forbearers such as Fats Waller, Bessie Smith, and Duke Ellington, who once lived in the same neighborhood.

This show created collectively through a devised process with the cast invites audiences to enjoy and take part in this interactive, high energy music experience celebrating the rich history of the Harlem Renaissance.

The performers include bandleader Michael Mwenso, vocalists Vuyo Sotashe and Brianna Thomas, drummer Kyle Poole, bassist Russell Hall, pianist/keyboardist Mathis Picard, saxophonists Julian Lee and Ruben Fox, and tap dancer Michela Marino Lerman.

Artists will engage in a discussion with audience members after the performance.

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Adult $48
University Park Student $15
18 and Younger $38

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Foxdale Village, A Quaker-Directed Continuing Care Retirement Community

Sandra Zaremba and Richard Brown provide support for engagement programming related to this performance.

This event is part of a season-long focus, The American Experience: Through an African-American Lens.

Secondary Events on Each Event

Artistic Viewpoints

6:30 pm Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Eisenhower Auditorium

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a visiting artist or local expert, is offered in Eisenhower Auditorium one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.