By: Patricia Trutescu
The revival of the 1983 musical, Mama, I Want to Sing: The Next Generation tells the story of a talented girl who dreams of leaving her church choir to pursue a life in popular music, although she goes against her mother’s wishes. This musical started its new season at The Dempsey Theater located in Harlem at 127 West 127th Street, between Lenox and 7th Avenue, marking its 30th Anniversary. Performances will show weekly on Saturdays at 4:30pm.
Creator Vy Higginsen wanted to make a tribute to the many African-American artists with church choir roots who rose to fame during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Higginsen based her musical on the life of her sister, Doris Troy; whose 1963 hit “Just One Look” launched her to international fame.
Mama, I Want to Sing: The Next Generation features members of Ms. Higginsen’s award winning Gospel for Teens Choir. The cast also features Ahmaya Knoelle Higginson, as Doris; Bettina Pennon as Mama; Sandra Huff as Sister Carrie; Tyrone Flowers as Reverend Winters; and Elijah Ahmad Lewis as the Minister of Music.
Gospel for Teens Choir was the subject of an award-winning “60 Minutes” feature story where students of the choir were followed as they auditioned, practiced, and performed at their first competition, the open division at The Pathmark Gospel Choir Competition of Harlem, held at The Apollo in 2011. Gospel for Teens Choir is also a program within Ms. Higginsen’s organization, Mama Foundation for the Arts and the School of Gospel, Jazz and R&B Arts in Harlem.
Tickets for Mama, I Want to sing: The Next Generation are priced at: $20 for children 14 and under; $30 for teens, students, and seniors – with valid ID; and $35 for adults. Tickets are available through SmartTix.com or by calling the Mama Foundation for the Arts at (212) 280-1045.
About Mama, I Want to Sing
Opening on March 23, 1983, the original production of Mama, I Want to Sing played over 2,500 performances in New York (1983-1991) over eight years, becoming the longest-running African-American Off-Broadway musical in American History. Mama, I Want to Sing went on to play another 1,000 performances through a three year tour across the USA; a run in London’s West End; several European tours; multiple appearances in the Caribbean; and seven tours throughout Japan.