Arts, Dining & Entertainment

JAG Productions continues to celebrate and spread Black Joy with annual fundraiser

Saturday, Nov. 14 at 5 p.m.—WHITE RIVER JUNCTION – Coming out of the month-long Black Joy Project, JAG Productions will share its creative energy and healing power throughout the Upper Valley and beyond virtually this year during its annual fundraiser Juke Joint on November 14. The cabaret has been adapted to keep everyone safe while enjoying songs and soul food, ballads and beverages from the comfort of home. Tickets are $75 and include a single meal, cocktail, and the link to watch the virtual performance, or $20 for a ticket to view the show only.

New York-based West Indian-American chef Latoya Henry will prepare soul food with a Caribbean home-cooking twist. Food pickup is from 5-6 p.m. at Newberry Market. The menu will consist of fried chicken with six-cheese macaroni or black-eyed peas, or a vegetarian smoked shepherd’s pie with six-cheese macaroni or potato salad. All dishes include a side of smoked collard greens, bourbon banana bread pudding, and the “Justice Allows Growth” cocktail from JAG Ambassador Wolf Tree craft cocktails.

Cocktails and conversation with surprise guests begin at 6:30 p.m. and performances begin at 7 p.m, going until 9 p.m. The virtual cabaret will feature some of JAG’s favorite artists.

JAG welcomes Andy Roninson, pianist (Recipient of 2019 Jonathan Larson Grant); Alex Grayson, singer (“Once on This Island” national tour, “Choir Boy “- JAG Productions); Tesia Kwarteng, singer (“Intimate Apparel” – Lincoln Center, “Porgy and Bess in Concert” – BarnArts); Morgan Green, singer (“Be More Chill” – Broadway); Wesley Barnes, singer (“Jesus Christ Superstar” national tour, “Choir Boy” – JAG Productions); Will T. Travis, singer (“Hamilton” – national tour, “Choir Boy” – JAG Productions); Nygel Robinson, singer (“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” – JAG Productions); Donovan Woods, singer (“All Together Now” – Chandler Center for the Arts); Shaunyce Omar, singer (“Nina Simone: Four Women” – Seattle Repertory Theatre); Erica Durham, singer (“The Color Purple Musical”- national tour, “Marie & Rosetta” – Vermont Stage); Stephanie Everett (“I’m Fine, I’m Fine” – Northern Stage).

Grayson said he is excited to be again working with JAG, friends from Choir Boy, and being able to share his gift with all of those yearning for the arts right now.

“I think it’s really amazing what Jarvis is doing as a queer Black man in Vermont, directing and producing these Black stories, and featuring Black artists in a state where it is kind of unexpected,” Grayson said. “It’s a community that I am really proud to be a part of and I feel like with what Jarvis and JAG have done, it’s so inspiring to see how you can go outside of a place where you’ve been told the work is and create — create art and draw in audiences and continue to enlighten people…People need to be able to see these live performances and have these stories shared because it’s really the best way to be exposed to truth, and to be able to self analyze.”

The money raised will go towards furthering JAG Production’s mission to producing classic and contemporary African-American theatre; serving as an incubator of new work that excites broad intellectual engagement; and thus catalyzing compassion, empathy, love, and community through a shared understanding of the human experience. Playwright Gethsemane Herron-Coward, who wrote Blanks or Sunday Afternoon, After Church for JAGfest 3.0 in 2018 said of JAG Productions:

“While I was still a graduate student, I knew I had an idea I believed in for my play-a study on Black women’s maternal and IPV-related deaths- but I did not feel like I had all the support needed to make it the play I envisioned. But JAG changed all that,” Herron-Coward said. “Jarvis believed in the play from our first Brooklyn meeting. He believed in me and in doing so, modeled what that belief could entail- paying for my work. Paying my actors. Most importantly, JAG set up moments of care for us creators-moments where we could connect to nature, break bread, work on our aching bodies through sound therapy and yoga. I felt seen and cherished and it was one of the best theatrical experiences I’ve had. Please support the work of this visionary, who is changing what is possible for Black theater artists. Please support JAG.”

To purchase tickets, to learn more, or to donate if you cannot attend, please visit Tickets are $75 for dinner and the show, and $20 for the performance only.

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