National Black Theatre returns for another ‘marvtastic’ festival

National Black Theatre returns for another ‘marvtastic’ festival
July 25
02:30 2019

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

One of the most anticipated events held in Winston-Salem is returning July 29 – August 3. The National Black Theatre Festival will again bring some of the best national and international black theatre companies to Winston-Salem for six days of performances that will rival those seen on Broadway.

This year over 100 performances will be held at venues around Winston-Salem and several of these productions will be especially appealing to seniors. Highlighted below are just a few; for the complete schedule, visit Most performances are at 3 and 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $26 – $56.


*Jelly’s Last Jam. Tony award-winning musical that tells the true story of Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe, a.k.a Jelly Roll Morton, the self-proclaimed “inventor of Jazz.”

*Sammy: Celebrate the Legacy. David Hayes recreates the energy and talent of Sammy Davis Jr. and tells the story of how he met his childhood hero in song, impressions, comedy, dance and musicianship.

*Bricktop: Legend of the Jazz Age. Ada “Bricktop” Smith tells her own story from her roots in rural West Virginia to her days as a cabaret performer in Chicago and Harlem and café nightlife in the jazz scene of 1920s Paris.

*Natural Woman: An Aretha Story, is a theatrical tribute of the legendary Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, as never before told.

*Women of Soul is a celebratory tribute embracing different genres of the Soulful Sound, from Mahalia Jackson to Janet Jackson, with a tribute to Aretha Franklin.

*Vivian Reed Sings Lena Horne. Vivian Reed explains how the legendary singer touched her life and reinterprets some of her well-known standards with narrative throughout her high-energy performance.


*Cowboy. The powerful story of Bass Reeves, a freed slave who protected the Wild West as the first African American United States Deputy Marshal.

*March On. Two reporters track the journeys of three attendees on the day of the 1963 March on Washington. Based on personal interviews, along with stories of known and unsung civil rights heroes.

*The Mountain Top is a fictional story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last night before his tragic assassination.

*Maya. A world premiere Celebrity Staged Reading of Maya (working title) of a new play inspired by the life of Dr. Maya Angelou.

*Dinner with Booker T. (Double bill with First By Faith). On Oct. 16, 1901, Booker T. Washington became the first Negro to dine at the White House. In the play, Mr. Washington recalls the joys and racial aftermath of this infamous dinner.

*First By Faith: The Life of Mary McLeod Bethune. (Double bill with Dinner with Booker T.). Storytelling explores Bethune’s journey from an uneducated child to a world-renowned educator.

*Anne & Emmett. An imaginary conversation between Anne Frank and Emmett Till, both victims of racial intolerance and hatred.


*How I Learned What I Learned is an introspective one-man play that chronicles life growing up in Pittsburgh’s Hill District from the perspective of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright August Wilson.

*Reunion in Bartersville. Surviving members of the small 1935 high school class in a Texas town gather for a reunion 50 years later. There is one more survivor than the four who first get together realize that turns the tale from merry malice to the unmasking of a killer.

Take the Grandkids:

*Prideland. A Dance Adaptation of “The Lion King.” A dance interpretation of the Disney movie “The Lion King.” An adaptation of the Broadway musical, this is the story of a lion cub’s journey to adulthood and acceptance of his royal destiny.

*Storytelling Festival – Stories for Young People. Storytellers from across North Carolina skillfully weave tales of cultural history, fiction, humor and lessons through this age-old tradition.

*National Youth Talent Showcase. The next generation of successful black entertainers takes center stage. Youths from across the country showcase their talents before a panel of celebrity judges.

*The Movement: An A Cappella Musical. A historical a cappella musical inspired by the Children’s Crusade of 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama.


*Gettin’ Old is a Bitch – But I’m Gonna Wrestle That Bitch to the Ground. Back by popular demand, Adult Sex Education Evangelist and Mojo Mother “Dr. Ginger” provides tips for sassy and bodacious grown folks on how to enhance their sexy grown folks business. Mature Audience.

With so many superb shows to choose from, it will be hard to decide which ones to attend. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the N.C. Black Rep box office at 419 N. Spruce Street.

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