Sorry John Henry the song has no end
Sorry John Henry the song has no end is an experimental opera inspired by a 1940 production of John Henry which closed only 5 days after its New York premiere. The musical starred Paul Robeson in the title role alongside a notable cast including Ruby Elzy, Josh White, and Bayard Rustin. The project resurrects archival text, music, and images to reconsider stories of land, labor, and freedom that weave through the many renditions of the John Henry story, including the failed Broadway production.
directed by Ian Askew
text by mace dent johnson
music direction by Joshuah Brian Campbell
Co-created and performed by Ian Askew, mace dent johnson, Joshuah Brian Campbell, Dyani Douze, Eden Girma, Khari Lucas, and Jasmine Wilson. Developed in collaboration with Kiara Benn, Davóne Tines, Morgan Johnson, Gabby Preston, and Lauren Nicholson.
The Mercury Store, Brooklyn, NY
Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Winston-Salem, NC
Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC), New York, NY (work in progress showing)
rehearsal images by Maria Baranova, courtesy of BAC