The Roy Cockrum 50th Anniversary Series
01: Between a Ballad and a blues, February 2017
Between a Ballad and a Blues Chronicles the life and work of African-American-Appalachian renaissance man, Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong and his musical partners, Carl Martin and Ted Bogan. Together they formed one of the most famous string-band groups in the history of American music,. As a group and as solo artists, Martin, Bogan and Armstrong toured the globe sharing string band music with the world, planting the seed for other American music forms including Country and Blues. The play centers around the character of Howard Armstrong who narrates the tale which is highlighted with stories and songs from both Bogan and Martin. The play spans Howard's lengthy seven-decade musical career.
Knox News Sentinel: http://www.knoxnews.com/story/life/arts/2017/02/18/ballad-blues-kicks-off-carpetbag-series/97893388/
02: Nothin' Nice
January 25 - 27, 2018
“I grew up in The Ninth Ward. I know what they put in the ground there. I know what they put in the river and in the Bayous and I know, like my grandma usta say, “Wadn’t nothin’ nice!”
Nothin’ Nice is the story of a young man forced to confront issues of environmental racism and its impact on his family and community. Raised in the “Lower Nine” or “Ninth Ward”, a community ravaged by toxicity, Lonewolf faces the destruction of the women in his life and discovers his own ability to accept the challenge of leadership. With the guidance of his uncle, a former Civil Right activist; his mother, who is battling cancer; and the young woman who is the mother of his child, Lonewolf learns to accept his role as a Generation X freedom fighter. Musical references allude to the Civil Rights Movement and are provided by nationally acclaimed singer and music stylist, Paula Larke.
03: dark cowgirls and prairie queens
March 29 - April 1, 2018
“That’s why ya got ta keep the spirit of every brave black man and woman that ya ever meet right up here in the front of your head. Cauz when ya ain’t got no more strength left, all yah gotta do is reach right up here in the front of yo’ head and pull a little of they strength out and use it.”
The Carpetbag Theatre’s production of Dark Cowgirls and Prairie Queens is the story of a little known facet of American History. Filled with vivid images, captivating stories and harmonious song, “Cowgirls brings to life seven of the most colorful Black women to emerge from the American West. The play is an imaginative dramatization of the lives of: Mary Fields (Black Mary), Biddy Mason (Grandma Mason), sculptress Edmonia Lewis (Little Wildfire), Mary Ellen Pleasant (Mammy Pleasant) of underground railroad fame, and Julia Boulette (fondly remembered as the Queen of Virginia City).