Rhapsody in Black | streaming May 4-17 + Candid Conversation
CINCINNATI, OH – The Cincinnati Arts Association is pleased to present acclaimed actor LeLand Gantt in his one-man show, Rhapsody in Black, streaming May 4-17, 2021. Written and performed by LeLand and developed at NYC’s Actors Studio by Academy Award-winner Estelle Parsons, the show explores his personal journey to understand and eventually transcend racism in America.
Access to the streamed performance and a live, online CANDID CONVERSATION via Zoom with LeLand Gantt and local artists (more info below) is on sale now at CincinnatiArts.org and (513) 621-ARTS . The virtual events may be purchased separately at $6.00 each or in combination for $10.00.
Rhapsody follows his life story – from an underprivileged childhood in the ghettos of McKeesport, PA to teenage experiments with crime and drugs to scholastic achievement and an acting career, experiences that land adult LeLand in situations where he is virtually the only African-American in the room. His efforts to cope with the various psychological effects of consistently being marked “The Other” are recounted in remarkable and exquisitely moving detail, guaranteed to leave lasting impressions.
Multiple elements combine to give Rhapsody its super-powered emotional punch, many of them concentrated in the incredible persona of its star. Charming, self-deprecatingly funny, and linguistically awesome, LeLand imbues every word that falls from his mouth with all the passion and poignancy of a preacher speaking the Gospel. This is partly because he’s confronting heavy subjects, but mostly because he believes so firmly in his message that it’s impossible for it to emerge any other way. In his own words, “Objective truth strikes a chord.”
LELAND GANTT first unveiled Rhapsody in Black at the WorkShop Theater Company’s Sundays@Six reading series in March 2013. Subsequently, it was developed at The Actors Studio and with Estelle Parsons as Directorial Consultant. Rhapsody garnered both Best Director and Best Storyteller awards at the United Solo Festival in 2014.
Leland’s regional credits include Two Trains Running and Radio Golf (Syracuse Stage); Walter Mosley’s The Fall of Heaven, world premiere (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park); Gem of the Ocean (Arena Stage); Jitney (Pittsburgh Public Theater); and In Walks Ed (Longwharf Theater).
Off-Broadway/Broadway: Slippery When Wet (La Mama), Another Man's Poison (Peter Jay Sharpe Theater), OyamO's Killa Dilla and Let Me Live (Drama Desk and Audelco Award nominee for Featured Actor), and the revival of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (u/s Rock Dutton).
Film and television credits include Miracle at St. Anna, Requiem for a Dream, Malcolm X, Presumed Innocent, Law and Order, Law and Order SVU, J.A.G., and HBO's The Affair.
Tuesday, May 11, 7:30 PM
Join national and local artists in intriguing discussions about the impact of their work on social justice, community wellbeing, and equity. Presented by the Cincinnati Arts Association, Candid Conversations is an opportunity to start a dialogue concerning the effects of racism on artists of color and arts communities as a whole, as well as the journey toward change.
This third in a series of five virtual Candid Conversations, presented by the Cincinnati Arts Association, features LeLand Gantt, the creator, and star of Rhapsody in Black, who will be joined by local artists for an honest and open discussion about how persons of color define racism as they claim their Identities while working and living in racist systems.
The Candid Conversation is moderated by J. Stephen Dobbins – Owner and President, Assisted Transition of Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky; Member, Cincinnati Arts Association (CAA) Board of Trustees; Chair, CAA’s Building Diverse Audiences Advisory Committee (BDAAC).
The local artists joining the conversation with LeLand Gantt include:
- A.J. Baldwin – Actor; Playwright; Script Consultant / Dramaturg; Artistic Committee Member, Cloverdale Playhouse; Anti-Racism Working Group Member, Theater at Monmouth
- Geoffrey Barnes – Actor, Teaching Artist
- Burgess Byrd – Actress; Board Member, Treehouse Cincinnati
- Candice Handy – Director of Education, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
- Derek J. Snow – Founder, Missing Front Plate Productions; Actor; Writer; Director; Activist
- Crystian Wiltshire – Resident Ensemble Member, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
Candid Conversation purchasers receive access to the live conversation via Zoom on Tuesday, May 11 at 7:30 PM AND a link to an on-demand recording which will be available for two weeks (the link to the recording will be emailed on Friday, May 14).