Play on My Block: Passing Strange
Aug 28, 2021
Clinton Avenue School
We are thrilled to partner with the City of New Haven to bring you a concert production of the musical Passing Strange by Stew & Heidi Rodewald, directed by Cheyenne Barboza. We are celebrating the many stages of New Haven by performing this electrifying rock musical in local neighborhoods.
Fair Haven’s Clinton Avenue School is a Beaux-Arts marvel nestled between the Mill and Quinnipiac rivers.
Join us at the “playground” for a celebratory production of Passing Strange performed in community with our Fair Haven neighbors, and set against the backdrop of an architectural jewel.
About the Musical
In early 80s South Central Los Angeles, a talented but rebellious middle-class Black man discovers punk rock. Through the intervention of a sincere choir director, the young man travels to Europe, where his talents blossom, but at the expense of those who care for him. Passing Strange is a comedy-drama rock musical about a young man’s artistic journey of self-discovery, with strong elements of philosophical existentialism and self-referential humor.
*Maturity warning: parental discretion is advised, language and fictional drug use 13+.
“In many ways, Play on My Block is the clearest manifestation of our vision at LWT—great art, inclusive practices, and bringing our community together with an important and timeless story.”
Jacob G. Padrón
Cheyenne Barbozashe/her Director
Cheyenne Barboza is an award-winning director and playwright hailing from Waterbury, CT. Her director credits include: The Secret Life of Wonder: A Prologue in G (Antipodes Theatre, NSW, ReFocus Fest), Grace (IAMA), The Agitators (Theatre Horizon), The Wiz (Theatre in the X), The Last Seven Shakers (InterAct Theatre Co.), Cartons of Ultrasounds (ReFocus Fest), Trade (Inis Nua Theatre Co.), Directors JAM (Pirronne Yousefzadeh & Directors Gathering); and as assistant director: How I Learned What I Learned (Dir. Malika Oyetimein, Arden Theatre Co.), The Mountaintop (Dir. Patricia McGregor, PTC); and as playwright: Running Numbers (Theatre in the X).
Cheyenne currently serves as the Community Partnerships and Literary Associate at Long Wharf Theatre. She received a BFA in Directing, Playwriting & Production from The University of the Arts. “Sending blessings and gratitude to the legion of Black women who help keep her whole, I am but one branch of a mighty tree.”
Elle.Morrisshe/her Music Director
Elle.Morris is a vocalist, vocal producer, arranger, and member of ILL DOOTS. Over the last five years, Elle. has served as music director for several productions including Jamaica and The Wiz. In 2021, she was tapped as music director for a production of Dreamgirls, produced on the audio only Clubhouse app. In addition to singing and music directing, Elle. is a teaching artist at D4N Conservatory and The Village of Arts and Humanities.
Hanan Hameenshe/her Choreographer
Ms. Hanan Hameen, doctoral candidate, is the founder and director of the Artsucation™ Academy Network, Ms. Hanan’s Dance and Beyond, New Haven Hip-Hop Conference, and the Premiere Dance Company at Neighborhood Music School. Ms. Hameen is also artistic director of the BAM DanceAfrica Candle Bearers founded by Baba Dr. Chuck Davis, an adjunct professor, and co-choreographer of M’Bosse Dance Company of Kaolack, Senegal. Currently, Ms. Hameen is pursuing a Doctor of Education in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Administration, Master equivalent in Dance Education, Master of Science in Educational Leadership with an Advanced Certificate in School Building Leadership, in addition to being a Dance Education Laboratory alumna, lupus support group facilitator, author, dance mentor, and curriculum developer. Before her lupus diagnosis in 2010, Ms. Hameen performed with thirteen dance companies, instructed at eight colleges and universities, choreographed for major and independent artists, founded six dance companies, and owned-operated four dance schools during her dance career of over thirty years. Now being employed disabled, through Artsucational™ events she uplifts the community domestically and abroad. Ms. Hameen’s awards and recognitions include three honor societies, Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s 38th Annual Arts Awards “Phenomenal Woman” awardee, and 2020 Mandela Washington Reciprocal Exchange awardee. Her doctoral research interests span STEAM education, culturally relevant instruction, and gifted and talented African-American youth. Additionally, Ms. Hameen hosts an online diasporic class series with former artists from BAM Dance Africa and African national dance companies while conducting a cultural exchange program in Senegal.
Shafiq Hickshe/him Narrator
Shafiq Hicks is a sought-after vocalist, actor, and voice coach. As a vocalist, Hicks has worked with many artists including Aretha Franklin, Andrea Bocelli, and Estelle. Earlier this year, Hicks was a featured lead vocalist on Micah Graves’ acclaimed album series Not for the Ordinary. Hicks is the founder of Vocal Journeys, a voice studio with a focus of bringing the true, authentic, individual voices out of all singers, with emphasis on vocal health and longevity. Hicks’ theatrical credits include: “Man 2” in Songs for a New World, “Lion” in The Wiz, and most recently as “Tom Collins” in RENT (20th-anniversary tour).
Elayna Garnershe/her Edwina/Mariana/Sudubey/Flight Attendant/Philistine
Elayna Garner received her BA in Ethics, Politics, and Economics from Yale University. While a student, Elayna committed her time to the performing arts and the Yale-New Haven community partnership. She worked as community outreach coordinator with LEAP, New Haven Reads, and DESK. Most recently, Elayna could be found playing “Velma Kelly” in the Yale Drama production of Chicago, “Deena Jones” in Dreamgirls, and “Sarah” in the new musical Call Me from the Grave. She has also entertained audiences as guest vocalist with bands Sister Insider and Hip Pocket.
Anthony Brownhe/x Mr. Franklin/Joop/Mr. Venus/Policeman
Jordan Maiahe/him Youth
Jordan Maia is a recent graduate of American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) with an MFA in Acting.
Maal Imani Westthey/them Sherry/Philistine/Renata/Flight Attendant/Desi
Keemar Davishe/him Pastor/Terry/Christophe/Hugo/Philistine
Keemar Davis has performed in regional productions such as Fame, The Black Nativity, All Shook Up, and Bah Humbug—written and produced by George Faison. Keemar is an independent singer-songwriter that enjoys going to beaches, cooking, and watching action movies in his spare time.
Thabisa Richshe/her Mother
Thabisa Rich is a South African born painter, activist, and performer residing in New Haven who has released two albums, Eyodidi and The Journey—showcasing her eclectic amalgamation of Afropop, jazz, and R & B. Recently, she independently produced her latest single “Sweet Sorrow,” which revisits her past and a desire to heal and become her full self. Thabisa views herself as a “generartist”: a word she coined that is derived from “generalist” to articulate a life embracing varying artistic talents. Thabisa believes that “one should live life fully; dare to break boundaries and especially those that exist in one’s mind. Be open and willing to challenge oneself to learn and evolve personally and professionally.” Thabisa achieved a top 18 finish on Idols South Africa VIII and is currently producing her deeply authentic visual EP as she works on her third album.
Finn Wiggins-Henrythey/them Keyboard
Finn Wiggins-Henry is a multi-instrumentalist born and raised in Connecticut. Finn began their studies at the Regional Center for the Arts in Trumbull, CT. Starting on saxophone, they soon found their love for piano and majored in jazz piano. After graduating, they moved on to the University of Connecticut and, while pursuing a degree in mathematics elementary education, they continued their jazz learning as a minor. Finn enjoys blending blues, Jazz, R & B, and other music genres into contemporary projects that are provocative, moving, and freeing. Finn’s piano technique, combined with the soulful timbre of their voice, will reel anyone in, make them feel, and make them dance.
Clifford Anthony Edward Schlosshe/him Guitar
Cliff Schloss is a New Haven born teaching artist, multi-instrumentalist, and arts administrator. An attendee of Hofstra University, Schloss has taught and performed regionally with various projects and currently holds the position of executive assistant at the International Festival of Art & Ideas. A current Hamden resident, Schloss can be found teaching music in the summers at the Horizons summer program at Foote School, in the halls of Neighborhood Music School as a faculty member, or playing/attending shows in and around New Haven as he works to push his art further.
Treyvon Moorehe/him Bass
Treyvon Moore is a producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from New Haven, CT.
Jocelyn Pleasantshe/her Drums
Jocelyn Pleasant is a drummer, multi-percussionist, educator, and bandleader, currently based in Middletown, CT where she is pursuing a PhD in ethnomusicology. Jocelyn’s performance credits on drum set and percussion are extensive and showcase her versatility and ability to play many genres of music. Her band, The Lost Tribe, performs music that combines West African rhythms with jazz, funk, hip-hop, and other genres. She is also the co-founder of Medusa, a jazz ensemble that features tap dancer Corey Hutchins.