CHARLES R. SMITH, JR. (STORY AND LIBRETTO)
Award-winning author, photographer, and poet with over thirty books to his credit, including a Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration (2010) for his photographs accompanying the Langston Hughes poem “My People” and a Coretta Scott King Honor Author Award (2008) for his biography on Muhammad Ali, Twelve Rounds to Glory. Early books such as Rimshots, Hoop Kings, and Hoop Queens focus on his love of basketball.
GLEN ROVEN, in memoriam (LEAD COMPOSER)
Late four-time Emmy-winning composer Roven recently premiered Symphony No. 2 at Lincoln Center with the National Chorale. His 36 song cycles have been performed around the world. Roven’s Violin Concerto debuted at Carnegie Hall with Glenn Close narrating, having also been recorded by Brooke Shields, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and others. He was most recently known for his setting of the Hillary Speeches. Unfinished works include a symphony, two musicals, and two operas, with performances in NYC, Santa Fe, and London, among others.
GRETHE BARRETT HOLBY (CONCEPT & CREATIVE DIRECTOR)
Collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, Lou Reed, Robert Wilson, and Yusef Komunyakaa; performances at Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Houston Grand Opera, La Scala, & across the country. Originating cast member of Einstein on the Beach. Founding Artistic & Executive Director of Ardea Arts & Family Opera Initiative; Founder of American Opera Projects. Rockefeller Fellowship Recipient, holds B.S. and M.Arch. degrees from MIT.
TOMÁS DONCKER (ADDITIONAL MUSIC)
Global Soul composer and producer. Directs, composes, and performs with his ensemble, Tomás Doncker Band. Guitarist for James Chance & The Contortions, Defunct, J. Walter Negro & The Loose Jointz. Collaborated with Boosty Collins, Yoko Ono, The Itals, & Prince Charles Alexander. Current Project with Ivan Neville, Bonnie Raitt, Meshell Ndegocello, In Living Color’s Corey Glover, P-Funk keyboardist AmpFiddler Shamekia Copeland, & Bill Laswell.
Dr. EVERETT McCORVEY (Project Music Director)
Professor of Voice, OperaLex Endowed Chair in Opera Studies, and Director and Executive Producer of University of Kentucky Opera Theatre: Artistic Director of the National Chorale, New York City; Director of American Spiritual Ensemble; Vice Chair Kentucky Arts Council. Professional Credits: Kentucky Center, Metropolitan Opera, Teatro Communal (Italy), Radio Music City Hall. A basketball fan, he often sings the National Anthem for Kentucky Wildcats games.
BETH GUTCHEON (ADDITIONAL STORY and LIBRETTO)
Beth Gutcheon has twelve novels in print, a New York Times bestselling author. She is also a vested member of the Writers Guild of America, with some dozen studio feature screenplays to her credit, as well as the narration for the documentary Children of Theatre Street, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
ANSEL ELGORT (HIP-HOP TRACKS)
A DJ, producer, singer, and actor, Elgort has performed in major EDM concert venues and festivals around the world. He was nominated the 2017 Golden Globe Best Actor for his role in Baby Driver. Currently in pre-production on a new Stephen Spielberg adaptation of West Side Story, his past credits include Carrie, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, and the Divergent series. He is signed with Island Records and a graduate of LaGuardia Arts High School.
FRANK X WALKER (ADDITIONAL Libretto and LYRICS)
Former Kentucky Poet Laureate, Walker is a founder of the Affrilachian Poets and the author of nine collections of poetry. Voted one of the most creative professors in the South, he is the originator of the word “Affrilachia.” A Lannan Poetry Fellowship Award recipient, he has degrees from UKY and Spalding University as well as four honorary doctorates from UKY, Spalding University, Centre College, and Transylvania University.
Cast & Instrumentation
Seven Main Singers
Rap Artist “Poet”
Three Basketball Players with Acting Experience
Excellent Male or Female Basketball Players (Community Ambassadors)
Male and Female Singers
Three Miscellaneous Cast / Swing Roles
REQUIRED GUEST APPEARANCE
College / Pro Level Basketball Player
POSSIBLE GUEST CAMEOS
(optional, and preferably from the local community)
Guest Police Officer
Guest Game Commentator
Guest Basketball Coach
Keyboard One (Piano)
Keyboard Two (Synth)
For Performances on a Full Basketball Court
Four Acts (“Quarters” like in a basketball game): Two hours with an intermission
Our stage is a basketball court. The only limitation is overly reverberant facilities.
Wireless head microphones, wireless handheld microphones, band stand, stage monitors
Outdoor courts only: PA systems monitors for the spectator area
Outdoor courts: natural light or spotlights at night.
Indoor courts: minimal theatrical lighting preferred.
Theatrical venues: full theatrical lighting preferred.
ADDITIONAL TECHNICAL ELEMENTS
Preferred but not critical are:
Electronic programmable scoreboard.