The Vanguard Theater, a new not-for-profit theater serving Essex and Union counties, will host its first community co-production: A Portrait of Ray. Celebrating the legacy of Equality, Vanguard Theater Company presents the story of the legendary Ray Charles in “A Portrait of Ray”. Born in 1930, Ray Charles was known as a soul music visionary. His original sound, which infused Gospel, R&B, Jazz and Country Music aided in the integration of American music as well as American people. A charismatic (though often controversial) musician, songwriter and producer, Ray used his music as an instrument for social change--having a profound influence on the world at large.
The riveting performance is unveiled before our eyes as South Orange’s own Dwayne Clark embodies Ray's soul and guides the Raelettes--his infamous background singers through a melange of melodies. The music is set to the backdrop of World Class Saxophonist, Don Braden, our featured saxophonist, as well as 10 other seasoned jazz musicians to round out Ray's impeccable orchestra. The production will take play two performances only! January 16th at 7pm and January 17th at 3pm at South Orange Middle School, 70 Ridgewood Road, South Orange, NJ. The show is being presented through a special community partnership with the MLK Clubs of South Orange/Maplewood Schools.
The MLK Weekend Event will also be host to an Artist Exhibition showcasing the top ten finalist of the Vanguard "Vision of Equality" Art Competition. This competition, open to all High School aged artists in the Greater NJ area, invites artists to submit original pieces on the topic of "Civil Rights." The aim of the exhibition is to showcase varying perspectives on civil rights equality of the past, present and future. Cash Prizes will be awarded to the winners.
Vanguard Theater Company is committed to producing transformational theater dedicated to diversity, community engagement and professional artistic mentorship. Through dynamic storytelling, Vanguard produces works that reflect the various complexions of the 21st century artist and audience. Vanguard Theater Company is a registered 501 (c) 3 not for profit arts organization envisioned by visionary co-founders, Janeece Freeman- Clark and Daryl L. Stewart.