Blue - Michigan Opera Theatre

Overview

Blue tells the story of a loving, tight-knit family in modern-day Harlem struggling against increasing odds as the father proudly dons the blue uniform of NYPD while his son grows more politically active and socially aware. Caught between them, the mother endures her own struggles as peacemaker. Even with her family’s beauty, talent, and success, she can never escape the painful knowledge that, every single day, their lives are at stake.

Blue features a richly evocative libretto by playwright Tazewell Thompson and masterful score by lauded theatrical composer Jeanine Tesori (Broadway’s Fun Home and Caroline, or Change). MOT’s production is directed by New York-based theater artist Kaneza Schaal, renowned for her visceral, grand style aimed at delivering the truth.

With music that balances celebratory moments with powerful arias, this unforgettable contemporary work asks us to create a world where the greatest concern for Black parents in America is if their children will grow up to be happy–not if their children will grow up at all.

Fast Facts

*NEW PRODUCTION*

Presented at: Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre

Music by Jeanine Tesori
Libretto by Tazewell Thompson
Directed by Kaneza Schaal
Conducted by Daniela Candillari

Featuring Kenneth Kellogg as the Father and Gordon Hawkins as the Reverend

“a wrenching and remarkably original opera.”
-The Wall Street Journal

Synopsis

A child is born, a beautiful baby boy. His mother’s joy. His father’s pride. What will he grow up to be? How will he impact the world around him with his intelligence, his light?

For this modern-day couple living in Harlem, they know the fate of their Black child does not rest simply on his own merits. Growing up as the son of a proud New York cop, the boy turns into a socially-conscious and politically-active young man. His parents fear that it’s only a matter of time before their son is caught in the crossfire between his faith in a better world and the bitterness of the world as it is—protests, police brutality, and all.

Blue, inspired by the writings of James Baldwin and Ta-Nehisi Coates and informed by interviews with everyday people, centers on the complex and nuanced struggle of being Black in America.

Premiered by Glimmerglass Festival in 2019, Blue features a richly evocative libretto by playwright Tazewell Thompson (MOT’s A View from the Bridge) and a masterful score by lauded theatrical composer Jeanine Tesori (Broadway’s Fun Home and Caroline, or Change). With music that balances mirthful, celebratory moments with powerful, swelling arias, Blue, like life, is by turns humorous, tragic, and hopeful.

An impressive opera with an important story, this unforgettable contemporary work asks us to create a world where the greatest concern for Black parents in America is if their children will grow up to be happy–not if their children will grow up at all.

Additional Resources

Blue Program Notes by Lee Bynum

Sponsors

Presented by:

with support from:

 

 

and

 

Burton A. and Sandra D. Zipser Foundation

Fast Facts

*NEW PRODUCTION*

Presented at: Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre

Music by Jeanine Tesori
Libretto by Tazewell Thompson
Directed by Kaneza Schaal
Conducted by Daniela Candillari

Featuring Kenneth Kellogg as the Father and Gordon Hawkins as the Reverend

“a wrenching and remarkably original opera.”
-The Wall Street Journal

Sponsors

Presented by:

with support from:

 

 

and

 

Burton A. and Sandra D. Zipser Foundation

Additional Resources

Blue Program Notes by Lee Bynum