ty jones (classical theater of harlem)

Ty Jones, Producing Artistic Director for the Classical Theatre of Harlem

*The Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH) will be celebrating its 15th anniversary in grand style with a star studded benefit concert tonight, Monday, April 13 at the Apollo Theater Soundstage.

“Law & Order” star Leslie Odom Jr. is set to host the fundraiser featuring the New York premiere of songs from the eagerly anticipated off-Broadway musical “Witness Uganda.”

“If you haven’t seen it yet – my bet is that within the next year to 18 months you’ll see it gracing Broadway stages,” Ty Jones, Producing Artistic Director for the Classical Theatre of Harlem, said about “Witness Uganda” a true story about Griffin Matthews’ charitable work for Uganda.

There will also be an appearance by Tony Award winner Patina Miller at the fundraiser.

The theatre company was founded in 1999 and has presented a world repertory ranging from works by classical playwrights (Chekhov, Euripides and Shakespeare) and established 20th-century playwrights (August Wilson, Langston Hughes and Derek Walcott) to new plays by emerging playwrights.

“The classics are the kind of plays that I like that are big and epic that speaks to us as human beings,” Jones proclaimed. “We also like to make sure that we can produce plays that we call future classics.”

He says the arts are in his words “without question part of the economic engine of this city. I think it’s to the tune of well over a billion dollars downtown.” Jones wants it known that CTH “is part of that.”

Jones explains how CTH plays a part in the financial revitalization of Harlem and provides jobs, particularly for young people.

“When we’re doing our show in Marcus Garvey Park this summer – anywhere (from) 10 to 12 thousand people come see that show. That is foot traffic for local businesses. That summer show alone we’re employing anywhere up to 50 people and many of them are young folks,” Jones said.

Odom Jr. is currently in “Hamilton” – an off Broadway musical (moving to Broadway in July) about founding father Alexander Hamilton.

For details about the Harlem based theatre company go to www.cthnyc.org.

Listen to Tené Croom’s interview with Ty Jones

By Tené Croom
Follow @TcTene
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