Monday, May 4, 2020
To keep its cast engaged and to continue to build an audience during the pandemic, GRACE – a new musical exploring a family’s long connection with African American culinary traditions – creator/composer Nolan Williams, Jr. (Creator/Composer: GRACE, STIRRING THE WATERS ACROSS AMERICA, DEVINE HAMER GRAY) and business partner Dale Mott/Edgewood (Co-Producer: THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT, THOUGHTS OF A COLORED MAN) have teamed-up with celebrity chef Carla Hall to launch an online engagement initiative, “#ByGRACE.”
GRACE, directed by Broadway veteran and Actors Theatre of Louisville executive artistic director Robert Barry Fleming with scenic design by Emmy Award-winner Jason Ardizzone-West, would have premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville in March but, due to the pandemic, was canceled.
#ByGRACE was launched in mid-April with the release of the finale selection of Williams' GRACE, "When Gran'Me Cooked." (Visit www.gracethemuscial.com to listen.)
To-date, the GRACE team has reached nearly 250,000 through social media, including weekly live Instagram and Facebook conversations co-hosted by Chef Hall and Nolan Williams, Jr.. Hall, Williams, and special guests engage in conversation on timely topics including food, family, resilience, and storytelling-all themes explored in the new musical.
All are invited to participate in the conversation and initiative by sharing favorite food memories on their social media platforms using "#ByGRACE." Hall and Williams select and share submitted stories during the live conversations and on the production's official website.
This Tuesday, May 5, at 1 PM EST, Brian Stokes Mitchell and CBS This Morning Saturday Host and Correspondent Michelle Miller will join Hall and Williams as special guests for the third #ByGRACE conversation.
Past #ByGRACE Livestream guests have included Black Entertainment Television founder and Salamander Hotels and Resorts Founder/CEO Sheila C. Johnson, former Broadway Black editor-in-chief April Reign, culinary historian, writer, and educator Michael Twitty, actor Clayton Prince, "Oh My Goff" blog editor and news correspondent Angie Goff, and real estate executive and Broadway enthusiast John Edelmann.
Those registering at GRACE's official website will receive a "virtual front-row seat" to a private live online conversation with the GRACE cast during which additional songs and show details will be shared.
"While we don't know what the new normal will be, we want to be prepared to quickly activate a passionate and engaged audience," Williams and Mott agreed. "We're meeting audiences where they are now--and we're humbled to see thousands from around the globe connecting with GRACE's story of family, food, and resilience. We are hopeful we'll confirm new dates at Actors Theatre and other theatres in 2021 and beyond."
GRACE is a new musical inspired by creator/composer Nolan Williams, Jr. interest in African-American food traditions and history. GRACE captures a milestone day in the life of the Mintons, a Philadelphia-based family with a long connection with African American culinary traditions, especially through their century-old restaurant. The family has gathered to mourn the loss of their matriarch--their "Gran'Me." The story unfolds through original songs, ranging in styles from traditional musical theatre and R&B to jazz and neo-classical. www.gracethemusical.com