Jim Crow’s Tears and our collective deliverance from oppression

February 27 2017
Artwork by Gil Ashby Artwork by Gil Ashby

For one evening only, on March 10, 2017 at the Rose Wagner, Utah audiences will get a glimpse into a tortured soul through the music and lyrics of the University of Utah’s very own Director of Jazz Studies, Kris Johnson and his musical “Jim Crow’s Tears” starring Antwaun Stanley, Sarah Elizabeth Charles, Candice Corbin, Milton Suggs, and Cameo Humes.

The show, which is presented by Johnson and the GAM Foundation, depicts dark periods in our nation’s history – including dehumanizing slavery to the degradation of the Minstrel Shows – and pays tribute to those who endured those times and fought to implement change. It will take audiences on an emotional journey that transcends time. As writer Barbara Johnson said, “It will make you cry. It will make you angry. It will make you laugh. Mostly, it will make you think.”

While the story focuses on some African American history, the underlying theme of the search for one’s own autonomy is remarkably poignant today and relevant to a broad range of communities and marginalized groups.

“This is not only a ‘black’ issue but is central to the human experience,” said Johnson, who is an award-winning jazz trumpeter, composer and educator. “Other cultures, nationalities, ethnicities, and lifestyles have been marginalized and faced discrimination across the world. This piece is an expression of what it means to deliver one’s mind, body, and spirit from the chains (literal or figurative) of oppression. My desire is for ‘Jim Crow’s Tears’ to provoke reflection, dialogue, healing, and positive change.”

This socially impactful musical features a 6-member cast, 5-piece horn section, 9-piece chamber orchestra, 5-piece rhythm section, and two percussionists with a beautifully crafted script by Gary Anderson and thought provoking and emotional music and lyrics scored by Kris Johnson. Original art by Gil Ashby and a dynamic multimedia display by David Deveau.

“Jim Crow’s Tear’s” will be performed live on in the Jean Wagner Theatre at the Rose Wagner at 7:30 p.m., and tickets can be purchased for $25 for general audiences and $10 for students with ID.

For student tickets please call (801) 355-2787. Run time: 90 minutes plus a 10-minute intermission. Recommended for ages 8 and up. No babes in arms. All patrons must have a ticket regardless of age.

Jim Crow’s Tears was supported by New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Helen F. Whitaker Fund and Aaron Copland Fund for Music. The album also can be ordered through various sites including Amazon, CD Baby and Apple iTunes and individual tracks through Sound Cloud.