City Of Hope” takes on Newark Symphony Hall in Dramatic Fashion for an evening of music and clever s
Screenwriter, Producer and Reverend, Michael G. Hall is showering the city of Newark (NJ) with conviction and mystical design.
His absorbing musical, “City of Hope” is one of the largest that the city has seen.
“City of Hope takes place in a community that is filled with violence and struggles. Even with the negatives, it’s a community of love, and change.
The Crawford family just moved into the neighborhood after falling on hard times. More like the Jefferson’s after the recession, they find themselves back in the “hood” where they begin to remember and revalue those things they once had.
Meanwhile, you have the Walker family who refuses to concede to their surrounding and circumstances. When faced with a devastating trial, it is through their FAITH that hope becomes ALIVE, and it is during the season of unselfish giving that the families are mended, hearts healed, faith restored, and peace within the gates. However, nothing is never as it appears. There are struggles everywhere.
City of Hope reminds the audience of how hearts are hardened and jealously is cruel. But, when “love” reaches the core of a man, he is then shown the love of God.
The Watson family, a pillar of the community, seems unable to catch a break. Their world spirals out of control as a loved one faces an addiction that suddenly forces a reality that they, too, need help—No one is above reproach.”
Carr is releasing the presentation for one stellar night of powerful execution on Saturday, December 9, 2017 at Newark Symphony Hall.
With acumen as well as a lengthy experience in playwright and theater, Carr decided to use the memorable location not just for aesthetics, but to sustain history.
The venue, originally named, Salaam Temple, was built in 1925. It’s denoted that the four-story building with over 3700 seats, didn’t acquire the name Symphony Hall untill 1964.
It’s equisite structure holds memories of some of the best performances ranging from Metropolitan Opera, to James Cleveland, and even Queen Latifah.
Keeping diversity stitched within the walls seemed to be a huge deal for Carr.
“It was and [it] still is Symphony Hall. It was a big deal to certainly bring back that piece that was missing. It’s like it was the forgotten, so we met with the powers that be [to orchestrate the musical] and they’ve been great. They have been wonderful.”
Speaking of wonderful facilities, Carr believes that the play will bridge a gap within Newark and its communities.
“One of the missions is to bridge that division,” said Carr.
“As any good thing that’s going to be good, a blessing, or inspiration to people, it’s an abundance of adversity that’s always trying to hinder and block it. You just have to remain consistent and encouraged.
Sometimes, we have to encourage ourselves because if we are going to represent the City of Hope , then we will need that kind of faith.” Carr shared that they’ve run into some difficulties, but with faith and arduous work, the show will go on. Speaking of City of Hope , Carr decided on the Christmas message a year earlier. “Initially, we were talking about Brick City Christmas but the connotation that people were giving, were not as receptive because of the growth of Symphony Hall, and working as a whole. We did the next best thing which was, “City of Hope.”
It’s a spectacular musical because we wanted Newark to have its own, and not be envious of the Rockets and the Rockafella Center. We wanted Newark to have its own, and we were inspired by that. That’s the reason that we wrote the piece. They can expect a dramatic rollercoaster of good emotions and reality at its best in a Christmas setting with sounds of music that has not been served like this before.” Carr talked about the musical scores for the production and how important it is to incorporate the appropriate song with the stirring narrative or arrangement. “It’s very important because it also gives and tells a story of its own, and fulfilling the emotion of a tragedy to triumph, as well as perseverance.
One of the songs is, “Hope is all we have,” and it fits one of the scenes where it seems like there’s no way out, and suddenly, there’s a deliverance. During that particular segment, the brother and sister is singing to each other because they know hardship and the pain, and she encourages the brother through song, “Hope is all we have. That’s just one of the songs that’s very crucial to the piece, as well as God’s filled with miracles. There’s an illness that one of the parents had been dealing with for some time. They received a not-too-good diagnosis of a matter of time that they have. Quite expected or on the day of, there is a phone call that they receive, and so, God’s filled with miracles. There’s just an abundance of songs, of fourteen original songs with the production. Arguably, City of Hope goes beyond thought provoking... Carr and his production crew worked steadily, day and night, to ensure that the event would take off without delay. “I can’t tell a lie... even up until today, it’s been fighting hand and foot. The cast, I’ve seen them come from a cast, to becoming a family. I’ve seen those naysayers ask, “What can I do to help?” I see those who were not trying to get onboard, [now] they are trying to make this happen. It’s been a process from trying to get props but, the perseverance and determination— We’ve tried to bring more positivity and awareness to the production.” Carr shared that if he could ask for a do-over, he’d definitely take budget into consideration. “If I had to do it over, I’d make sure that funding was there.” This isn’t Carr’s first production, but he mentioned that the principal production is the first of this magnitude.
He insisted that the musical is a passion. “It kept me up, [and] helped me through this season because I reminisced on the passing of my sister. She died on the 15th of December some years ago, and then partnering with Deacon Don Dy-Dy, as he lost his son and nephew on June of this year, and how he’s turned that hate into love and happiness. He pours hope into those that really seem hopeless, and he lets them know that they can make it. They can really make it. The timing couldn’t be better. It’s just right. Everything about it is just right.”
Carr cradled a subject regarding survival and endurance, things that typical people take for granted who’ve not endured a thing. So, it’s an eye opener. The play helps to identify with those who are dealing with tragedy and losses around the holidays, which makes “ City of Hope a broad and bold statement, and a deeper healing mechanism. The stage production is an intentional multicultural drama. “The play was meant to be diversified, and embracing different cultures. We were specific that we wanted people who were born and raised in Newark. Even if you moved away and you were within a certain mile radius, we wanted you to come for the edition. That was our great intention. It turned out that we had a beautiful diversified cast. As the tagline says on the flyer, ‘All Lives Matter.’ We are politically correct in understanding that we must first take care of our own, and support our own. Yes, ‘Black Lives Matter’ every day of the week. At the end of the day, the play is not just about black lives, it’s about all lives in general. Yes, ‘All Lives Matter.’ The cast really portray that ‘all lives matter.’ In this age that we are living in, we are teaching [people] how to embrace, and to love by moving forward. That’s how we cast, and that was our intention.” The captivating production creates conversation across the globe, but unfortunately, the production will stay in Newark for now. “It is our hope that the powers that be understand the gravity of this piece. It is our hope that they will want to take the [production] further.” Carr said that theater, today, lacks the important component of reality. “Reality is lacking in theater, today, and how to bring thought provoking ideas onstage that people can begin embracing so they can have an intelligent conversation about their community, about the world that they live, and to bring good subject matter and content. It’s one thing to make people laugh.
It’s another thing to have that thought provoking subject that you wouldn’t run away from. In my opinion, reality is lacking. I’ve been inspired to write all the pieces I have with me. They deal with real situations of being part of my life and part of my families history, things of experience and things that may be taboo.
How do we get that onstage?
People need to identify with the substance in the message, and that will lead them to a better tomorrow.
That is what’s lacking— The reality of what life means to you without harming or causing damage when they see it. You just don’t leave them out there. You give them something where they can leave, and move forward.” Carr certainly gives us the feels from his sentiments. He’s bold and erudite enough to create more musicals with in-depth meaning.
He’s working on another theatrical called ‘While you were preaching.’
“That’s not just dealing with the Church. It entails everyday Fortune 500 companies. We also have, ‘Didn’t know my own strength,’ which deals with Domestic Violence and Cancer Awareness.”
Carr put an abundance of actuality into City of Hope , which clings to the soul in such a remarkable way, by waking the spirit from a realm of selfishness and pompousness. The hardcore facts about compassion and servility.
Michael G. Carr/ City of Hope Tickets Here