Black Theatre United, a new coalition co-founded by singer, actress and this year’s NYU Steinhardt Dean Scholar-in-Residence Vanessa Williams, will join university faculty to discuss their new theme song, Stand For Change, as well as the group's activism efforts.
As part of its annual celebration of Black History Month, the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions (MPAP) at New York University’s Steinhardt School will host a virtual conversation with the founding members of Black Theatre United (BTU) – a coalition of acclaimed Black actors, directors, musicians, writers, technicians, producers and stage managers who are using their voices and platforms to effect change. The group, co-founded by singer, actress and this year’s NYU Steinhardt Dean Scholar-in-Residence Vanessa Williams, will discuss their new theme song, Stand For Change, days ahead of its release, as well as their activism efforts.
Like BTU, Stand For Change was inspired by the tragic events of 2020 that sparked marches, demonstrations, protests and other forms of activism in support of racial justice in the United States. All proceeds from the sale of the record, which will be released by Republic Records, will support the ongoing efforts of Black Theatre United and the Johnny and Gladys Williams Foundation.
The record features vocal performances by 13 of the founding Members of BTU and was written by NYU Steinhardt professors Dave Schroeder and Phil Galdston. The song was produced by Galdston, who is also director of the songwriting program at NYU Steinhardt, and faculty member David Swagg R’Celious Harris. It was mixed by Galdston, Harris, and faculty member Kevin Killen and features contributions from the NYU Chamber Orchestra, arranged by Jazz Composer-in-Residence Rich Shemaria and conducted by NYU Steinhardt Director of Brass Studies Wayne DuMaine, and the Broadway Inspirational Voices, arranged by Michael McElroy, associate arts professor and director of diversity initiatives at NYU Tisch. All performers and technicians donated their services and time.
NYU faculty will join BTU founding members during this event to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Stand For Change. The founding members of BTU include: Lisa Dawn Cave, Darius de Haas, Carin Ford, Capathia Jenkins, LaChanze, Kenny Leon, Norm Lewis, Audra McDonald, Michael McElroy, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Wendell Pierce, Billy Porter, Phylicia Rashad, Anna Deavere Smith, Allyson Tucker, Tamara Tunie, Lillias White, NaTasha Yvette Williams, Schele Williams and Vanessa Williams.
This event is free and open to the public, but interested attendees should register in advance. Requests for specific accommodations or additional questions should be sent to email@example.com. Journalists requesting additional information should reach out to Jordan Bennett at Jordan.Bennett@nyu.edu.
About the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Located in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media and psychology. Since its founding in 1890, the Steinhardt School's mission has been to expand human capacity through public service, global collaboration, research, scholarship, and practice. To learn more about NYU Steinhardt, visit steinhardt.nyu.edu.
About Black Theatre United
AWARENESS • ACCOUNTABILITY • ADVOCACY • ACTION
“As members of the Black theatre community, we stand together to help protect Black people, Black talent and Black lives of all shapes and orientations in theatre and communities across the country. Our voices are united to empower our community through activism in the pursuit of justice and equality for the betterment of all humanity. We will not be silent. We will be seen. We will be heard. We are here. Join us.”
This call to action is just the beginning. It was the latest manifestations of police brutality that galvanized Black Theatre United into being. With roots reaching into all 50 of the United States this coalition can harness invaluable political scope and influence. To elevate a cause or to overturn policies that target black people in any one state or community, the group will draw on members with local connections to use their visibility and influence for good in theater and on the national stage.
The Founding Members Of Black Theatre United
Passionate and committed, this founding group of actors, directors, musicians, writers, technicians, producers and stage management includes: Lisa Dawn Cave, Darius de Haas, Carin Ford, Capathia Jenkins, LaChanze, Kenny Leon, Norm Lewis, Audra McDonald, Michael McElroy, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Wendell Pierce, Billy Porter, Phylicia Rashad, Anna Deavere Smith, Allyson Tucker, Tamara Tunie, Lillias White, NaTasha Yvette Williams, Schele Williams and Vanessa Williams.