Laverne Cox, J'Nai Bridges, More Take Part in Event Celebrating Jessye Norman September 15 | Playbill

Classic Arts News Laverne Cox, J'Nai Bridges, More Take Part in Event Celebrating Jessye Norman September 15 The tribute from Black Opera Productions honors the late soprano on what would have been her 75th birthday.
Jessye Norman in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos Met Archives

Stars of opera, theatre, TV, and more gather virtually September 15 to pay tribute to Jessye Norman on what would have been her 75th birthday. Black Opera Productions' streaming gala begins at 6 PM; Kenneth Overton hosts.

The lineup of performers and speakers includes Emmy nominee Laverne Cox (an opera afficioinado herself), Pulitzer Prize finalist Anna Deavere Smith, J'Nai Bridges, Harolyn Blackwell, Martina Arroyo, Simon Estes, Damien Sneed, George Shirley, Measha Brueggergosman, Krysty Swann, Karen Slack, Chauncey Packer, John Holiday, Audrey DuBois-Harris, Sidney Outlaw, Justin Austin, Brandie Sutton, and Russell Thomas, plus Norman's family and students from the Jessye Norman School of the Arts.

Also making appearances are the company of Dance Theatre of Harlem, Richard Smallwood, Judith Jamison, Darren Walker, Alicia Hall Moran, Richard Danielpour, Mark Markham, Grace Bumbry, Laquita Mitchell, Mary Pinto, Kevin Miller, Myra Huang, and Aundra Clark.

In addition to dedications filmed remotely, the event will feature performances filmed in the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. The NYC center produces in partnership with Overton, Jonathan Estabrooks, Miranda Plant, and Ras Dia.

While the stream is free on YouTube, suggested donations will benefit Norman's namesake estate and school, as well as continued development of Black Opera Productions' upcoming documentary.

WATCH: 5 Unforgettable Performances From the Late, Never ‘Pigeonholed’ Jessye Norman

Norman died September 30 last year at 74. She is remembered for her varied repertoire that included (but was not limited to) opera roles that defied convention and rousing renditions of spirituals.


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