Video: See a Performance From the NYC Return of Syncing Ink | Playbill

Video Video: See a Performance From the NYC Return of Syncing Ink

Plus, the cast and creatives on why the hip-hop play is "spiritual vitamins."

Hip-hop play Syncing Ink is headed for its NYC return—the production begins performances May 7 at the Victoria at The Apollo Stages, with opening night set for May 19. Check out creator NSangou Njikam performing a song from the show in the video above. The show held an event February 15 at Ginjan Café in Harlem to announce the cast.

"Hip-hop doesn't always have the best representations shown to the world," playwright/performer Njikam said in a panel following the performance. "Ifa and Orisha and African traditions and African cultures don't always get the proper, accurate representations. Imagine you're going to walk into a world where all of that happens and you still feel good...That's what everyone's going to get [at Syncing Ink]."

Created by Njikam, the work celebrates hip-hop and Yoruba culture with a new, original score by producer and emcee Kyleel "Proda'' Rolle and choreography by Adesola Osakalumi. The play, which originally ran at The Flea (a co-production with Houston, Texas's Alley Theatre) in 2017, follows the coming-of-age journey of Gordon Morris (played by Njikam), who is certain deep down that he's destined to become an emcee, but isn't sure if he can rhyme. Rooted in traditional Yoruba culture, Gordon embraces the power of his words for himself, his family, and the fate of hip-hop itself. Awoye Timpo is directing.

The cast features two-time Tony nominee Kara Young, Njikam, Adesola Osakalumi (Skeleton Crew), Nuri Hazzard, Elisha Lawson, and McKenzie Frye (for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf), who are all returning from the original run. 

"This experience, this ceremony, this tradition that we've built in the last seven years together...Syncing Ink is a world in which our freedom of expression is infinite, and our freedom of our Blackness is infinite," said Young. "There is something about what [Njikam has] created that doesn't include the oppressive natures of the world, where we can be absolutely free...the engagement of our spirits together is like one of the most inexplicable experiences that I've ever had." 

Though the cast is returning, the staging is new, with a completely new creative team. The new run features spiritual advisement and cultural direction by Chief Ayanda Clarke, scenic design by Jason Ardizzone-West, lighting design by Alan C. Edwards, sound design by G. Clausen, and costume design by Ty Hunter. Nathan Gehan and ShowTown Productions will serve as executive producer. ShowTown Theatricals will provide general management, and Sybil R. Williams is serving as dramaturg.

Syncing Ink is produced by Victoria Weinberg of Just V Productions, Ezra Ezzard of Artification, Richard Fearn, Willette and Manny Klausner, Gabrielle Palitz, Simon Turner, and Q'd Up Productions. 

"I would like for people to realize and understand, when it comes to this show, that all Black art—whether it's theatrical, film, or TV—is not pain and poverty porn," said Adesola Osakalumi. "A lot of times nowadays, we will see work, and it is from our experience, or our ancestral experience, and it is pain and poverty porn...[you leave] emotionally and spiritually depleted. I think one of the brilliant aspects of this show is that people leave satisfied, and forward-thinking, and optimistic."

Added Frye: "It's like church. Where you can leave feeling uplifted, feeling healed, feeling seen...being able to see that and take that in, our show is spiritual vitamins. If you want to come back, you want to feel good, if you want to feel like you have a place here, if you want to feel like you can do anything, you want to feel like your words mean something, like your spirit means something, come see Syncing Ink. Come see it again, and again, and again."

Visit for tickets. 

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