The Passing the Torch through the Arts Program in Beacon, New York, presented two one-act plays this weekend based on the lives of two artists who were groundbreakers for civil rights in the United States: Harper Lee, author of the American classic To Kill a Mockingbird, and Jamaican-born singer and actor Harry Belafonte. The plays, titled To Kill a Mockingbird and Hear the Music, are the work of playwright Michael Monasterial, artistic director of the Program.
Hear the Music, in which Monasterial played the central role, is a musical play that follows singer/activist Belafonte’s career through “the political twists and turns of the fifties and sixties.” Best known for popularizing the Caribbean music of his homeland Jamaica with hits such as “The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)” and “Jump in the Line”, Belafonte was an outspoken supporter of Dr. King during the civil rights movement, at times single-handedly supporting him financially. He financed the Freedom Rides, helped organize the 1963 March on Washington and went on to be a seminal figure in UNICEF, Live Aid and the campaign against AIDS in African children.
Originally reported at http://www.hvpress.net/news/122/ARTICLE/7570/2009-08-12.html