The League of Professional Theatre Women will present an Oral History Project event with the award-winning composer, lyricist, playwright, and actress Micki Grant on Monday, November 16 at 6pm on Zoom. Admission to the event is FREE. Please RSVP HERE. The interview with Ms. Grant has been prerecorded, and will be followed by a live Q&A.
The Oral History Project is an ongoing program of the League of Professional Theatre Women that chronicles and documents the contributions of significant theatre women in all fields. Founded and produced for 26 years by the late Betty Corwin, the Oral History Project is currently produced for the League by Ludovica Villar-Hauser. For the first installment of the Oral History Project’s 2020-2021 season, composer, lyricist, playwright, and performer Micki Grant will talk about her prolific and multi-faceted career with performer, playwright, and producer Richarda Abrams, three-time winner of the AUDELCO Award.
The League of Professional Theatre Women’s Oral History Project has previously featured interviews with such notables as Billie Allen, Kia Corthron, Tyne Daly, Carmen de Lavallade, Christine Ebersole, Angela Lansbury, Baayork Lee, Laura Linney, Patti LuPone, Frances McDormand, Bebe Neuwirth, Chita Rivera, Daryl Roth, Mercedes Ruehl, Paula Vogel, Lynn Nottage, among many other theatrical legends. Each year, three theatre women are selected to be interviewed, by the interviewer of their choice, to discuss their lives and careers. The video recordings of these interviews are then preserved as part of the Oral History Project. The tapes are then housed in The New York Public Library’s Theatre on Film and Tape Archive.
Micki Grant is a multi-award-winning composer, lyricist, playwright, librettist, singer, and actress. Ms. Grant has been involved in the creation of some 18 theatrical productions, five of them on Broadway. With the long-running Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, in which she also starred, she became the first woman to win a Grammy Award for the score of a Broadway musical. She also received Tony nominations for book, music, and lyrics. Another Grammy nomination for the score (with Alex Bradford) of Your Arms Too Short to Box with God followed, as well as another Tony nomination for the score of Working. When Your Arms Too Short… and It’s Nice to Be Civilized opened on sub-sequent evenings, Grant had the distinction of having two Broadway musicals running simultaneously. She wrote the music and contributed lyrics for J. E. Franklin’s Prodigal Daughter and contributed additional lyrics to Eubie! and Sweet & Hot: The Songs of Harold Arlen. For Jacques Brel Blues, she supplied the English lyrics for 20 songs by the Belgian songwriter. Along with …I Can’t Cope and Your Arms Too Short…, she has an extensive list of collaborations with the dynamic Emmy-winning director, Vinnette Carroll. She has written songs for educational television’s Infinity Factory, and one of her several commercial jingles garnered the ad industry’s prestigious CLIO Award. Her creative body of work has been celebrated in two Off-Broadway musicals, Step Into My World at AMAS Repertory Theatre, and Looking Back at New Federal Theatre. As an actress, Ms. Grant has performed on and Off Broadway and in regional theatres around the country having made her Broadway debut as the ingenue in Langston Hughes’ Tambourines to Glory. In the late ‘90s, a two-year National tour of the play Having Our Say took her to more than 68 U.S. cities and to Johannesburg, South Africa, earning her the Helen Hayes Award for her performance as Sadie Delany. She also appeared in the CBS movie of the same name. The first African-American contract player on a daytime serial, she played the role of attorney Peggy Nolan on NBC’s “Another World” for seven years, and has had continuing roles on “Edge of Night” and “Guiding Light,” as well as guesting on “All My Children”. Directing credits include, among others, Ruby Dee’s Two Ha Ha’s and a Homeboy, starring Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee at Crossroads Theatre Company, and I Can’t Cope for the Apollo Modern Black Classic Series. A multitude of awards include the OBIE, NAACP Image, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Audelco’s Outstanding Pioneer, AEA’s Paul Robe-son, and the National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend and the Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement awards. Grant was also the 2012 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dramatists Guild of America.
Richarda Abrams, daughter of the late Dr. Muhal Richard Abrams (musician/composer/visionary/co-founder of the Association for The Advancement of Creative Musicians) is a three-time AUDELCO award-winning actress, singer, playwright, and producer of First By Faith: The Life Of Mary McLeod Bethune, which received the 2019 AUDELCO VIV Award for Solo Performance of the Year. First By Faith sold out the National Black Theatre Festival, and was named the Best of Solo Theatre in the last 10 years by United Solo Theatre Festival, winning their 2018 Best Educational Show Award, also receiving a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council grant. Richarda recorded the CD Song for All (Black Saint Records) with her father and performed in Muhal Richard Abrams’ Ensemble. Richarda is a member of Amina Claudine Myers’ Generation IV, a female gospel group, Myers’ Voice Choir, and has performed at NYC Winter Jazz, Bric Jazz festivals, and Sons d’Hiver Music Festival in France. Richarda’s theatrical performances include Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Ivoryton Playhouse), Last Days of Judas Iscariot, (La MaMa, dir., Estelle Parsons), and Fear Itself (Cross-roads Theatre Company). Richarda’s film and television credits include: The Subject by Chisa Hutchinson, The Riverside Bench, Oreos With Attitude (Showtime), “Sesame Street,” “One Life To Live,” “As The World Turns,” “Cosby,” and Lifetime’s Sherri. Richarda is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Experimental Theatre Wing, and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with honors in Acting. She received a Master of Arts in Educational Theatre from NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, studying Drama and Theatre in Education abroad at the University of Leeds, Bretton Hall College in England. Memberships include: AEA, SAG-AFTRA, AACM, Lifetime Member of the Actors Studio, Dramatists Guild, NYWIFT, and the League of Professional Theatre Women. www.RichardaAbrams.com
The League of Professional Theatre Women (a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization) has been championing womxn and leading the gender parity conversation in the professional theatre for over 35 years. Since its founding, the LPTW’s membership has grown to 500+ theatre artists and practitioners of all backgrounds, across multiple disciplines, working in the commercial and non-profit sectors. To increase visibility and opportunities for womxn in the field, the LPTW spearheads events, public program-ming, advocacy initiatives, media, and publications that celebrate industry luminaries, preserve the legacy of historic visionaries, raise awareness of the importance of nurturing womxn’s voices, and shine a spotlight on the imperative of striving for gender parity and fostering a diversity of expression, both in the theatre world and the world at large. To learn more about the League, its mission and how you can support it, please visit www.theatrewomen.org.
This program is made possible, in part, with funds from the NYS Council on the Arts, a state agency, with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. The Oral History Project also enjoys continued support from the Edith Meiser Foundation.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.