New Victory to Present New York Premiere of Nambi E. Kelley’s JABARI DREAMS OF FREEDOM, Mar. 21 – Apr. 3, 2022

New Victory is presenting the New York Premiere of Nambi E. Kelley’s Jabari Dreams of Freedom from March 21 through April 3, 2022.

Nambi E. Kelley and Daniel Carlton. Photo by Lia Chang

Helmed by Daniel Carlton, Jabari Dreams of Freedom uses rap, freedom songs, hip-hop dance, history and humor to tell the story of a young Black boy from the South Side of Chicago who is afraid to leave the house. With his Forever President Barack Obama as a guide, Jabari escapes the violent reality of an encounter with the police through his colorful paintings where he meets children from the past who teach him how to be fearless. Written by New Victory LabWorks Artist Nambi E. Kelley (Toni Morrison’s Jazz, Native Son at The Duke on 42nd Street) and produced by First Woman, this play explores through the lessons of the children of the Civil Rights Era what it means for Black boys, and Black children, to live freely.

Award-winning playwright Nambi E. Kelley was chosen by literary legend Toni Morrison to adapt her novel Jazz for the stage (Baltimore Center Stage, Marin Theatre Company). Her adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son has played across the country and premiered off-Broadway at The Duke on 42nd Street (The Acting Company). Nambi is a former playwright-in-residence at the National Black Theatre, Goodman Theatre and New Victory Theater. Awards include this year’s NNPN annual commission, the Prince Prize 2019 and a Dramatists Guild Foundation Writers Alliance Grant 2018-19. Nambi is a staff writer for a new show on Fox and for Showtime’s The Chi.

Tickets for the Spring 2022 production of Jabari Dreams of Freedom go on sale December 8 at


Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, an Award winning filmmaker 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. Her short film, When the World Was Young recently garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. 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. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.

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