Introducing Shirley Brantley:
Better known as Berry, is a singer/songwriter, actress, poet, educator, and writer from Queens by way of Lexington, Kentucky. She received her BA in Theatre from the University of Kentucky. She honed her playwriting skills there and went on to produce three one woman shows since 2002. Her last one woman show, "Browngirl. Bluegrass." documented her life as a brown girl coming of age in the bluegrass state of Kentucky. She's performed all over the country with the show as well as singing and hosting all over NYC. Her latest one woman show, TUBMAN, a reimagining of Harriet Tubman’s life as a young girl in Harlem, debuted to packed audiences in her hometown of Lexington, Ky, and NYC, with additional performances in San Diego, Rikers Island, New Bedford Massachusetts, Sacramento and Tubman's birthplace in Cambridge, MD. When she's not performing, she's teaching spoken word to middle and high school students in the Bronx, conducting educational workshops, and writing curriculum. She is currently writing her debut YA novel, "Seeing Janelle"
The DC Black Theatre & Arts Festival
A Balm In Gilead is a gospel musical drama that touches the mind, body and soul. There is something for everyone: inspirational drama, soul-stirring gospel music, comedy, and soulful sounds of the seventies. At the heart of this telling, there are two main themes: survival and redemption. JEWEL is a young Christian woman whose faith is tested when she learns that she has breast cancer. For a time, she is reclusive and reflective over her life.
Finally, she rides above the storm of despair through inner reflection and prayer, following doctor’s orders and becoming cancer free. She is now a breast cancer survivor and able to assist and educate others. Her love for singing has never waned as she returns to church and to the choir. PAUL has lost his beloved wife, Ruby. He is consumed with grief and loses himself in his work at the Post Office. His daughter and co-worker both encourage him to go out and enjoy life. Before he takes their advice, he travels to Gilead to find a pick-me-up in an unconventional way.
On his journey, he has a chance encounter with JEWEL. By the time PAUL returns home, he has found much more than he was looking for in Gilead. He and JEWEL gravitate toward each other. Will they be each other’s solace
Date: Sunday - June 30, 2019
Location: THEARC Main Stage - 1901 Mississippi Ave, SE Washington, DC