Baritone Anthony Brown tells story of singer/actor/activist Paul Robeson at Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre on Feb. 10
From a press release:
The F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts welcomes Anthony Brown to Wilkes-Barre on Friday, Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. for “I Go on Singing: Paul Robeson’s Life in His Own Words & Song.” The first show in the new Lobby for the Arts series taking place in the Kirby Center’s Chandelier Lobby, baritone singer Anthony Brown will tell the story of actor and activist Paul Robeson.
Tickets, which are $20 in advance or $25 the day of the show, are on sale now and available through the Kirby Center box office (71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre), online at kirbycenter.org, and by phone at 570-826-1100.
“I Go on Singing” brings music and history alive with equal parts documentary and live concert experience. Accompanied by a pianist, narrator, and archival video, musical numbers range from spirituals to Broadway and include Robeson’s original arrangements of favorites like “Wade in the Water,” “Ol’ Man River,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” and “Water Boy.”
An all-American athlete, scholar, international recording artist, and star of the stage and screen, in his day Robeson was the best-known African American entertainer in the world, and his life was a courageous example of integrity and discipline in the service of peace.
In 1922, Robeson and his wife moved to London where he was to star in a play. It was in England that he became involved in the plight of the Welsh coal miners who were working under poor conditions with inadequate pay. This was the beginning of his social activism, and he would go on speaking and singing for peace, freedom, and social justice for the rest of his life.
But it was his social ties to the people of the newly formed Soviet Union that cost him dearly, as he was eventually blacklisted by the entertainment community in the United States and his passport was revoked by the U.S. government.
Accused of being a communist, he appeared before the House Committee on Un-American Activities and passionately denied the accusations. While popular all over the world, he was now a prisoner in his own country. Even leaders of the African American community distanced themselves from Robeson, fearing retaliation by the U.S. government. Nevertheless, he continued to speak out for justice and championed the cause of civil rights in the United States.
Anthony Brown is an internationally acclaimed singer, peace ambassador, interpreter of the African American spiritual, and citizen of the world. His music has taken him to war-torn areas in the world, where he has used this music to bring hope and healing into areas of despair and strife. He uses the power of music to bring people together across the divides of race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, and culture. He understands that music speaks the universal language of the heart, and he uses it to bring people together around their common humanity.
He is the founder and director of the Peacing It Together Foundation. This not-for-profit organization promotes peace and justice through music and the spoken word. He is also an artist in residence at Hesston College in Hesston, Kansas.