Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | May 15, 2024

I, Too, Sing America at Grace Cathedral: Bringing Centuries of Diverse American Poetry to Life Through Music and Dance

Blog|Grace

The weekend leading up to Juneteenth, Grace Cathedral invites the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company to present a special limited run of their beloved show I, Too, Sing America, from Friday, June 13 to Sunday, June 15.

I, Too, Sing America is a theatrical concert celebrating works by poets of color, including Langston Hughes, Frances Chung, Vince Gotera, and more, set to original music and choreography First produced by SFBATCO in 2018, I, Too, Sing America was named Theatre Bay Area’s Outstanding Musical of 2019 and was also awarded Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Choreography. The production was remounted in 2022, and in 2023, SFBATCO released a cast recording on Spotify. And now, we are lucky to present it at Grace Cathedral for four performances.

We spoke with Rodney Earl Jackson Jr., Director and Performer, and Christine Chung, Director of Choreography and Performer, about the inspiration behind the remounting of this show.

What excites you about bringing I, Too, Sing America to Grace Cathedral this June?

We feel honored to perform this show at such an iconic and beautiful San Francisco venue. The messages in I, Too, Sing America resonate deeply with people because they are both timely and timeless, and we’re thrilled to bring this powerful music and movement to new audiences.

While the show is rooted in our country’s history of marginalization and oppression, it ultimately is a celebration of our collective pride, ambition, strife, perseverance, joy, diversity, and optimism. People tend to walk out of our shows singing, dancing, and clapping along and we can’t wait to fill this space with the soulful sound of our immensely talented cast.

Rodney adds, “It’s an honor as a gay black church boy growing up in an incredibly diverse city to play such an incredible venue with our now 10-year-old company’s crowd favorite: I, Too Sing America.” 

What styles of music and dance should we expect to hear and see onstage?

The music composition ranges from gospel to R&B to jazz to musical theater to the soul. The dance styles range from contemporary to hip-hop to salsa to jazz. The text ranges from Langston Hughes to Frances Chung to Junot Diaz to Alok Vaid-Menon to Victoria Chang to Nina Simone to Gwendolyn Brooks to James Baldwin to San Francisco’s own Vince Gotera and more. All this to say, audiences get a vast range of styles jam-packed into an exhilarating 75-minute performance.

What are you hoping our audiences leave with after experiencing this show?

We hope people feel connected and uplifted. We hope our show is a cathartic experience and people can see their stories and identities reflected on stage. And we hope people feel energized to continue doing their part to ensure our society continues to change for the better, however that might be!

As we prepare to grace the stage of this iconic venue, we’re thrilled to bring to life some of the show’s most compelling pieces, including the soul-stirring melodies of ‘In Daddy’s Arms’, the poignant narratives of ‘Accents’ and ‘Too A Dark Girl’, and the vibrant rhythms of ‘First Mango’. These are moments not to be missed in SFBATCO’s decade-long legacy.

Folks will leave with an invigorated love of San Francisco and its awesome arts scene!

Book your tickets today and join the Zoom panel with creatives and rehearsal sneak peek on May 28 at 6:30 pm!

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