Madam Walker And The Divine Dream

Book & Lyrics by Steve Mackes; Music by Joseph Vernon Banks

Madam Walker And The Divine Dream

at The Studio at Theatre Row

  • Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 8:00 pm

On the eve of their 1921 company convention, the associates of America’s first black millionaire businesswoman gather to pay tribute to their deceased leader. As they re-enact the supposed divine dream that led to Madame Walker’s miracle hair formula, it remains to be seen whether or not her own daughter, Leila, will put their financial differences in the past and show up to pay her respects.

Running Time: 2 hours 15 minutes with intermission.

Please Note: Platinum or Diamond Members and Patrons may book tickets online. Tickets will be released to the General Public 48 hours prior to curtain on an as available basis.

Steve Mackes

Steve Mackes (Book / Lyrics)

Steve Mackes co-conceived and wrote the musical comedy revue, Boobs, the World According to Ruth Wallis, which ran 10 months Off-Broadway at the Triad and Dillon’s and had subsequent productions in New Orleans and Kansas City. He co-wrote a new, original book for Cole Porter’s Nymph Errant that was workshopped at The Village Theatre outside Seattle, produced at the Chichester Festival Theatre in England, and published by Samuel French. He was bookwriter and co-lyricist for the rock n’ roll musical comedy, Wild Women of Planet Wongo, which was workshopped at the University of Michigan’s New Works Festival, had a reading at Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York; won Northern Kentucky University’s 2005 YES Festival, was a Next Link Selection for the 2005 New York Musical Theatre Festival, and won the 2005 National Music Theatre Network’s Director’s Choice Award. In 2008, Wongo was produced at the Red Barn Theatre in Key West and, in 2011, was part of the West Village Musical Theatre Festival. Steve wrote the book and co-wrote lyrics to Hell Hole Honeys, which was selected for development at the Eugene O’Neill Music Theater Conference in 2004. Theatre Resources Unlimited made HHH part of their 2006 Musical Reading Series, and the show was produced in 2009 at the Alleyway Theatre in Buffalo. From 2004-2006, Steve was an Artist in Residence at New York’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center, working with Joseph Vernon Banks on Madam Walker and the Divine Dream. Steve is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Joseph-Vernon Banks

Joseph-Vernon Banks (Music)

Joseph-Vernon Banks has been a resident composer for The Theater for the New City (TNC) since 2000. His works with lyricist and director Crystal Field include: 99% Reduced Fat or You Can Bank On Us, Bamboozled or the Real Reality Show, Gone Fission, Buckle My Shoe, Tapdance, Social Insecurity, On the M15: Code Orange, State of the Union, Access Upheaval, The Patients are Running the Asylum, Biotech. He composed the music for Life's Too Short to Cry (book & lyrics by Michael Vazquez). In addition, as part of TNC's 35th anniversary of Street Theater, Joe produced the cast recording of Bamboozled or the Real Reality Show, available on iTunes, CD Baby and He received an MFA Degree from the Tisch Graduate Theater Writing Program at New York University on a Dean's Fellowship. He wrote the music, book and lyrics for the musical, Girlfriends!, which was produced as a staged reading at the Goodspeed Opera House, and his musical, The Sugar Hill Sisters (with book and lyrics by Bil Wright), was featured in NYMF's 2012 Developmental Reading Series. Awards have included: Meet The Composer Grant (2000, 2001), The ASCAP Special Awards Program. He is a member of the Dramatist Guild, The American Society of Composers and Authors (ASCAP).

Carrie Compere

Carrie Compere (Ida Faye Collins)

Carrie Compere is so excited to be a part of this project. She has toured with the 1st National Tour of Broadway’s Shrek the Musical and made her Off-Broadway debut in Sistas the Musical this past summer.  She has been in several other theater (Ain’t MisBehavin’, The Wiz) , commercial and TV productions.  She has guest starred in episodes for the CBS series “NYC 22” and the pilot episode for Showtime’s “Gurland on Gurland”.  Carrie is currently in the workshop for Broadway bound "Holler If You Hear Me". Much love and thanks to God, to her hubby and two children, her manager ~ Susan Campochiaro Confrey/ CBU INC. , and agent ~ Barry Kolker, Carson-Kolker.Org

Jennifer Fouche

Jennifer Fouche (Sarah Breedlove aka CJ Walker)

Jennifer Fouche is a proud member of the critically acclaimed AMoralists Theatre Company and a past member of The Flea Theatre's resident acting company, The Bats.  Some credits include:  Ain't Misbehavin' (Cape Playhouse), Hamlet (The Drilling Company), Portraits (Prospect Theatre Company), Nighttime Traffic (Alex Wyse), Darfur (Red Shirt Productions), Dirty Little Black Girls (The Fire This Time Theatre Festival), Hairspray (Gateway Playhouse), Julius Caesar (Regional Tour), Babes In Toyland (Lincoln Center), Amerissiah (Off Broadway), Freedom Train (National Tour).   Jennifer has also worked in film, voice over and TV, including appearances on SMASH and Animal Planet.  She has performed both nationally and internationally as a singer and actor and her single "Now Is The Time" garnered her a gold record in the UK.  Her one woman show, "Grown Folks Are Talking" will premiere in New York in 2013.  Jennifer is currently starring in the Off Broadway hit, SISTAS: The Musical and she is thrilled to be part of this year's NYMF Festival!

Cheryl Gadsen (Darmayne Doaks)

Angela Grovey

Angela Grovey (Lelia)

Broadway: Leap of Faith, Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Some Theatre: Wig Out (Vineyard Theatre); Little Shop of Horrors (Papermill); This One Gils Story (NYMF); MidSummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare).  Film/TV: Joyful Noise; 30 Rock; The Unusuals. Graduate of Roosevelt University CCPA.

Kenya Lee

Kenya Lee (Alice Kelly)

Michael Roberts

Michael Roberts (CJ Walker)

Michael Anthony Roberts is an actor singer dancer who has performed on Broadway in legends in concert. He has toured nationally and internationally with Dreamgirls, West Side Story, Ain't misbehavin.  Michael is also a playwright and wrote and directed Simply Langston about the life and work of Langston Hughes. He is presently doing concert work and sings with the award winning Marble Collegiate Choir and Power in Praise Mass choir.  Michael just completed a concert with Gospel Great Richard Smallwood.  All praises to the creator!

chandra thomas

chandra thomas (Sally Whipple)

Originally from New York, Chandra Thomas works an actor-writer-producer. As an actor, her theatre performances include contemporary and classic works Off-Broadway, in New York and regionally at Classical Theatre of Harlem (AUDELCO nomination), Public Theater, Women's Project Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company (Barrymore Award nomination), Ensemble Studio Theater, Cherry Lane Theatre, P.S. 122, among others. Some of chandra’s television credits include The Good Wife and Too Big to Fail. Her film credits include the upcoming features Labor Day and Sweet Lorraine. As a writer, productions include Standing At... (Heideman Award Finalist), a rhyme for the UNDERground, and Forgive to Forget. As a producer, chandra co-produced spork*Festival, a festival of original short plays, films and discussion the “in-betweener” experience, and the LOVE/YOUTH Project, a collaborative theatrical response of professional artists to violence against LGBTQ youth, as well as other projects in theatre and film. MFA: Columbia University. / @truechandra 

Annie Lee Moffett

Annie Lee Moffett (Eloise Vandican / Annie Turnbo)

Annie Lee Moffett (AEA) A native of Chicago now based in New York City, she can be seen in the upcoming films Shades of Gray (Tasha Pictures), and the psychological thriller Devoured  (Secret Weapon Films). She has been seen in Ghosts With Insomnia (Gena) with Prometheus’ Fire at The Stratford Theatre (dir: Ray Aranha),Ascension (Ruth) at The Cherry Lane Theatre and The National Black Theatre Festival (dir: Petronia Paley), The Ghosts of Christmas Past (Samantha) at The Gene Frankel Theatre, The Trial of One Short Sighted Black Woman vs. Mammie Louise and Safreeta Mae (Safreeta Mae) at Queens Theatre in the Park and New Jersey Performing Art’s Center, the Off-Broadway production of Absolute Clarity (Belle) at the Player’s Theatre, Crowns(Yolonda) at American Stage, the touring production of First Lady with Theater Garden, Repo! The Genetic Opera(Blind Mag) at Wing’s Theatre, and CouchFullaLuv (Nessa) at The Looking Glass Theatre. She has been in numerous showcases at The Bank Street Theatre, The Flat Iron Theatre, and The Producer’s Club, and was a featured soloist with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, singing at various venues from The Kaufmann Center to Carnegie Hall. Listen for the sound of her voice in the musical score of the film Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis. She is also a featured artist on the albums “The Mercy Suite,” produced by Tomas Doncker with music set to the poetry of Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa and “For Lost Words,” written by Vince Di Mura with words again by Yusef Komunyakaa. Annie Lee graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music with a bachelor of Music and a BA in Voice Performance and African American Studies respectively. Appointed to the faculty Third Street Music School in 2008, she teaches music on the Lower East Side.

Juson Williams

Juson Williams (Freeman Ransom)

Juson Williams is a two time Audelco Award Winner for his work in the hit Off Broadway Production Black Man Rising, as well as, a Midtown International Theatre Festival Award Winner for ResurGents. Some favorite N.Y. credits include: The Color Purple, The Wiz with Lachanze and Ashanti, The Scottsboro Boys directed by Susan Stroman, Raisin, Best Of Both Worlds directed by Diane Paulus, the up and coming Central Avenue Breakdown(Winner of the Daegu International Musical Festival Award, as well as, Five N.Y. Musical Festival Awards.), Smokey Joe's Cafe with Gladys Knight and Stormy Weather with Leslie Uggams. Favorite regional credits: It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues, Five Guys Named Moe, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Juson Has appeared on Saturday Night Live and NBC's Gimme The Mic and is so thankful for yet another opportunity to share his God given artistry. Next Up? Working on his own original music for release. Stay Tuned........

Jade King Carroll (Director)

 Next season Jade is excited to be directing Alice Childress' Trouble in Mind at Two River and August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at Portland Stage and Piano Lesson at Cape Fear and serving as Dramaturg for NYPR August Wilson's American Century Cycle. Past credits include: A Raisin In The Sun (Juilliard & Perseverance); Seven Guitars (People's Light and Theatre & Point Park University); King Hedley (Portland Playhouse); The Etymology of Bird (CitiParks Summer Stages); Alondra was Here (The Wild Project); Cherry Smoke (Theatre Row); Sex on Sunday (BE Company @ Urban Stages); The Basset Table (Adelphi); Black Girl, You've Been Gentrified (Joe's Pub); Radio Golf ( Penn State); The History of Light, Samuel J&K, The Summer House ( Passage Theatre); The Persians, Splittin' the Raft (People's Light & Theatre); Spit (Intar); Associate Director for A Streetcar Named Desire (Broadway). Readings & Workshops: New York Theatre Workshop, McCarter Theatre, Two River Theatre, New Dramatists, Second Stage Theatre, The Lark, Primary Stages, Time Warner New Play Festival, PlayPenn, Joe's Pub, Goethe Institute, Dramatist's Guild, Premeire Stages, The New Black Fest, New Jersey Rep, Luna Stage, Playwright's Realm, Naked Angels, NYMF, Classical Theatre of Harlem and many others. Jade was a TCG New Generations Future Leader Award recipient, through which she was the Artistic Associate at Second Stage Theatre. In 2010 Jade was presented with the Paul Green Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Professional from the National Theatre Conference and The Estate of August Wilson. Past Fellowships: New York Theatre Workshop, Van Lier, Second Stage Theatre and McCarter Theatre.

Kevin Ray

Kevin Ray (Music Director)

Kevin Ray is a composer/lyricist living in New York City. His musical, Central Avenue Breakdown received 6 awards at the 2011 New York Musical Theatre Festival, including Excellence in Music and Orchestration. It had a full production in July at the Daegu International Music Festival and a return engagement at NYMF 2012. He is currently working on a new project called Maquiladora about factory workers in the Mexican border town of Juarez. As a solo artist, Kevin has recorded seven albums and is working on his new CD Radio Silence. Kevin's music was featured in the 2010 independent film Zerophilia, and his most current releases, Speak Now (2009) Karaoketown (2004), and Radio Friendly (2002) can be found on iTunes and CDBABY. In 2006 he produced, wrote and recorded Seasoned Greetings – a CD with 12 Original Holiday Songs performed by the wait staff at Ellen's Stardust Diner. That record went onto receive critical acclaim including a MAC nomination for the song Fat Christmas.  He currently is in the studio working on three separate original recording projects. His unique style of piano-based pop-rock mixes elements of theater, jazz, and soul music. For more information on Kevin and his music, check out as well as iTunes and