Signature Theatre in Arlington, Va. presents the concert “We Shall Someday” June 30-July 2, followed by “Hotter Than July: Stevie Wonder,” a cabaret, from July 5-17. Between the two programs, audiences can enjoy either a civil rights-themed concert, a mini-retrospective of an American music icon and most celebrated composers/lyricists or both.
Musical collaborators Harrison David Rivers and Ted Shen have composed a timely civil rights production in “We Shall Someday.” This musical examines three generations of a Southern Black family as they trace the effects of racism, activism and legacy from the civil rights movement to the present.
“‘Someday’ has characters in a moment when they are faced with a decision to stand up, be counted, be involved, take a step for the kind of activism or to not do any of that,” Rivers said about his musical. “We are actually meeting people at the beginning of a kind of awakening.”
Directed by Kelli Foster Warder, “Someday” stars Benjamin Harold Moore, Nova Y. Payton, Emmanuel Elliot Key and Drake Leach.
After a two-year absence, Signature presents a cabaret inspired by Stevie Wonder’s 1980 platinum album “Hotter than July.” Keyboard artist/composer Mark G. Meadows and his band The Movement team up with dynamic vocalist Kanysha Williams for a trip down memory lane full of audience favorites by Wonder from the 1980 album such as “All I Do” and “Master Blaster (Jammin’). Other hits from Wonder’s catalog will be performed including “Superstition,” “Overjoyed,” “Isn’t She Lovely,” “Summer Soft,” “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and “Higher Ground.”
“It’s more than a set. Instead of us just playing tunes, we share our own stories related to the artists,” Meadows said about the cabaret. “It’s a very intimate and educational experience.”
Meadow’s “Hotter Than July” group The Movement includes vocalists Kaiyla Gross, Rochelle Rice and Solomon Parker, percussionist Dante’ Pope, guitarist DeAnte Haggerty-Willis, bassist Eliot Seppa and saxophonist Trey Sorrells.
Meadow’s music direction has been greatly influenced by the District’s rich jazz history.
“My generation would frequent jazz clubs where we would have a chance to not only play but sit in with the greats,” said Meadows, a native Washingtonian. “You only grow when you play with people better than you, especially when in your early 20s or 30s.”“We Shall Someday” begins on June 30, running until July 2. “Hotter Than July: Stevie Wonder” begins on July 5, running until July 17.
Ticket information for these two Signature Theatre performances is at https://www.sigtheatre.org