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“Bayard”: A New Musical
August 8 - August 10
Bayard: A New Musical celebrates the life of Bayard Rustin, affording long overdue recognition of Bayard’s singular, powerful impact upon the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. Bayard is sponsored through the combined contributions of SCAN New York and Boys and Girls Harbor, with significant co-sponsorship support from Gay Men’s Health Crisis and Facing History and Ourselves.
SCAN, Harbor, GMHC, and Facing History recognize the critical, timely impact of removing Bayard Rustin’s personage from the shadows, into the light of his powerful presence as a gay African-American Civil Rights icon. Bayard had the courage to ‘come out’ when such transformation to visibility was considered a crime in much of America
At this moment of social justice awakening in our nation, Bayard’s emergence from invisibility is a critical step in our nation’s ‘coming out’ from the dark ages of intolerance and bigotry.
Bayard Rustin is acknowledged as one of the two or three most pivotal civil rights leaders of the 1960s. He is widely recognized as the architect of the 1963 March on Washington. However, for decades, this great leader, who was often at Dr. King’s side, has been denied his rightful place in history because he was openly gay. Even today, Bayard Rustin’s legacy remains in the shadows.
BAYARD: A New Musical will be directed by Richard Allen, book by Richard Allen, music and lyrics by Taran Gray and Richard Allen, with choreography by Chloe McMillian.
Set in 1963, at the beginning of the creation of the March for Jobs and Freedom, the musical tells the story of how this activist and civil rights leader worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and A. Philip Randolph (along with the rest of the “Big Six”) to create a march that would unite the different Civil Rights movements and fend off southern segregationists.
Rustin, who until this time had always been the “wizard behind the wall” — working in the deepest shadows of the movement — is now about to be thrust into the spotlight, a perilous place for an openly gay black man in the Sixties.
This brand new production will afford proper recognition of a singular, positive force in our struggle for social justice in America, while also recognizing and demonstrating the present day need for unity in the struggle of all oppressed people … including our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.