Co-Op Students Stage Yale Musical

by David Brensilver | Dec 21, 2011 12:14 pm

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Yale University PhotoIn a “longstanding partnership” that is “grounded in the belief that a community of artists and work of quality are formed through shared experience and mutual high standards,” students from New Haven’s Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School are set to perform an original musical by Yale University graduate students, according to a university news release.

Wednesday and Thursday, the high-school and university students will stage four performances of Broken Chains: A Gospel Hip-Hopera, a work—with a libretto by Renaissance scholar Patrick Gray and music by percussionist and composer Andy Akiho—that was described in the news release as “a hip-hop rendition of the life of St. Peter.”

The release indicates that “the high school performers and back-stage workers are enrolled in Co-Op After School ... a program ... supported by New Haven Public Schools, the Connecticut Department of Education, Yale University, Co-Op Center for Creativity, and Dwight Hall, the umbrella organization for community efforts of Yale undergraduates. Co-op After School provided the 20 custom-made steel pans used in the show. ... Co-Op After School commissioned a steel pan master in Trinidad to make the instruments for the high school’s brand-new steel band, which supplies most of the musical accompaniment for the gospel hip-hopera.”

Branden Wilson, a junior at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School who’s cast in Broken Chains as the Self-Righteous Son, was quoted in the news release as saying: “The most exciting thing has been combining all of the different genres of music from gospel to hip-hop to old time traditional American music.”

Paris McGee, a sophomore at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School who dances in the production, was quoted as saying: “This musical has allowed me to explore my skills as a dancer. … It’s joyful and something I don’t do every day. … It’s live, fresh and you can feel the story in your body.”

Performances of Broken Chains: A Gospel Hip-Hopera are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, December 21 and December 22, at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School. Tickets ($5-$10) are available through the Shubert Theater.

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posted by: SLP on December 24, 2011  1:38pm

This was a fabulous production that impressed our whole family! Thanks and congratulations to all the students and adults involved in creating this musical and bringing it to the Coop High School stage. One of the many good things happening in the NHPS these days.

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