Theatre News

New soul and funk musical Chisholm for President! to mount staged concerts

The piece tells the story of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to be elected to Congress in the United States

Artwork for Chisholm for President!
Artwork for Chisholm for President!, provided by the production

Leeds Studio has announced two upcoming staged concert performances of new soul and funk musical Chisolm for President! this April.

Featuring a score by Testament (Black Men Walking) and a book by Zodwa Nyoni (Darkest Part of The Night), the piece tells the story of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to be elected to Congress in 1968 and to run for the nomination of the President of the United States in 1972.

The concerts will be helmed by Leeds Studio’s artistic director Alex Chisholm, who recently founded the Bradford Opera Festival, with Michael Lovelock providing musical direction.

Testament commented: “This is one of the most joyful shows I’ve ever worked on. Musically I wanted the sound and orchestration to be as authentic to the era as possible, like you are listening to a record live from 1968! The workshop sharings have left people dancing in the aisles!”

“Getting to work alongside Alex Chisholm and Testament on this project has been one of the most creatively and spiritually fruitful experiences. Shirley Chisholm left a great legacy as a Black woman in life and politics. Against the odds and doubters, she remained true to herself and her ethics. Her message stands the test of time.”

The cast will include Rachel Modest (The Voice 2023 semi-finalist), Ryan David Harston, Dermot Daly, Lladel Bryant, Grant Anthony, Milly Blue (Basement Jaxx), and Justina Aina.

Chisholm for President! will be performed at Slung Low’s The Warehouse in Leeds on Friday, 12 April at 7:30pm and on Saturday, 13 April at 7:45pm in the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.

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