Harlem Stage is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. with free performances reflecting on his legacy and where the nation stands now.
King was fatally shot on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. The civil rights leader’s assassination sent shock waves throughout the nation and the world.
Among the artists featured in Wednesday’s special production are choreographer Kyle Marshall, who will perform a solo dance set to King’s final speech, “On the Mountaintop,” and actress Adepero Oduye, who will perform an excerpt of King’s “The Drum Major Instinct” with support from Theater of War Productions.
The performances, titled “Ascension,” go hand-in-hand with the theater’s spring season theme, #Disrupters, highlighting artists who take creative risks.
“The arts have and continue to be a steady mooring during tumultuous times,” Monique Martin, Harlem Stage programming director, said. “This season’s theme, #Disrupters, is an act of resistance against apathy and isolation, [and] speaks to our individual and collective responsibility to create the world we want to live and thrive in.”
There are two free showings of Ascension — 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. — planned for Wednesday at Harlem Stage Gatehouse on Convent Avenue, but folks interested in attending need to RSVP ahead of time.
The audience will have the opportunity to get involved at the shows as well, with an interactive activity hosted by the Studio Square. The workshops, led by artist Glendalys Medina, invite attendees to use symbols to visually mark personal and historical events on a communal timeline.
Harlem Stage has dedicated over 30 years toward bringing together the community and contemporary artists of color through the performing arts.