Written by Helen Benedict
Directed by William Electric Black

Kim Weston-Moran


This play is a foray into a new dramatic form for William Electric Black, who has hitherto been known mostly for his use of edgy pop styles in theater. Nevertheless, if you examine his resume, his "activist" playwright's soul is clear. His last Theater for the New City production was "Betty and the Belrays" (2007), a musical in which three white female singers challenged a racially divided society by singing for a black record label. He recently received funding from The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for an animated series he created to promote exercise and good nutrition for young children, "Fighters For Fitness/Fitness Fighters." He is now writing and directing two animated videos on stroke prevention with Harlem Hospital and The National Stroke Association, featuring Doug E. Fresh. Black is also an adjunct professor at NYU’s Tisch School, where among other things, he teaches techniques performance of plays based on literary works.

Since 1999, Black has penned and directed a series of "jazzicals" in which classical and modern stories were adapted with modern music. These have been produced at TNC and La MaMa. His theater projects have also been produced in Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Black is curator of the Poetry Electric reading series at La MaMa, which fuses music, movement, sound, and dance with the spoken word.

Writing as Ian Ellis James, Black has won seven Emmies as a writer for "Sesame Street." His educational TV projects have also been produced by Topstone Productions, Lancet Media, Nickelodeon, Scholastic Productions, Warner Cable, and Winchester TV & Film, London. Black composed songs for Queen Latifah, Erykah Badu, Patti Labelle, and Arrested Development when they made special guest appearances on Sesame Street. He has received several Best Play Awards, been published by Benchmark Education, The Dramatic Publishing Co., Smith & Krauss, and received a Bronze Apple for directing (National Educational Video Award). Black has had two film scripts optioned, "Slave Ball" for Silver Pictures/Warner Brothers and "Road Runner" for MCA Records, Jerome Ade, Producer. He has also written, directed, and produced two independent features.