March 2019 – The Robey Connect

The Robey Connect – March 2019 (3rd Edition)

MISSION: The Robey Theatre Company’s mission is to foster a community of artists whose primary purpose is to write, develop and produce plays about the global Black experience.

March 2019 - The Robey ConnectDirector’s Chair: A message from Ben Guillory

It’s 2019 – 25 years of service to the Los Angeles community and the celebration has begun!

On November 18, 2018, the documentary, “The Robeson Effect” – Juney Smith’s tribute to the long friendship of co-founders Danny Glover and myself that led to the founding of the Robey Theatre Company – had a private screening at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. Along with bubbly and a sumptuous spread laid out by the Shabazz Bakery, a few hundred of our colleagues, friends, and supporters got the first glimpse of the film. It was a way to come together and have a nostalgic look with the people who have been there for Robey. It was our way of saying THANK YOU.

On February 16, 2019, “The Robeson Effect” premiered at the 27th annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival. The screening was followed by a Q & A at which the near-capacity audience lavished its appreciation. Participants included Executive Producer Glynn Turman, Producer- Writer-Director Juney Smith, and Producers/Cofounders Danny Glover and Ben Guillory.

On March 2nd, “The Robey Effect’s” East Coast Premier took place at the New York City African Diaspora International Film Festival at Columbia University’s Teachers College. The festival’s co-directors, Reinaldo Barroso and Diarah N’Daw, graciously escorted Juney, Danny, Glynn, and myself through a red carpet photo session and then on to the screening. The snow-covered ground did not keep the sizeable audience from coming to learn more about the history of The Robey Theatre Company and the friendship that spawned it. Following the screening we enjoyed another inspiring Q & A – a wonderful and fulfilling experience for all involved.

Robey’s production of Randy Ross’s play, “Birdland Blue,” is in rehearsals for its world premiere. The play opens on April 6th and runs through May 12 at The Los Angeles Theatre Center. A play with music, it promises to be a fitting opening to Robey’s 25th anniversary season with a cast of nine actors and three accomplished jazz musicians led by the playwright. What an evening it will be! Make your plans now for it will be a party you don’t want to miss.

We have so much to celebrate and be thankful for this year. I hope you’ll attend every event, including this summer’s Paul Robeson Theatre Festival.

Ben Guillory

Download the full version of this section of the March 2019 Robey Connect Newsletter here.

March 2019 - The Robey ConnectThe Robey Theatre Company Fundraising Campaign: Update – Part 3

2019 promises to be a Banner Year for The Robey Theatre Company. Support Robey and come join in the fun and festivities.

Thanks to your generous donations, we have now raised $60,000 toward our goal of $130,000 to support the Robey Theatre Company’s celebration of 25 years of excellence in Black Theatre. To this end, Robey’s 2019 season will include two stellar theatrical productions and the 2019 Robey Theatre Festival. We invite you to calendar 2019 for the fun and festivities.

Our fundraising Campaign will continue throughout 2019 and we would very much appreciate your donation to help us meet our $130,000 target. Your tax deductible contribution can be made online at: (scroll to the bottom of the page to “Donate”).

Or, you may donate by check made payable to The Robey Theatre Company and mailed to us at:

514 S. Spring Street
3rd Floor, LATC
Los Angeles, CA  90013.

Thank you for your support!

Download the full version of this section of the March 2019 Robey Connect Newsletter here.

Birdland Blue Is Coming! – Part 4

March 2019 - The Robey Connect

“Workshopping Birdland Blue” by Randy Ross

On the afternoon of Saturday, October 27, 2018, I chatted with Ben Guillory (Producing Artistic Director of the Robey Theatre Company) about the value of his workshopping Birdland Blue, a play I had developed while participating in Robey’s Playwrights Lab (coordinated by dramaturg Dylan Southard).

Randy: Ben, you’ve now organized two workshops for Birdland Blue (Saturday, August 4, 2018 and Saturday, October 20, 2018). Inviting the actors in to read the play and begin conceptualizing how the words would be acted out has helped me immensely. Much appreciation to you and the fine actors you’ve assembled. Has Robey workshopped other plays pre-production?

Ben: Yes. Bronzeville. No Place to be Somebody. The Magnificent Dunbar Hotel. We also workshopped The River Niger.


Randy: For the first workshop of Birdland Blue, the actors read the play from beginning to end. Occasionally you stopped the reading and had sidebars with the actors. What did you say to them?

Ben: Various things. In some instances, I encouraged them to charge their reading.

Read the Rest of this interview in Section Four of the March 2019 Robey Connect or read it on the pdf below.