Production Quick Links: About the Production | Amplifying Action | Related Events | About the Team | Photos and Lobby Experience | Press
The Boy Who Kissed The Sky
by Idris Goodwin
music by Divinity Roxx and Eugene H. Russell IV
directed by Summer L. Williams
music direction by David Freeman Coleman
dramaturgy by afrikah selah
in partnership with the
City of Boston’s Office of Arts and Culture
Jul 14 - Aug 12, 2023
The Strand Theatre (543 Columbia Road, Dorchester)
All tickets are Pay-What-You-Want, with $0 minimum!
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
With just a broom, a pencil, and a dream for a better life, a budding guitarist — unsure of his place in the cosmos — invokes the past, present & future of rhythm ‘n’ blues as his guide. Rocking and rolling with the hippest ancestral spirit, our young hero must set aside his fears and dig deep to discover his own voice.
This summer, Idris Goodwin returns to Company One with The Boy Who Kissed The Sky, a groovy ride through space, time, and imagination for dreamers of all ages. Inspired by the early life of Jimi Hendrix, this intergenerational journey is a celebration of reaching for the stars, finding community, and embracing the creative legacy that lives inside us all.
In order to keep our artists and audiences safe, everyone is required to wear a well-fitted mask that fully covers their nose and mouth at all times during this production. We strongly recommend wearing an N95, KN95, or KF94 mask, or double-masking. The only exception to this requirement is for performers while performing.
Protocols are subject to change.
Company One Theatre is producing
The Boy Who Kissed The Sky to AMPLIFY:
Public Art for Public Good in Upham’s Corner.
powerful reverberations of community care, where neighbors show up for one another in the face of adversity.
visionary artists, activists, and musicians, whose work heals us, propels us, and helps us imagine ourselves into a better future.
nurturing intergenerational spaces, supported by partner organizations across Boston, who empower our young people to achieve their dreams and become impactful changemakers.
communal joy, creativity, and relentless optimism as essential tools for social justice.
RESOURCES & ACTION STEPS
Check back in for more info in the weeks to come!
ABOUT THE TEAM
Errol Service Jr.
PLAYWRIGHT AND PRODUCTION TEAM
Idris Goodwin, Playwright
Divinity Roxx, Composer
Eugene H. Russell IV, Composer
Summer L. Williams, Director
David Freeman Coleman, Music Director
Victoria Lynn Awkward, Choreographer
afrikah selah, Dramaturg
Ilana M. Brownstein, Director of New Work
Josh Glenn-Kayden, Artistic Producer & Casting Director
Ben Lieberson, Technical Director
E. Rosser, Wardrobe Supervisor
Danielle DeLaFuente, Scenic Designer
Christopher Brusberg, Lighting Designer
Danielle Dominique Sumi, Costume Designer
Rasean Davonté Johnson, Projections Designer
Nok Kanchanabanca^, Sound Designer
Errol Service Jr. is thrilled to rock his Company One debut with the cast and crew of The Boy Who Kissed The Sky! Hailing from Detroit, MI, EJ is on his way towards his senior year in Boston Conservatory’s BFA Musical Theater Program. His recent credits include Mark in RENT (Umbrella Stage Company), Britney Spears in We Will Rock You: The Queen Musical (Timber Lake Playhouse), and the Youth in Passing Strange (Moonbox Productions). EJ wants to shout out his closest friends and family for helping him become the artist he is today. He is also very thankful for being offered this incredible opportunity. “It’s Game Time!”Martinez Napoleon he/him
Martinez Napoleon is a Boston native making his Company One Theatre debut! He was recently seen as the Tinman in The Wiz (New Bedford Festival Theatre), Christmas Where Are You? (Hallmark Films), I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Sony Pictures), as well regional and national commercial and print credits. Martinez is grateful to God for the gift of music that flows through his veins, and thankful for the support of his amazing family throughout this shows creative process! Follow Martinez on Instagram @MartinezNapoleonMcNeilIdris Goodwin he/him
Idris Goodwin is an award-winning storyteller for multiple generations. An accomplished playwright, breakbeat poet, content creator, and arts champion, Goodwin is recognized as a culture bearer who celebrates community values and cultivates histories with care. Idris is the author of over 60 original plays ranging from his Hip Hop inspired breakbeat series to historical dramas to works for young audiences. Titles such as And In This Corner: Cassius Clay, How We Got On, Hype Man: A Break Beat Play, This is Modern Art (co-written with Kevin Coval) and the ground breaking Free Play: open source scripts for an antiracist tomorrow, are widely produced across the country by a diverse mix of professional and academic venues. Driven by a passion for cultural impact and civic engagement, Idris also serves as Artistic Director of Seattle Children’s Theatre. Prior to this he was Executive Director of The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, where he also taught as a professor in The Department of Theater and Dance. Previous to this Idris led StageOne Family Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky as Producing Artistic Director. Idris is Board President of Theater For Young Audiences/USA and also serves on the board at Children’s Theater Foundation Association. In addition to Idris’s work in theater he’s created original content for and/or appeared on Nickelodeon, HBO Def Poetry, Sesame Street, NPR, BBC Radio, and the Discovery Channel. Your House is Not Just A House, his first picture book, will be published by Harper Collins in 2024.Divinity Roxx
Divinity Roxx is a Grammy-nominated American recording artist, composer, and musician, with four solo albums (Ain’t No Other Way, 2003, The Roxx Boxx Experience, 2012, ImPossible, 2016, Ready Set Go!, 2021). In addition to her own work, she is well known for touring and performing with Beyoncé Knowles (2006–2011) as her bassist and Musical Director. Her career as a bass-player skyrocketed after attending a bass camp led by the legendary five time Grammy award winning bass virtuoso Victor Wooten where she was invited to join him on tour. Divinity has appeared on countless television shows including The Grammys, SNL, Good Morning America, The World Music Awards and more, with personal highlights including a special performance at The White House and an appearance on the hit TV show “Soul Man.” Her 2021 Family Music Album release, Ready Set Go! received critical acclaim and Scholastic Inc. published two songs from the album as full-color picture books. Her original compositions can be heard on television shows like “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta,” “Black Monday,” “The Bold Type,” and others. Divinity is currently performing around the world, teaching master classes and writing multiple projects including a new family music album, a solo stage play, and a series of children’s books with accompanying music.Eugene H. Russell IV
Eugene IV, born and raised in southwest Atlanta, is a multi-talented vocalist, musician, songwriter, and award-winning actor. It was in elementary school that he discovered his passion for music and hasn’t looked back. From these humble beginnings, he’s gone on to share stages with artists such as Grammy Winners Ann Nesby and India.Arie as well as jazz legend Earl Klugh and the France-based duo Les Nubians. While he’s made his rounds as a saxophonist for innumerable studio sessions with recording artists such as Anthony David, Algebra Blessett, and Khari Cabral.
Both a vocalist and saxophonist, he’s a longstanding member of the funk/soul band Gurufish, opening for the likes of George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Boyz II Men, KC & the Sunshine Brand, Brand New Heavies, and Mother’s Finest. As sonically reflected throughout his debut solo project Starving Artist and numerous subsequent solo releases, Eugene IV has an equal affinity for soul, gospel, jazz, and hip-hop. “My musical inspirations run the gamut from Public Enemy and De La Soul to Earth, Wind & Fire, Walter Hawkins, and Wayne Shorter,” says Eugene IV.
Eugene IV has become a go-to composer for regional theatres looking to produce new works that extend beyond the “traditional” musical theatre sound. He co-composed the music for The Boy Who Kissed the Sky, a world premiere play based on the childhood of Jimi Hendrix and co-produced by Seattle Children’s Theatre and the Tony Award winning Alliance Theatre. He also composed the music for the Alliance’s Beautiful Blackbird and acclaimed animated short films, Sit-In & The Curious Cardinal. Eugene IV, a recipient of St. Louis Black Rep’s prestigious Woodie Award, is an accomplished stage actor with a number of voiceover and screen credits to his name that include Disney’s Secrets of Sulphur Springs, MacGyver, and countless commercials.Summer L. Williams she/her
Summer L. Williams is an award-winning director and Co-Founder/Associate Artistic Director of Company One Theatre in Boston. Her most recent directing credits include Jump by Charly Evon Simpson at Everyman Theatre in Baltimore, MD, can i touch it?, a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere by Francisca Da Silvera at Company One Theatre, sandblasted by Charly Evon Simpson with Vineyard Theatre and WP Theater, Off-Broadway.
Local/Regional credits: The Arboretum Experience at American Repertory Theater (A.R.T), Daddy Issues at Salt Lake City Acting Company New Play Sounding Series, the Digital World Premiere of Downtown Crossing at Company One Theatre, Wolf Play at Company One Theatre, School Girls, or The African Mean Girls Play at SpeakEasy Stage Company, Miss You Like Hell with Company One Theatre and OBERON at American Repertory Theater, the World Premiere of Leftovers at Company One Theatre, Wig Out! with Company One and OBERON at A.R.T.; Smart People at Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca, NY and Geva Theater in Rochester, NY; Barbecue at Lyric Stage Company of Boston—Winner of the 2018 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director; Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. at Company One Theatre; Bootycandy at SpeakEasy Stage Company; An Octoroon and Colossal with Company One Theatre—Winner of the 2016 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director for both productions. Intimate Apparel at Lyric Stage Company of Boston; Shiv as a part of The Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy; Shelter of Last Resort by Miranda Craigwell as a part of XX PlayLab 2014; the New England Premiere of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud To Present A Presentation About The Herero Of Namibia, Formerly Known As Southwest Africa From The German Sudwestafrika Between The Years 1884-1915; Idris Goodwin’s How We Got On; Lynn Nottage’s By The Way, Meet Vera Stark at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston; The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or The Secret Of Sweet as part of The Brother/Sister Plays (2012 Elliot Norton Award nominated for Outstanding Production and winner of the 2012 IRNE Award for Best Play); Neighbors, Grimm; The Good Negro; Voyeurs De Venus (Winner of 2009 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director); The Bluest Eye (IRNE and Elliot Norton Award nominated); The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot; Spell #7 (IRNE nominated); Jesus Hopped The A Train (2004 Elliot Norton Award for Best Fringe Production); and Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (IRNE nominated).Victoria Lynn Awkward she/her
Recently awarded 1 of 15 Artists of Color making an impact in Boston by WBUR, Victoria is the Director of VLA DANCE. She aims to celebrate the talents and artistries of Boston through contemporary dance. Originally from Massachusetts Victoria L. Awkward trained at Impulse Dance Center by LuAnn Pagella and worked with Boston-based artists such as Karen Krolak. She graduated from Goucher College with honors in Dance, Visual Art and Education. Victoria is also a freelance artist, who most recently choreographed Bluebeard’s Castle with Boston Lyric Opera in addition to Romeo and Juliet with Boston Lyric Opera & Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. She has performed with Shura Baryshnikov, Levi Marsman, Ashani Dances, Attn: Dance, The Davis Sisters, Heather Stewart, Jenna Pollack and Ruckus Dance. An educator, she has been a guest teacher at Urbanity Dance, Salem State University, the Head Dance Coach at Middlesex School in Concord and the Visual Arts Coordinator at the West End House. She continually deepens her teaching practices through her work as a mentee with Cambridge-based Midday Movement Series.afrikah selah they/them
afrikah selah is the 2022-23 NNPN New Work Producer in Residence at Company One Theatre, and a Boston-based cultural worker with a focus on producorial dramaturgy, new play development, and arts writing. Outside of producing, collaborating, and supporting new work in development, they are a freelance writer who has written for the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.), New England Theatre Geek, The Public Theater, and 3Views on Theater. As a cultural worker, their mission is to create intentional work that activates and bridges community action and dialogue at the intersections of identity, time and space, social change, and healing-centered engagement for artists and audiences. You can learn more about their work at itsafrikah.com.Ilana M. Brownstein she/her
Ilana M. Brownstein is the Director of New Work at C1, and a parent-artist specializing in new plays, social justice, and public advocacy. She is the Founding Dramaturg at Playwrights’ Commons. Previously, she created the Playwriting Fellows program and Breaking Ground Festival at The Huntington; led the dramatic literature and dramaturgy curriculum at Boston University for 10 years; and has served as a freelance dramaturg for new play festivals, including The O’Neill, New Harmony, and the Kennedy Center among others. Dramaturgy with C1 includes works by Kirsten Greenidge, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Young Jean Lee, Aditi Kapil, Natsu Onoda Power, Lauren Yee, Mia Chung, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Josh Wilder, Kristoffer Diaz, A. Rey Pamatmat, Qui Nguyen, and Idris Goodwin. She is the senior dramaturg for the C1 PlayLab program, which has provided script and professional development to 60+ playwrights over 11 seasons. She is a member of the 2019 NAS Creative Community Fellows Cohort, artEquity’s 2017 anti-racism facilitator cohort, and holds an MFA in Dramaturgy from Yale. Ilana has been a Kilroys nominator, served on the National Advisory Board for HowlRound, and is a two-time winner of the LMDA Elliott Hayes Award for excellence in dramaturgy. imbturgy.wordpress.comJosh Glenn-Kayden he/him
Josh Glenn-Kayden is a Boston based director and the Artistic Producer and Casting Director at Company One Theatre. Josh’s work centers around new plays that help us dream our culture forward and imagine ways to create a more just world together.
Josh is currently directing and developing Break, Break by Erin Lerch through a Live Arts Boston grant. Past directing projects include Muse by Sarah Wendy Burman (Wellesley College), Shrike by Erin Lerch (Fresh Ink Theatre), Wild Flowers by Tatiana Isabel Gil (Company One Better Future series), Visionary Futures: Science Fiction Theatre for Social Justice Movements (consisting of new plays by Phaedra Michelle Scott, M Sloth Levine, and Jaymes Sanchez) at UMass Amherst, Baltimore by Kirsten Greenidge (UMass Amherst), workshops of Walden by Amy Berryman and The Interrobangers by M Sloth Levine (UMass Play Lab), Greater Good by Kirsten Greenidge (A.R.T. & Company One, associate director), the world premiere of This Place/Displaced (Artists’ Theater of Boston, ArtsFuse Best Stage Productions of 2018), and Don’t Give Up the Ship by Laura Neill (Fresh Ink Theatre). Josh is also the director and co-producer of The Legion Tapes, a sci-fi podcast written by Erin Lerch.
Josh holds a BA in Drama from Tufts University and an MFA in Directing from UMass Amherst. www.joshglennkayden.comBen Lieberson he/him
Ben Lieberson is a Boston-based freelance technical director and set designer. As a Technical Director, he has recently worked with Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Arlekin Players Theatre, Liars and Believers, Central Square Theater, and Clerestory Light, a producer of outdoor immersive experiences. Design credits include Shrike (Fresh Ink Theatre), Not Medea (Flat Earth Theatre), This Place/Displaced and Drunk Enough to Say I Love You (Artists’ Theater of Boston), True West and The Taming (Hub Theatre Co.) Crossing Flight (TC Squared Theatre Company) and Really (Company One). Ben is also a company member of Artists’ Theater of Boston and Scene Shop Supervisor for Wellesley College’s Theater Studies program.E. Rosser she/her
E. Rosser moonlights as a backstage wizard and freelance designer in the Boston theater scene with various local groups, including Moonbox Productions, the A.R.T., and the Greater Boston Stage Company. Among her favorite creations are 8-foot-tall giraffe puppets, hospital gowns (think “evening,” not “surgical”), rococo zombies, drag queen quickchanges, warrior bunnies, and retro prom kings who may secretly be fish. She’d like to dedicate this summer of theatre to Jaie Deschene, a visionary director, wonderful friend, and light of the theater gone too soon. See more of Rosser’s work online at machinationsbyrosser.weebly.com!Christopher Brusberg he/him
Christopher Brusberg is a lighting designer who focuses on storytelling through the use of style and collaboration. Christopher works in theatre, opera, dance, and live events, and is based in New York City & Boston. Christopher has worked on over 150 productions with the following companies over the past 12 years as a freelance lighting designer: Manhattan School of Music, EMERGE125 Dance Company (NYC), Tri-Cities Opera, Syracuse Opera, BandPortier (NYC), Dance Place (DC), Cherry Arts (Ithaca, NY), Annapolis Opera, Lawson Dance Theater (Chicago), Imagination Stage (DC), Wolftrap Opera/NOI (DC), New Rep Theatre (Boston), Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Actors’ Shakespeare Project (Boston), Company One (Boston), Boston Opera Collaborative, Guerilla Opera (Boston), Gotham Early Music Scene (NYC), Montclair State University (NJ), Northeastern University, and Vassar College. Christopher holds an MFA from the University of Maryland, where he studied under Brian MacDevitt. For upcoming design work check out: Website: ctblighting.com, Instagram: @ctblightingDanielle Dominique Sumi she/her
Danielle Domingue Sumi is a visual artist inspired by culture, spirituality, and humility. She is committed to promoting emotional and social well-being. Danielle’s creativity is explicated through diversity and social justice principles with recognition, exploration, and reflection upon multiethnic heritage. A graduate of Clark Atlanta University, FIDMLA and Loyola Marymount University; with degrees in both design and art psychotherapy, Danielle is treasured for ingenuity and leadership skills in theatrical, fashion, dance, and opera costume production. Danielle has created with Theatre Forty, Los Angeles Opera, Music Academy of the West, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Perm Opera and Ballet, Los Angeles Master Chorale, East West Players, JACCC, Halau Hula Moani’a’ala Anuhea, New Orleans Opera, and Company One Theatre. Danielle’s costume design was last seen at New Orleans Opera’s productions of The Barber of Seville and Charlie Parker’s Yardbird. www.danielledominguesumi.comRasean Davonté Johnson he/him
Rasean Davonté Johnson is delighted to be working with Company One. He has worked locally with Huntington Theatre, and ArtsEmerson. His regional work includes projects with Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, South Chicago Dance Company, Chicago Opera Theatre, Toledo Opera, Cleveland Playhouse, Indiana Rep, The Public Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage, McCarter Theatre Center, Long Wharf Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland Opera, Manual Cinema, and internationally with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland), B-Floor Theatre (Thailand), and the Ningbo Song and Dance Company (China). Additionally his installation work has been seen at the Yale Art Gallery, The Bay Street Theatre, The Bridgeport Film Festival, the Logan Center for the Arts, and the Columbus International Film Festival. BA The Ohio State University, MFA Yale School of Drama. raseandavontejohnson.com.Nok Kanchanabanca^ she/her
Pornchanok (Nok) Kanchanabanca is a Thai artist, sound designer, musician, and composer. Recent productions include Describe The Night, The Seagull, Choir Boy, The Bald Sisters (Steppenwolf), Gem of the Ocean (The Goodman), Common Ground Revisited (Huntington Theatre Company), and The Wolves, Skylight (McCarter Theater). Nok has worked with theatre companies across the United States, including Lincoln Center, Rattlestick, Actors Theatre, Hartford Stage, Everyman Theatre, Montana Shakespeare, OSF, Actors Theatre, St. Louis Rep, and Milwaukee Repertory Theater, among many others. She has collaborated with performing groups and theatre companies in Thailand, since 2008. Nok graduated from the Yale School of Drama and is a member of the Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Associate (TSDCA) and a member of USA Local 829. www.wishnok-music.com
^ Member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829
PRESS & BUZZ
May 19, 2023: The Boston Globe, “10 standout shows for theatergoers this summer”
“An aspiring musician, called The Boy and played by Errol Service Jr., goes on a journey through time and space with the spirit of a bandleader named J Sonic (Martinez Napoleon).”