Thousands of students in Milwaukee to attend theatrical performance of 'Harlem Renaissance' during Black History Month

NOW: Thousands of students in Milwaukee to attend theatrical performance of ’Harlem Renaissance’ during Black History Month


58) -- This month, thousands of youths across Milwaukee will attend "Harlem Renaissance," an original play put on by Black Arts MKE. 

The Harlem Renaissance was an era in American history filled with African American arts and culture. 

It was the beginning of popularity for swing dance and jazz music, and it brought about artists that are still well known today. 

Now the play "Harlem Renaissance" is written and directed by Malaina Moore, a local artist. 

"She took four different icons from the Harlem Renaissance and really focused in on their life and their different accomplishments," said Ashley Jordan, the program director for Black Arts MKE. "But also, their hardships because that is a reality that we all can relate to." 

It features familiar names like Langston Hughes, Jacob Lawrence, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ella Fitzgerald. While those artists all made their mark on arts and history, Black Arts MKE wants the play to inspire the next generation of Black children. 

"It's really important for them to understand representation and how close they are in age... and being able to relate to them," said Jordan. "They always ask, 'where do you live?' and that is a proud moment." 

Dos Fuertado plays poet Langston Hughes.

"He wrote to make America feel what Black people were going through at the time. Make them feel the excellence, the Black excellence but also the terror of the south that was going on. It's just a very good moment," said Fuertado. 

After the show, the performers answer questions for the students. And it's one of Fuertado's favorite parts. 

"Kids don't lie. They're very honest, so when you get a response that they enjoyed it or that they're inspired by it, it makes me happy," he said. 

Throughout Black History Month, 3,000 students will see Harlem Renaissance at the Marcus Theater for Performing Arts.

The cast and crew will rehearse five days a week through February, and they'll have nine performances. 

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