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Free Presentation of 'Rhapsody In Black' Invites Community to Start a Conversation About Racism

February 13, 2015

February 20 Presentation Includes Post-Show Question & Answer With the Writer & Star of the Show LeLand Gantt & Director Estelle Parsons


"Rhapsody in Black"

Dates & Times:
Friday, February 20, 2015

Algonquin Arts Theatre, 173 Main Street, Manasquan, N.J.

Free of Charge � Advance Reservations Recommended
Box Office Hours: M-F 12-6 p.m. and Saturday 12-4 p.m.
Call 732-528-9211 or reserve online at

LeLand Gantt wrote and performs "Rhapsody in Black," a one-man show that explores his personalized journey to understand and eventually transcend racism.
Courtesy of LeLand Gantt

MANASQUAN, N.J. (February 13, 2015) � On Friday, February 20 at 8 p.m. Algonquin Arts Theatre hosts a free of charge performance of LeLand Gantt's "Rhapsody in Black," a one-man show created to start a conversation about racism in America.

The 90-minute performance, which recently won Gantt the Best Storyteller award at New York City's United Solo Festival, explores Gantt's personal journey to understand and eventually transcend racism in America.

"Rhapsody in Black aspires to cut down a few trees, to clear up a few things, to illuminate the dark corners where fact and fiction meet fear and ignorance," said Gantt. "I'm just trying to start a conversation."

The show was developed at the Actors Studio with Academy Award-winner Estelle Parsons ("Bonnie & Clyde"). Parsons won a Solo Festival award for Best Direction for her work on "Rhapsody."

"This piece is so original because people don't talk about these things," said Parsons. "I think it's wonderful to have somebody get up and in their own words say, �Here's what I went through, here's the effect all these things had on me.'"

After the performance, Gantt and Parsons, will participate in a question and answer with the audience.

Multiple elements combine to give "Rhapsody" its super-powered emotional punch, many of them concentrated in the incredible persona of its star.

The audience follows Gantt's spellbinding life story, from an underprivileged childhood in the ghettos of McKeesport, Pa, to teenage experiments with crime and drugs to scholastic achievement and an acting career that land Gantt in situations where he is virtually the only African-American in the room.

How he manages to cope with the various psychological effects of consistently being marked "The Other" is recounted in remarkable and exquisitely moving detail, guaranteed to leave lasting impressions.

Tickets are required free of charge for performance at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 20, and can be reserved online at or by calling 732-528-9211. Tickets for a morning Education Series performance at 10 a.m. are available for $12 from the Box Office by calling 732-528-9211.

About Algonquin Arts Theatre

Algonquin Arts Theatre (AAT) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1992 with the mission to provide cultural enhancement and arts education to all audiences at the Jersey Shore through high-quality performances and programs in theatre, music, film and dance. The end goal is to foster appreciation of the arts and promote lifelong learning, particularly among underserved audiences including the economically disadvantaged, senior citizens and individuals with disabilities.

Algonquin Arts Theatre's programs are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts / Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; by funds from the Paul F. Zito, M.D. Educational Foundation, by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, by Simon Kaufman, Esq. & Maria Zito-Kaufman, and by Manasquan Savings Bank.