Jazz in the Park tonight – Tawanna Campbell

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Jazz in the Park is a free happy hour style event featuring different Jazz musicians weekly from 6pm-8pm in the History Pavilion in Riverfront Park. Family and Pet Friendly.  It is offered each Wednesday in April and September.

Tonight features Tawanna Campbell.

For years Tawanna Campbell has been a beacon, leading the way for Arkansas’ burgeoning Soul musical scene. An all-encompassing performer, Tawanna possesses a heavenly sound, amazing stage presence and a style all her own.

Sparking comparisons to everyone from Patti LaBelle to Alicia Keys to the queen of soul herself Aretha Franklin Tawanna does not allow herself or her music to be pigeonholed. Her musical acumen is eclectic and dynamic. her range of performances run the musical spectrum. She’s performed at Easter Sunrise services, Jazz festivals and classical concerts. She’s even provided the musical backdrop for another Arkansas gem, Academy Award winner and Newport native Mary Steenburgen.

Tawanna’s soothing, smooth and moving tones have long served as the Natural State’s voice. She is a talented and beautiful star who continues to light the way not only for Arkansas’ grown & sexy sect but for music lovers around the world.

No Coolers Please. Lawn Chairs Welcome. (Rain Location is East Pavilion at River Market)

Pulitzers Play Little Rock: Lawrence Hamilton in THE PIANO LESSON at Arkansas Rep

LawrenceHamiltonAugust Wilson received his second Pulitzer for The Piano Lesson in 1990.   It was thirteen years later, that play would take the stage of Arkansas Rep in January 2003  And while he was not the lead, local favorite Lawrence Hamilton shone in the play.

Hamilton played Wining Boy, a musician and gambler who was smooth at hiding his secrets. (This being an August Wilson play, almost every character had secrets.)  Others in the cast were J. Bernard Calloway and Trish McCall as the brother and sister at the center of the play who were struggling about the future of a family heirloom.  Kevin E. Jones, Veronika G. Macon, Ron Scott, Dennis Bivings, and Marsha Murdock rounded out the cast.

The production was directed by Gilbert McCauley.  The design team included Mike Nichols (set), Yslan Hicks (costumes), Matthew Richards (lighting) and M. Jason Pruzin (sound).

Hamilton would revisit the role of Wining Boy in a production at Cape Fear Regional Theatre just a few weeks before his 2014 death.

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the first Pulitzer Prize for Drama being given. To pay tribute to 100 years of the Pulitzer for Drama, each day this month a different Little Rock production of a Pulitzer Prize winning play will be highlighted.  Many of these titles have been produced numerous times.  This look will veer from high school to national tours in an attempt to give a glimpse into Little Rock’s breadth and depth of theatrical history.

Little Rock Look Back: President Clinton performs with Arkansas Symphony

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton addresses the audience after reciting Martin Luther King’s famous speech, ‘I Have A Dream’, to the music of Alexander L. Miller at Robinson Auditorium March 25, 2003 in Little Rock. (Photo by Karen E. Segrave/Getty Images)

On March 25, 2003, former President Bill Clinton took the stage of Robinson Center Music Hall to perform with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Entitled “Let Freedom Ring – A Patriotic Celebration,” the evening was a joint fundraiser for the Symphony and the Clinton Foundation.

Before a packed house, Clinton narrated Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait which weaves excerpts from Lincoln speeches with Copland’s own unique classical take on American heartland music.  Clinton also narrated Let Freedom Ring, a symphonic setting by Alexander Miller of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

The evening also consisted of Broadway veteran and Little Rock favorite Lawrence Hamilton singing “Wheels of a Dream” from the musical Ragtime.  On Broadway and on national tour, Hamilton had previously sung the song.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra also performed An American in Paris by George Gershwin and “Jupiter” from The Planets by Gustav Holst.  This final selection was a tribute to the seven astronauts who had died in the crash of the space shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003.

David Itkin, who was then the musical director of the ASO, conducted the concert.

Tawanna Campbell in performance at South on Main tonight at 10pm

som tawannaSouth on Main is thrilled to welcome Tawanna Campbell for her first show on their stage! The magic happens tonight, December 18.  Doors open at 4:00 PM, show begins at 10:00 PM. Wristbands can be purchased for $15 after doors open. Call ahead to reserve a table (501) 244-9660.

For years Tawanna Campbell has been a beacon, leading the way for Arkansas’ burgeoning Soul musical scene. An all-encompassing performer, Tawanna possesses a heavenly sound, amazing stage presence and a style all her own.

Sparking comparisons to everyone from Patti LaBelle to Alicia Keys to the queen of soul herself Aretha Franklin Tawanna does not allow herself or her music to be pigeonholed. Her musical acumen is eclectic and dynamic. her range of performances run the musical spectrum. She’s performed at Easter Sunrise services, Jazz festivals and classical concerts. She’s even provided the musical backdrop for another Arkansas gem, Academy Award winner and Newport native Mary Steenburgen. A little known fact is that in addition to being an award-winning actress Steenburgen is also a songwriter and she has, for years collaborated with Tawanna on several songs for Universal Records.

Tawanna’s unique musical gifts know no bounds. A devoted protege’ of musical luminary and veteran Broadway performer the late Lawrence Hamilton, Tawanna never fails to impress. Whether performing soul stirring, down home gospel classics, legendary soul hits or contemporary R&B Tawanna gives her absolute all to guarantee an outstanding performance every time out.

Tawanna’s soothing, smooth and moving tones have long served as the Natural State’s voice. She is a talented and beautiful star who continues to light the way not only for Arkansas’ grown & sexy sect but for music lovers around the world.

Little Rock Look Back: President Clinton performs with Arkansas Symphony

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton addresses the audience after reciting Martin Luther King's famous speech, 'I Have A Dream', to the music of Alexander L. Miller at Robinson Auditorium March 25, 2003 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Clinton was the honored guest for a performance by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra to benefit the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Foundation. (Photo by Karen E. Segrave/Getty Images)

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton addresses the audience after reciting Martin Luther King’s famous speech, ‘I Have A Dream’, to the music of Alexander L. Miller at Robinson Auditorium March 25, 2003 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Clinton was the honored guest for a performance by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra to benefit the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Foundation. (Photo by Karen E. Segrave/Getty Images)

On March 25, 2003, former President Bill Clinton took the stage of Robinson Center Music Hall to perform with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Entitled “Let Freedom Ring – A Patriotic Celebration,” the evening was a joint fundraiser for the Symphony and the Clinton Foundation.

Before a packed house of over 1700, Clinton narrated Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait which weaves excerpts from Lincoln speeches with Copland’s own unique classical take on American heartland music.  Clinton also narrated Let Freedom Ring, a symphonic setting by Alexander Miller of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

The evening also consisted of Broadway veteran and Little Rock favorite Lawrence Hamilton singing “Wheels of a Dream” from the musical Ragtime.  On Broadway and on national tour, Hamilton had previously sung the song.  The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra also performed An American in Paris by George Gershwin and “Jupiter” from The Planets by Gustav Holst.  This final selection was a tribute to the seven astronauts who had died in the crash of the space shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003.

David Itkin, who was then the musical director of the ASO, conducted the concert.

 

Black History Month Spotlight – Lawrence Hamilton

LawrenceHamiltonLawrence Hamilton, the son of the Dr. Oscar and Mae Dell Hamilton, was born in the small southwest Arkansas town of Foreman With an interest in music stemming from childhood, Hamilton earned a music scholarship to attend Henderson State University in Arkadelphia where he studied piano and voice He graduated in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in music education.

From Arkansas, Hamilton traveled to Florida to work as a performer at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida where he would meet talent manager, Tommy Molinaro. This fateful meeting would prove to be a life-changing encounter, as Molinaro would invite Hamilton to come to New York to audition for the famed actor/director Geoffrey Holder. This marked the beginning of Hamilton’s bold and creative career in the performing arts, leading to performances on Broadway and on tours in Sophisticated Ladies, The Wiz, Uptown – Its Hot, Porgy and Bess, Big River, Play On!, and Jelly’s Last Jam among others. Perhaps his crowning achievement was starring in Ragtime.

Hamilton has been a member of the Southern Ballet Theater, Brooklyn Dance Theater, Ballet Tap USA, and the Arkansas Opera Theater He has performed in concert with the legendary Lena Horne at the White House for President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan, and at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II. Hamilton’s career also led to a stint as musical director for the renowned opera legend Jessye Norman, as well as vocal coach/arranger for the pop group New Kids on the Block

Upon his return to Arkansas, Hamilton served for several years as director of choral music at Philander Smith College. He also appeared in several plays at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.  In addition, he performed at countless concerts, benefits and galas throughout Arkansas.  In 2003, he was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.  In 2008, he was appointed to the Little Rock Mayor’s Task Force on Tourism.

Hamilton died in New York in April 2014 due to complications from surgery.  Just weeks prior to the surgery, he had appeared in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson in Cape Fear, North Carolina.  He had also starred in that play at Arkansas Rep a few years earlier.

For more on Lawrence Hamilton and other inductees into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, visit the permanent exhibit at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. That museum is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.