Shenandoah Conservatory presents revered blues and soul singer Martha Redbone in a concert version of “Bone Hill,” a new musical theatre work-in-progress inspired by her multicultural upbringing in the Appalachian Mountains. Presented as a dramatic musical work featuring a cast of eight actors/musicians, “Bone Hill: The Concert” is an epic story of one woman’s return to her homeland in the coal mines of Kentucky, where her family has dwelled for centuries. The performance, which is part of Shenandoah University’s Women’s History Month celebration, takes place at 8 p.m on Thursday, March 21, in Armstrong Concert Hall on the university’s main campus.
Originally commissioned by Joe’s Pub and the Public Theatre as part of the New York Voices project, “Bone Hill” powerfully explores our nation’s history through the lives and tales of four generations of women in a Cherokee family. What unfolds is the story of one family’s connection to the land—the simplicity and sacredness of that connection and the ruptures that threaten to extinguish it. Written and performed by the multi-award-winning Redbone, the performance powerfully blends the folk and country sounds of the Appalachian Mountains with the gospel music traditions of Redbone’s African-American father, and the Cherokee/Choctaw spirit of her mother. Along the way, this dramatic musical reveals a thought-provoking, uniquely American story that has yet to be told by history.
During her visit to Winchester, Redbone is presenting two workshops for the campus and community. At 10 a.m. on Friday, March 22, she presents an interactive traditional Cherokee and Choctaw music workshop in Goodson Chapel – Recital Hall, on the university’s main campus. The workshop is free and open to the public. Also, on Friday, March 22, Redbone and her creative partner, instrumental/composer Aaron Whitby are presenting a songwriting workshop for Shenandoah University students exploring songwriting tools and techniques, and how the artists have collaborated to create a diverse range of works.
Tickets for Martha Redbone’s “Bone Hill: The Concert” are $28 for general admission, $26 for senior citizens and $12 for military, students and youth. Tickets and information are available at the Shenandoah Conservatory Box Office at 540/665-4569, located in the lobby of Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre and online at conservatoryperforms.org.
“Bone Hill: The Concert” is commissioned by Joe’s Pub and The Public Theater as part of the New York Voices artists’ initiative and co-commissioned by the Lincoln Center David Rubenstein Atrium. “Bone Hill” is the recipient of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) National Theater Project, a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation and Touring grant and Redbone is a 2015 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellow. Redbone and “Bone Hill: The Concert” are represented by SRO Artists, Inc.
Support for the project is provided by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.