On August 27, 2013, at the historic Metropolitan A.M.E. Church in Washington, D.C. , the Civil Rights Opera Project will stage a free mass meeting performance called “The March: Prelude to a Dream to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. Prelude to a Dream is a dramatization of the tension and uncertainty during the final preparations for the march and the stories of ordinary Americans who planned to attend the march. This event on the eve of the 50th Anniversary will be a tribute to those who planned and participated in the March on Washington. The first part of the evening’s program will feature speakers from the civil rights organizations who planned the march and a tribute to all those in attendance who were a part of the civil rights movement.

This performance will be held in one of Washington, D.C.’s most prominent churches. Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, pastored by Rev. Ronald E. Braxton, is celebrating its 175th Anniversary. It has long been in the forefront of the civil, cultural and intellectual life of African Americans, hosting speakers including Frederick Douglass, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Mary McLeod Bethune, Eleanor Roosevelt, Hubert Humphrey and others. It also hosted the funeral services for Frederick Douglass and A. Philip Randolph, the National Memorial Service for Rosa Parks and the commemoration service for the 20th anniversary of the March on Washington.

THE MARCH: A Civil Rights Opera is a new American opera project exploring the personal and political circumstances surrounding the 1963 March on Washington. THE MARCH is being developed in Chicago and will premiere there in the fall of 2014, followed by performances in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.While the opera is developed, creator and librettist Alan Marshall has been producing theatrical based “mass meetings” which dramatize various episodes of civil rights movement during the long, hot summer of 1963. These performances include freedom songs (solos & audience participation), speeches, testimonies & character driven drama, all happening around the audience. Prelude to a Dream is the fourth installment of these mass meetings.

Prelude to a Dream offers a diverse cast of characters: Bayard Rustin, A. Philip Randolph, Courland Cox (SNCC), Joyce Ladner (SNCC), Clarence Mitchell (NAACP), Gloria Richardson, Andrew Young (SCLC), Anna Hedgeman, a Justice Department official, an aide to Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle, an aide to Senator Strom Thurmond, a captain in the American Nazi Party and a host of other civil rights figures and individual marchers.

Rustin was given 57 days to organize the 1963 March on Washington. Reluctant civil rights leaders knew that he was the only person on the planet who could pull this off. To honor Bayard Rustin, Alan Marshall, the creator and librettist for “The March” will spearhead a 57 day campaign of education and outreach , with any and all opera companies who produce this project in the future. A meticulous, Bayard-style plan will be used to galvanize churches, schools and community organizations in support of the production.

On August 28, 2013, the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, THE MARCH Civil Rights Opera Project will host its Postlude to a Dream Gala at the historic Carnegie Library in Washington, DC. This premier event will include representatives from the nation’s major civil rights organizations, local and national elected officials and distinguished guests from the business, education and arts communities. Our guests of honor will be Courtland Cox and Joyce Ladner, who were the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) representatives on the March on Washington Committee in 1963.This black tie event will benefit the development and world premiere of THE MARCH: A Civil Rights Opera.

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