A musical musing on black cowboys of the American West by celebrated jazz artist Allan Harris.
December 6, 2017: A new musical by Allan Harris and his wife Pat Harris, Cross That River, A Tale of the Black West, opened at 59E59 Theaters. Mr. Harris and his wife have fashioned a poignant tale about Blue, a run-away slave who escapes to Texas where he becomes one of America’s first Black Cowboys in the unsettled West circa 1860s. The absorbing story, staged as a concert by Reggie Life, weaves fact and fiction into an affecting evening with the soulful singers playing multiple roles with accomplished ease. The four marvelous vocalists are Maya Azucena, Carolyn Leonhart, Jeffery Lewis and the silky voiced Allan Harris, who also narrates.
The terrific musicians include Alan Grubner on violin, Miki Hayama on keyboard, Seth Johnson on guitar, Jay White on bass and vocals, and Shirazette Tinnin on drums and percussion.
Cross That River ran briefly at the New York Musical Theater Festival in 2009. Now extensively rewritten and featuring a new cast, the concert is a soaring success with a surprising score that mixes jazz, blues, country, and R&B to exceptional effect.
Produced by Love Productions Records, CROSS THAT RIVER is now playing at 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street at Park Avenue for a limited run through Sunday, December 31. The performance schedule is Tuesday – Thursday at 7:15 PM; Friday at 8:15 PM; Saturday at 2:15 PM & 8:15 PM; and Sunday at 3:15 PM. To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or visit www.59e59.org.
Photography: Barry Gordin