McCray Brings February Heat

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In February, Ms. Madeline McCray will be reading the role of Maggie in Ntozake Shange's play "Ridin' The Moon In Texas," for the retrospective of Ntozake Shange's works being produced by Woodie King at the New Federal Theatre. 

Madeline McCray is an actress, writer and producer who was born and raised in Harlem. She recently returned to New York from the Virgin Islands where she resided as Founder and Artistic Director for a non-profit performing arts organization for At-risk youth. Madeline received critical acclaim for her performance in Suzan Lori-Parks Imperceptible Mutabilities of the Third Kingdom under director Liz Diamond at BACA Downtown in Brooklyn, NY, and for her co-starring role alongside actor John Amos in August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize winning play Fences under director of Seret Scott at Capitol Rep Theatre. During performances throughout the U.S. and Caribbean, McCray continues to receive acclaim for her performance in A Dream To Fly... The Bessie Coleman Story, a solo show that she wrote based on the life of the first female Black pilot in the world.

As a producer and artistic director for St. Croix Center Stage she was responsible for program development, and brought numerous celebrated personalities to the island to perform and conduct workshops including: Danny Glover, Terrie M. Williams, Xavier Artis, John Amos, Glynn Turman, Sonia Sanchez, Matthew St. Patrick, Lillias White, Woodie King Jr. Sheryl Lee Ralph, Virginia Capers, and Levy Lee Simon. Programs under her leadership received grants from the V.I. Council on the Arts, V.I. Humanities Council, and the Law Enforcement and Planning Commission, and the Department of Tourism.

Ms. McCray sums it up like this:  “Life is about living up to your full potential and keeping your spirit in that place no matter what.  I have always felt that there was something that I was meant to do. I have always felt that. That is what I believe or I would not have survived a lot of the things that I have.�

“I had to endure domestic violence.  I knew that it wasn’t what life is supposed to be about, and I did not want my sons to grow up thinking that was normal. You don't disagree and get angry and knock the hell out of your woman.�

“Now, I look at life as a series of ups and downs and I know that if you believe very strongly in a God, right here and right now, if you believe right now that this is not what your God intended you to do, then you will find a way to remove yourself out of a toxic situation, no matter what that is, and continue to move in the direction that your God tells you that you are supposed to move toward.�

“I am someone who wants to make a difference in the world that I live in.  That is where I choose to focus my energy.�
“Everything that has happened was supposed to happen. It has been a great ride and I pray that I deserve to be here to ride a little longer.�

“What I want to leave behind is for young people to say, ‘She cared about people while she was here’. Madeline McCray made me think about this and that was my ‘Aha!’ moment.�

Ms. McCray will be reading the role of Maggie in Ntozake Shange's play "Ridin' The Moon In Texas," for the retrospective of Ntozake Shange's works being produced by Woodie King at the New Federal Theatre. 

Ntozake Shange: A Retrospective is a spectacular four-week theatrical event beginning in February, presented by Woodie King, Jr’s New Federal Theatre (NFT) honoring several of the groundbreaking works of celebrated award winning playwright, actress, director, novelist, educator Ntozake Shange, author of the OBIE, Drama Desk, AUDELCO and Tony nominated Broadway play, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf.� It was originally produced and presented in 1976 by Woodie King, Jr. and Joseph Papp.

The NFT multifaceted poetry, spoken word, readings event opens Wednesday, February 7, 2007 (7:00 PM) through Sunday, March 4, 2007, at Henry Street Settlement’s Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand Street–Manhattan), and promises to deliver outstanding presentations of some of Shange’s best plays and chorepoems.

The impressive list includes "Boogie Woogie Landscape," "A Photograph: Lovers In Motion," "From Okra To Greens / A Different Kind Of Love Story," Laila's Dream" and the brilliantly Shange adapted Bertolt Brecht masterpiece, "Mother Courage."

Additionally, there will be numerous panel discussions hosted by musicians, choreographers, directors, musicians and poets who were a part of Ntozake’s phenomenal success.

Ntozake Shange's powerful one-act play, "It Hasn't Always Been This Way," directed by Dianne McIntyre, will run from February 21st (7:00 PM) through March 4th (3:00 PM). It stars Ntozake Shange & Friends, and is an evocative, entertaining, and visionary theatrical experience.

For more information about "Ridin' The Moon In Texas," in which Ms. Madeline McCray will be reading the role of Maggie or for general info on Ntozake Shange: A Retrospective, send an e-mail to .

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“Speaking Truth To Empower.�

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