The inaugural cast of Dance & Bmore’s Voices of Carmen was discovered at city wide auditionsheld at Mergenthaler High school (northeast), Benjamin Franklin High school (south), City Arts
The inaugural cast of Dance & Bmore’s Voices of Carmen was discovered at city wide auditionsheld at Mergenthaler High school (northeast), Benjamin Franklin High school (south), City Arts 2 (central), Touchpoint Mondawmin Mall (west) Enoch Pratt Southeast Anchor library in Baltimore. Forty performers ages 14 – 21 from all parts of Baltimore compose a cast and pit orchestra presenting a new musical aimed at deescalating conflict and dating violence.
Voices of Carmen, a program of Dance & Bmore, is an adaptation of the opera Carmen by George Bizet. This original production written and directed by CJay Philip puts a contemporary spin to an iconic story filled with fresh yet familiar renditions of the score, plus a dozen original songs from Pop to Hip-Hop to R&B. Ms. Shculer’s high school literature class has been reading an 18th century novella, Carmen. To bring the text to life she instructs students to act out the story as they read.
The audience follows the story of Carmen played by three female students who fall for Don Jose played by three males students. The story takes a surprising turn that introduces a fourth and final Carmen in a contemporary time and place. Constance Ui-Seng Francois (19 yr), Kaylin Lues (19 yr), Faith Bender (17 yr), and Judah Lyles (17 yr) play the show’s four Carmens. All stand-out actresses, two are trained dancers and one a powerhouse soul singer. The student Don Joses are played by Mitchell Napper, Jayden Bethea, Eli Fox and Terrance Martin. Don Jose’s sweet ex-girlfriend Micaela is played by Kyler May in Act 1and her counterpart Miki, is played by Destiny Ragsdale in Act 2. Mark Johnson Jr. plays hometown hero and matador Escamillo with a comic flare while Jayden Ozoemena plays his Hip-Hop DJ counterpart who goes by the name Big E.
Lighting designer Jade Pettis (age 17) is a recent graduate of Baltimore School for the Arts (BSA) and the 16-year-old Set/Prop Designer Morgan Fuller is currently studying Theater Production at BSA.
Camp Carmen will begin rehearsals July 1, hosting 14 YouthWorks students working in costumes, stage crew and the cast. All 53 musicians, cast, and crew members will be paid for their work on this new youth violence prevention piece and Dance & Bmore Programs is seeking sponsors and fundraising to cover the cost.
Even before its premier July 2019, Dance & Bmore’s Voices of Carmen has been selected as a featured new work by the DC Black Theatre Festival, The Atlanta Black Theater Festival and the Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival.
Community performances excerpts and discussions in Baltimore include: The Waxter Senior Center July 24, 1PM; Penn North Enoch Pratt Library July 25, 2:30PM. The show previews July 30 followed by three performance July 31-August 2 at Baltimore School for the Arts. August 3, 6PM will be the final live streaming performance from the Kennedy Center Millennial Stage.
Tickets range from $10-$50 dollars and are available at
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Voices of Carmen is a program of Dance & Bmore, whose mission is to create meaningful human connections through the arts for communities and individuals at every age and stage of life.
July 30 (Tuesday) - August 2 (Friday)