Several artists from a variety of fields have joined the lineup paying tribute to the late Jessye Norman September 15—what would have been the operatic soprano's 75th birthday. Newly added to Black Opera Productions' upcoming gala as performers and speakers are Emmy nominee Laverne Cox (an opera aficionado herself), Pulitzer Prize finalist Anna Deavere Smith, the company of Dance Theatre of Harlem, and more.
They join the previously announced J'Nai Bridges, Harolyn Blackwell, Martina Arroyo, Simon Estes, Damien Sneed, George Shirley, Measha Brueggergosman, Krysty Swann, Karen Slack, Chauncey Packer, John Holiday, Audrey DuBois-Harris, Sidney Outlaw, Justin Austin, Brandie Sutton, and Russell Thomas, plus Norman's family and students from the Jessye Norman School of the Arts.
Rounding out the company are Richard Smallwood, Judith Jamison, Darren Walker, Alicia Hall Moran, Richard Danielpour, Mark Markham, Grace Bumbry, Laquita Mitchell, Mary Pinto, Kevin Miller, Myra Huang, and Aundra Clark. Kenneth Overton will host.
In addition to dedications filmed remotely, the event will feature performances filmed in the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. The NYC center produces in partnership with Overton, Jonathan Estabrooks, Miranda Plant, and Ras Dia.
The 6 PM ET stream will be available for free on YouTube, though suggested donations will benefit Norman's namesake estate and school, as well as continued development of Black Opera Productions' upcoming documentary.
Norman died September 30 last year at 74. She is remembered for her varied repertoire that included (but was not limited to) opera roles that defied convention and rousing renditions of spirituals.