Just Be You Performing Arts; a Rahway-based mentoring and enrichment organization, will conduct a series of free and interactive workshops in Rahway, this and March 2016. The first workshop will honor Black History Month, on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 5:15 p.m.
This celebration of historical African-Americans in the performing arts world, will be held at the Rahway Public Library, 2 City Hall Plaza in Rahway.
The mission of Just Be You Performing Arts is to build self-esteem, and provide positive, enriching guidance for young people. Their second workshop will honor Women’s History Month and will also be held at the Rahway Library, on Saturday, March 5, at 2:15 p.m. The goal, is to enlighten young people on the myriad of historical figures who made a strong impact in the entertainment industry, by breaking down barriers of inequality.
Each workshop will be conducted in two parts. Starting with an Acting and Vocal Technique Master Class. Followed by a showcase; featuring the talented artists of Just Be You Performing Arts, who will portray historical performing artists.
Participants of the workshop will be taught acting technique, by Mahogany Reynolds-Clarke, Founder/Executive Director of Just Be You Performing Arts. They will also learn vocal technique from Devin J. Hall, a professional musical theater performer. Hall performed at the organization’s musical “Who Am I”, held on Dec. 5, at the Gateway Family YMCA Rahway Branch.
“We are so thrilled to offer this master class in Rahway. The children who participate in these workshops will gain a wealth of priceless knowledge. My vision is to empower young artists; to strengthen their natural talents, and to love who they are. They are going to learn and also have lots of fun,” said Reynolds-Clarke (also known as Mahogany Reynolds), an award-winning actress.
Rahway resident, Kiana Queen, 17, a student at Rahway High school, and an original member of Just Be You Performing Arts; will portray the legendary jazz vocalist, Billie Holiday during the workshop. Queen, who according to Reynolds-Clarke, bears an uncanny resemblance to the music legend, will perform a monologue, followed by a medley of the singer’s classics.
“I’m very honored to portray the legendary Billie Holiday. At times I feel like I’m walking in her shadow. Her quote affected my life many years ago ‘sometime it’s worse to win a fight than to lose,” said Queen, who also performed in the Just Be You Performing Arts musical in December 2015.
Additionally, to pay tribute to another vocal great, Kayla Richardson, 15, of Hillside, will portray Ella Fitzgerald. Richardson was cast for this role by Reynolds-Clarke because the young singer has a very refined sound and quality to her voice, like Fitzgerald.
“One of the things that makes Just Be You unique, is that I teach the members about art history. In fact, it is required that they study historical performing artists. This teaches them to appreciate the foundations that were already laid. My purpose is to train up a generation of young artists who value those who came before them,” said Reynolds-Clarke.
As a special highlight to the workshop on Feb. 25, aspiring actor, Brody Ferrer, 9, of Edison, will portray John F. Kennedy. Ferrer will reenact the president’s famous Civil Rights Speech of 1959. Reynolds-Clarke selected Ferrer for this role because of his ability to adapt to any character.
“Brody is excited to participate in the Just Be You event, but is especially excited to portray a person who was such a prominent political figure,” said his mother, Miroslava Ferrer.
The Just Be You Performing Arts Workshop Series will be an engaging activity for children ages 5- to 18-years-old and is open to the general public. In addition to the workshops, the organization will also hold auditions for new members to join their theatre ensemble and youth choir. Reynolds-Clarke is actively seeking talented young singers, actors, dancers, and models; for upcoming Just Be You Productions.
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