Fort Worth’s Bass Hall reopens with first-ever Jubilee Theater show

Jubilee Theatre, in partnership with Performing Arts Fort Worth, will present the musical Southern Boys: Sons of Sharecroppers at Bass Hall from July 29 to August 15, marking the first live, in-person performances at the city’s main performance venue since the pandemic began.

It’s also Jubilee’s first time mounting a production at Bass Hall, though it may not be the last, according to Jason Wise, vice president of programming and engagement management for Performing Arts Fort. Worth.

“Our hope is that this collaboration extends beyond this production, and we look forward to ongoing conversations with the Jubilee Theater as we plan for future seasons,” Wise said. “The Jubilee Theater also plans to continue producing and presenting productions in its own theater space.”

Jubilee, with its longtime theater at 506 Main St. at Sundance Square, is not considered a resident company of Bass Hall, nor are The Cliburn, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Opera, and Texas Ballet Theater.

The acclaimed production Southern Boyswritten by Kathy D. Harrison and nominated for Best Musical at the 2020 New York Theater Festival, brings America’s early historic post-slavery era to life through the eyes of emancipated slaves and their free children, with all its jubilant excitement as well as its debilitating realities.

Freed people make their transition from slavery to freedom, ready to pursue their new dreams and “make something of themselves”. Their first opportunities come – ironically – as sharecroppers on the very plantation where they were enslaved. The brutal and degrading conditions of sharecropping weigh heavily on their aspirations to achieve real freedom. Going from slavery to sharecropping, is it like going from the pan to the fire?

But Johnny, 17, dares to keep dreaming. He hears the loud horn of a train approaching near the fields – heading north. Will he catch that train and jump into a new unknown world? If so, who, if anyone, will follow?

Preview week for Southern Boys runs from July 29 to August 5, with an opening night scheduled for August 6. After the live stream ends, Jubilee will air the show on their website16-29 August.

“The Jubilee Theater is thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase our work on the Bass Hall stage,” Christie M. Howard, Jubilee Theater general manager, said in a statement. “Sharing a story of perceived victory, surprising challenges, and unwavering perseverance is more than timely as these are the themes that resonate with the very spirit of Fort Worth’s rich performing arts community.”

The Jubilee Theater has remained busy during the pandemic, launching several virtual productions, including the current Berta, Bertaavailable until June 27. Southern Boys: Sons of Sharecroppers will be the final production of the Jubilee Theatre’s 40th season; they will announce the lineup for their 41st season, which is set to debut in September, in the near future.

Tickets, which range from $54 to $64, are now on sale at both Where Enhanced health and safety protocols will be in place at Bass Hall, including the requirement for masks/face coverings.