Plays written by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj
HANSBERRY & BALDWIN
Hansberry & Baldwin – (2M 1W) A work of historical fiction based on a real-life meeting between Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Lorraine Hansberry. The meeting took place in May 1963 in the middle of the one of the most critical years in American history. To many historians, this was a turning point in the civil rights movement and the future of a young republic. In 1963 the United States seemed on the verge of infrastructural collapse. There was open, violent, and active opposition to the federal government in many regions. Not since the Civil War had so many local and states governments defied the rule of law. Attorney General Robert Kennedy began a series of ‘secret’ meetings with civil rights activists and artists. This fateful gathering turned out to be the last of these meetings for a variety of reasons.
Little Rock – (5M 4W) The true story of The Little Rock Nine–the first blacks to volunteer to integrate Little Rock Central High School, the formerly segregated all-white public school in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. Told in memory, Little Rock artfully hurtles between past and present, challenge and triumph, hate and hope. It examines the unintended efforts of nine brave American teenagers forever thrust onto the national stage, unwittingly becoming agents of social change in the process–igniting the passions of a nation in the early dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, forever changing the face of education in America and giving hope to millions around the world in the generations to follow.
Maharaj is the founder and the artistic advisor of River Voices, an African American Latino playwrighting festival in collaboration with Arkansas Repertory Theatre. He is also an artistic consultant for the Arkansas Repertory Theater. Maharaj is the former Associate Artistic Director of Syracuse Stage and the Lark Play Development Center. He also serves on the advisory board for Making Books Sing. Maharaj holds a BS from St. John’s University and an MFA from Brooklyn College. He has served as a guest faculty member at both Syracuse School of Drama and Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. Maharaj is the recipient of several grants, fellowship and awards including National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Career Development Program for Directors, TCG New Generations Grant in partnership with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council grant, Puffin Foundation, Time Warner Diverse Voices Fund, and the Van Lier Directing Fellowship and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Observership. He is also the recipient of the Woodie King Jr. Award for Outstanding Direction and four Vivian Robinson AUDELCO awards for his direction and choreography. He also served as the honorary Co. Chair for the 37th annual AUDELCO Awards. Rajendra also was nominated for the 2009 S.A.L.T. Award for Director of the Year by the Syracuse theatrical community. He has served as a panelist for the NEA TCG and National Alliance for Musical Theatre.
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