Langston Hughes Project Coming to Scranton

Langston Hughes, the most influential Harlem Renaissance poet, is going to be showcased in the Scranton area, at Lackawanna College’s Mellow Theater. The press release I received about this project is posted below. It sounds like a wonderful way to spend a Friday evening and experience Hughes’ poetry mixed with jazz.

On Friday, February 18, 2011 at 8:00pm, Community Concerts at Lackawanna College will present The Langston Hughes Project, Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz, featuring the Ron McCurdy Quartet at the Mellow Theater at Lackawanna College. The Langston Hughes Project is a multimedia concert performance of Langston Hughes’s kaleidoscopic jazz poem suite. Ask Your Mama is Hughes’s homage in verse and music to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at home and abroad at the beginning of the 1960s. It is a twelve-part epic poem which Hughes scored with musical cues drawn from blues and Dixieland, gospel songs, boogie woogie, bebop and progressive jazz, Latin “cha cha” and Afro-Cuban mambo music, German lieder, Jewish liturgy, West Indian calypso, and African drumming — a creative masterwork left unperformed at his death. Tickets are $30 and $20 and can be obtained by calling (570) 955-1455, in person through the college’s box office and online through

Student tickets are available for only $15. This performance is sponsored in part by Prudential Financial. Jazz was a cosmopolitan metaphor for Langston Hughes, a force for cultural convergence beyond the reach of words, or the limits of any one language. It called up visual analogues for him as well, most pointedly the surrealistic techniques of painterly collage and of the film editing developed in this country in the 1930s and 40s, which condensed time and space, conveyed to the viewer a great array of information in short compass, and which offered the possibility of suggesting expanded states of consciousness, chaotic remembrances of past events or dreams — through montage. “To me,” Hughes wrote, “jazz is a montage of a dream deferred. A great big dream — yet to come — and always yet to become ultimately and finally true.”
Substantial group discounts are also available by calling (570) 955-1455.  For more information, please visit .

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