9 Reasons To See Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, A New Musical

Uncle Jed’s Barbershop is a new family musical coming to Denver’s Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theater, Sept. 26 – Oct. 18, 2015.

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Set in rural Arkansas near the Mississippi Delta, Uncle Jed’s Barbershop tells the story of Sarah Jean and her Uncle Jed, the only black barber in the county. Uncle Jed has a dream of opening his own barbershop. Even though he meets with setback after setback, he doesn’t give up on his dream.

I’m excited to see the characters I created in my book come alive on stage. I have followed the show through its development phase and have always appreciated the hard work and dedication the show’s creators have invested into making it a reality. I’ll be in Denver to see the show.

Here are 9 reasons why you should see it too:

1)  Uncle Jed’s Barbershop is a new family musical adapted from the award-winning book Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell, illustrated by James Ransome, published by Simon & Schuster. The book has received numerous awards including a Coretta Scott King Honor Book Award, the Living The Dream Book Award, and is a featured Reading Rainbow book.

2)  The creative team of David Wohl, Kenneth Grimes, and Susan Einhorn, who shepherded the show into an award-winning musical. From the ASCAP/Disney workshop winner to a finalist in the O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference, to a finalist in the Richard Rodgers Awards, to winner of the National Music Theater Network’s Director’s Choice Award, to the New York Musical Theater Festival, the show has wowed audiences with its soaring and soulful music. David Wohl says,Uncle Jed’s Barbershop is your story, the story of everyone who had a dream and achieved it. We are absolutely certain that your story will never ever be told in this dramatic and musical way ever again.”

3)  Broadway veteran Ken Prymus, who stars as Uncle Jed, the only black barber in 1928 Monroe County, Arkansas. His Broadway credits include Cats, Ain’t Misbehavin’, and The Wiz. Prymus says, “Uncle Jed is a lot like me. He’s a good guy who’s just trying to work hard. He loves his family and his friends. He’s stable. And he really loves his great-niece.”


4)  Broadway veteran Nora Cole stars as Uncle Jed’s wife, Twyla. Her credits include Your Arms Too Short To Box With God, Jelly’s Last Jam, On The Town, and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. Recent credits include Katherine’s Colored Lieutenant and On Golden Pond. Nora is delighted to return to the cast of Uncle Jed’s Barbershop.

5)   Veteran actor Mary Louise Lee, singer/actor extraordinaire and First Lady of Denver, stars as adult Sarah Jean. Mary Louise has performed in theaters around the country and has toured internationally with The Mary Louise Lee Band.

6)   Introducing Yasmine Emani Hunter as child Sarah Jean. Yasmine is very passionate about singing, having participated in the Rocky Mountain Children’s Choir for 4 years.

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7)  Broadway veteran Terry Burrell (Dreamgirls, Honky Tonk Nights, Three Penny Opera, Swinging On A Star, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Eubie, Show Boat). Her one woman show “Ethel” can be seen at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta next Spring.

8)  Virtuoso pianist and composer/arranger Joel A. Martin, who arranged the music for the show.

9)  Uncle Jed’s Barbershop is a rollicking new musical. It is a celebration of hope, love, work, faith, and the power of dreams that never grow old!

For More Information:

Uncle Jed’s Barbershop



I’ll see you at the show!

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The Voting Rights Act

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Today marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act. Let’s not forget what life was like before President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law. Various tactics, like poll taxes and literacy tests, were used to deny black people the right to vote. Following is an excerpt from Granddaddy’s Gift which demonstrates the problems  African-Americans encountered when they went to register to vote.

Granddaddy’s Gift

The next day Granddaddy rode into town and parked his truck in front of the courthouse. He walked like he was going somewhere, the way he always did. As usual, I was right behind him.

He went into one of the offices and told the lady behind the counter that he wanted to register to vote.

The lady went into the back room and came back with a man. “Well now, Joe,” the man said. “You see, there is this test you have to take on the Mississippi constitution. It’s hard, real hard. You’re doing all right, Joe. Just be satisfied with what you have.”

Granddaddy left the office. I turned and walked after him, my head hanging down. I didn’t want to look at Granddaddy’s face, because I knew he felt bad, too.

He waited for me at the top of the courthouse steps. He took my hand. “Daughter,” he said, “Hold your head up high. We have done nothing wrong.”

Granddaddy told me there was something important to strive for in addition to the good things we had. There were some things that made a person feel good inside, like having the rights we were all entitled to as citizens of these United States.


For more information about Granddaddy’s Gift visit: Granddaddy’s Gift