Songs from the Soul is a long-time favorite musical in Virginia Repertory Theatre’s repertoire, with a book written by native Richmonder, William Dye. The show takes its audience on a tuneful journey through the history of African-American music. It begins in the days of slavery when music was used both as a tool for survival and a means of communication, and moves all the way through the 20th-century innovations that would become blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, soul, hip-hop, and more. Featuring a lively cast of three, Songs from the Soul highlights favorites from the African-American songbook with music that spans genres and generations, and the storytelling that defines African American culture.
Virginia Repertory Theatre’s touring arm, Virginia Rep on Tour, brings national-caliber, educational plays to schools and public venues in Virginia and across the country. Songs from the Soul has been presented in Virginia Rep’s touring season for years, however, this production is the first time it is being produced on the Children’s Theatre stage, with book writer William Dye as the director and musical director.
Dye wrote the script over 20 years ago, and says, “As time has passed, Songs from the Soul has proven to be as flexible as it is vibrant.” The true key to its success is Dye’s belief that music is not only an integral part of history, but also an integral part of storytelling and learning. Dye is excited to present this show that he wrote so long ago as a fun (and musical!) way to teach children about African Americans’ shared history.
Dye’s dynamic cast features some of Virginia Rep’s most skillful storytellers. William Anderson was recently seen as Dr. Larabee in Akeelah and the Bee, the story of a middle-schooler from the Southside of Chicago who defied all odds and earned her place in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Nicole Pearson was last seen onstage telling the story of an important woman in Richmond history, as the title role in The Maggie Walker Story, and last summer, Anthony Cosby brought a new version of a classic story to life in The Little Engine That Could.
Songs from the Soul is an uplifting celebration of black history and the beautiful music that has emerged from a past full of struggle and hope. Audiences of all ages will be singing along to this toe-tapping musical revue, as they revisit some of the most pivotal moments in American musical history. This new perspective of our shared history will be sure to both entertain and inspire.
Songs from the Soul runs about 60 minutes without an intermission and will be performed at The Children’s Theatre at Willow Lawn (1601 Willow Lawn Drive) beginning February 2, 2018 through February 25, 2018 as part of the Acts of Faith Festival. Single tickets are $20 and can be purchased at virginiarep.org or by calling the Box Office at 804-282-2620.
This article was written by Dani Brown from Virginia Repertory Theatre.