PBS airs ‘Black Broadway’ concert at Howard University featuring D.C. native Nova Payton

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Black Broadway' on PBS (Part 1)

Last fall, a group of Black Broadway stars gathered for a concert at Howard University.

On Tuesday, “Black Broadway: A Proud History, A Limitless Future” airs at 8 p.m. on PBS.

“The idea is to celebrate Black Broadway,” D.C. native Nova Payton told WTOP. “All of the songs were from shows performed by legendary Black artists on Broadway. … We had a huge cast of phenomenal people who came together for one night only to perform this spectacular show. … Please join the ‘Black Broadway’ celebration. You are not going to want to miss this.”

Payton will perform “I’m Here” from “The Color Purple,” in which she played Celie last year at Signature Theatre, before closing the concert with “I’m Not Going” from “Dreamgirls.”

The set also includes Corbin Bleu’s “Make Them Hear You” from “Ragtime,” Nikki Renée Daniels’ “Being Alive” from “Company” and “Come Rain Or Come Shine” from “St. Louis Woman,” Tiffany Mann’s “Fools Fall In Love” from “Smokey Joe’s Café” and “I Got Love” from “Purlie,” and Stephanie Mills’ “Home” from “The Wiz,” which inspired Payton as a kid.

“She was the original Dorothy on Broadway, and when the national tour came through D.C. at Warner Theatre, that’s when I knew that I wanted to do musical theater,” Payton said.

You’ll also see Norm Lewis’ “I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’” from “Porgy & Bess” and “Waiting For Life” from “Once On This Island,” John Manzari’s “Low Down Blues” from “Shuffle Along,” Leah Flynn’s “Summertime” from “Porgy & Bess,” Amber Iman’s “Learn To Love” from “Goddess,” Sydney James Harcourt’s “Stan’ Up An’ Fight” from “Carmen Jones,” and Peppermint’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

They’re all joined by student choirs from Howard University and Morgan State University.

“I’m honored to be on the faculty at Howard University right now, so a lot of my babies in the musical theater department auditioned,” Payton said. “It was a huge thing for them. They were so excited. I know I would have been excited at that age to live my dream singing and working with such amazing artists. Who wouldn’t want to perform with an orchestra?”

That’s right, it’s all backed by the American Pops Orchestra under Music Director Luke Frazier, who passes the baton to guest conductors, including Dr. Eric Conway (Morgan State University), Brittany Chanell Johnson (Howard University), Sean Mayes (Broadway’s “Hadestown” and “Michael Jackson: the Musical”) and Dr. Eric Poole (Howard University).

The broadcast will also feature interviews with Tony-winning actor Brian Stokes Mitchell and Broadway veterans E. Clayton Cornelious, Allyson Tucker and Ephraim Sykes.

Find more information here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Black Broadway' on PBS (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up