Signature launches 10th season with ‘Poetic Muse’

The 10th anniversary season of “The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show,” an entertaining, enlightening and edgy exploration of urban creative arts in the realm of an off-Broadway theatrical revue, launches Friday, June 30 emphasizing the stirring potency of the “Poetic Muse.”

Presented by Oral Funk Poetry Productions and the Human Race Theatre Company at the Loft Theatre, “Poetic Muse” seeks to examine an assortment of topics and themes fueling creative impulses within today’s African-American community.

“Over the last decade, Oral Funk Poetry Productions has taken pleasure in presenting spoken word but we also take pleasure in speaking to the issues of our time,” said Sierra Leone, a local writer and poet who is the founder of Oral Funk Poetry Productions.

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“Over the last decade, our muse has become finding the right way to speak to what’s important to the human race at any particular moment. In this instance, we are pleased to bring in young artists who will shed light on what’s required in this particular moment. We are offering a beautiful balance, a beautiful seesaw, of what it means to be an urban creative artist and finding the way to tell a story that allows people to pick out what’s important to them. Ultimately, we hope they will take the right healing, the right energy, from that experience to do the work they need to do on a daily basis. The poetic muse is a catalyst to simply empower the community.”

Headlining the event will be Ebony Stewart, a touring performance artist influential within the central Texas slam poetry scene, and Lance G. Newman, a performer and teacher in the Louisville poetry scene for the past 16 years. Stewart, the only adult female three-time Slam Champion in Austin, Texas, is the author of several poetry collections and her work has been notably featured in the Texas Observer and Teen Vogue. She was also named Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama by the Austin Critics' Table for her 2015 one-woman show "Hunger."

Newman, who placed second in Oral Funk Poetry Productions’ “Last Poet Standing III” held last year in Cincinnati, is the founder of SpreadLove Enterprises and executive director of Young Poets of Louisville. He is also a founding member and writer for the multidisciplinary artistry group Roots and Wings.

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“Ebony is young, ambitious and a particular advocate of healing girls and women coping with sexual assault,” Leone said. “Ebony will inspire our audience to see things from the millennial perspective and perhaps learn something new, which is what art-making is all about. Lance is a very prolific artist who is very present in his work. Every single word counts. He has particularly developed a love movement for African-American men to build stronger relationships with their children through writing. He is taking his civic responsibility to the next level in Kentucky by using words to help change the world.”

In addition, the evening will feature a variety of local poets and singers. The Signature house band, El Coats and Premium Blend, will help set the mood along with Governor’s Award-winning visual artist James Pate.

“The Signature” season continues with its annual “Last Poet Standing” competition (Aug. 25 at Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center), the celebratory “What’s Your Razzle Dazzle?” (Oct. 14 at the Black Box Improv Theater), and “Beyond the Decade” (Dec. 1 at the Loft Theatre). “The Signature” is notably co-sponsored by the Human Race Theatre Company with additional sponsorships by Oregon Express, University of Dayton IACT, Black Box Improv Theater, WYSO 91.3-FM, Delish Café, Signature Educational Solutions, and Tripple Croxx Entertainment.

“We are so happy to have exposed our audience to so many new things over the years,” Leone added. “Entering our 10th season means we have been an amazing catalyst for artists pursuing their dreams. We have made poetry sustainable. We have made people respect and believe it. We are celebrating just being.”

Want to go?

WHAT: "The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show: Poetic Muse"

WHERE: Loft Theatre of the Metropolitan Arts Center, 126 N. Main St., Dayton

WHEN: Friday, June 30, 9 p.m.

COST: $25

TICKETS: Call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit Season tickets are available.


FYI: The Signature Lounge will open at 8 p.m. in the lobby. There will be cocktails and live music.

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