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JAG Productions Holds ‘Juke Joint’ as Preview

  • Francesca Harper, who starred as Billie Holiday in JAG Production's staging of "Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill" in May, is scheduled to perform on Saturday at "Juke Joint," a fundraiser for JAG in White River Junction. (Courtesy photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/14/2018 10:00:23 PM
Modified: 11/15/2018 10:51:15 AM

There’s dinner theater, and then there’s the JAG Juke Joint that Jarvis Antonio Green will host in downtown White River Junction on Saturday night.

As the appetizer to his JAG Productions’ fourth season of African-American-centered theater, Green is offering a multi-course dinner of South Carolina comfort food at the Newberry Market, cooked up by his mom, Peggy Ware.

And after dishing out chicken (choice of fried or baked with herbs), three-cheese baked macaroni, potato salad with sweet pickle and garlic, collard greens (with and without pork), pecan and coconut sweet-potato souffle and cornbread, Green will lead a parade of entertainers into the neighboring Briggs Opera House for a cabaret-style performance of the kinds of theatrical material that Upper Valley audiences can expect to see at the Briggs in the near and middle-distance future.

“It’s a way for us to celebrate what has happened so far, and to support the season coming up,” Green said last week. “It’s also setting the template for what we can be over the next three to five years.”

That template includes “adapting American musicals through the lens of the black experience,” Green said. On Saturday night, he’ll reveal the title of this coming spring’s adaptation, with an all-black cast, of a hit Broadway musical known for its very white, very blond protagonist.

Saturday night’s celebration also will include a performance by Francesca Harper, who starred as Billie Holiday in JAG’s production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill this past May. Green also will offer details of his third annual JAG Fest conference in February, where the focus will be “on black female playwrights and producers and directors,” he said.

As for his original ambition to stage the 10 plays from August Wilson’s “Century Series” in consecutive years — which he kicked off in the spring of 2017 with Fences at the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre — Green now foresees directing another installment in the fall of 2020.

JAG Productions previews its season with its inaugural “Juke Joint” in downtown White River Junction on Saturday night. For tickets ($100) and more information, visit jagproductionsvt.com.




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