The Kent County artists involved with the forthcoming musical Red Devil Moon will bring their
performance featuring music and narration from the play to the New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) in August. With music and lyrics by Pam Ortiz and book by Robert Earl Price, the play was inspired by Jean Toomer’s modernist novel Cane and draws from the section within the novel entitled “Blood Burning Moon.” Toomer’s very dark story has been modified to create an ending that typifies the individual stories of the Great Migration. The performance was first produced in Chestertown during November of 2014.
The scent of boiling cane, a magical night, love at risk in the Jim Crow South. Red Devil Moon is the tale of Tom Burwell aka BIG BOY, a cane cutter; and LOUISA, a domestic, caught between the brutal reality of the rural South (circa 1920) and the terrifying unknowns of life in the North. To stay under the thumb of oppression or flee into the fog of a foreign world is the question that Louisa’s white boss, BOB STONE’s advances force them to confront on this enchanted night of the syrup cooking full moon.
The troupe invited to FringeNYC is made up of 15 dynamic artists living and working in Kent County including the members of the musical groups Sombarkin and The Pam Ortiz Band. Sombarkin, whose members include Karen Somerville, Lester Barrett Jr., and Jerome McKinney, is well known and admired for their deeply layered and finely wrought sound and vocal arrangements. The Pam Ortiz Band, whose members include Nevin Dawson (viola, violin and vocals), Philip Dutton (piano, keyboards and vocals), Ford Schumann (guitar and vocals), Bob Ortiz (percussion and vocals), and Pam Ortiz (guitar and vocals), will be joined by Tom Anthony on bass and Ray Anthony on drums.
Jean Toomer’s Cane is widely considered the first major text of the Harlem Renaissance. The
novel has long been an inspiration for playwright Robert Earl Price, who approached Ortiz, after hearing her 2012 album of original tunes, with the idea of collaborating on a new piece of musical theatre.
The group is currently engaged in a fundraising effort to support the play’s FringeNYC performances. For information on making a donation, visit RedDevilMoon.com or KentCountyArtsCouncil.org.