Breath & Imagination

A musical by Daniel Beaty
Directed by Maurice Emmanuel Parent
Scenic Design by Baron E. Pugh
Costume Design by Elisabetta Polito
Sound Design by David Wilson
Lighting Design by Aja M. Jackson
Production Stage Manager: Nerys Powell

Season sponsored by Barry Bluestone, Lee and Diana Humphrey, and

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Before there was Marian Anderson, there was Roland Hayes – one of the first world-renowned African-American classical vocalists.  Breath & Imagination is a play with music that chronicles the amazing journey of this pioneer from the plantation in Georgia to singing before kings and queens in Europe.   At the heart of the story is Roland’s loving, complex relationship with his mother – his Angel Mo’. Employing spirituals and classical music, Breath & Imagination is an inspirational exploration of one man’s determination to be an artist despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

A co-production with The Front Porch Arts Collective.

A winning, inspirational story of a man who found his freedom in song.– WBUR, The ARTery



Press & Reviews

Cast & Crew

Doug Gerber – Mr. Calhoun, Frenchman, Music Director

Doug Gerber (Mr. Calhoun, Frenchman, Music Director) is making his Lyric Stage debut. He made his professional stage debut at the age of nine as Tiny Tim and Young Scrooge in the Huntington Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol at the Wilbur Theatre. Since then he has performed in among others, The Fantasticks, A Future Perfect (Flyleaf Theater), State Fair (Weston Friendly Society), Titanic: The Musical (Woodland Theatre), Fiddler on the Roof (Woodland Theatre), Wonderful Town (RMT), and Suddenly On Christmas Eve (Acts From The Heart).  Doug has a diverse background in music as well. His conducting studies began at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music. He received his B.A. in Music from Eastern Nazarene College, and then became an assistant to Boston area Maestro Yoichi Udagawa the following year. He made his conducting debut with the Quincy Symphony and Melrose Symphony Orchestras, and earned fellowship to the prestigious Conductors Institute of South Carolina. Doug holds a Masters degree in Orchestral Conducting from Bard College Conservatory of Music in New York where he studied under the tutelage of Maestros Harold Farberman and Leon Botstein of the American Symphony Orchestra. He is a guest conductor at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, the Boston Civic Symphony, and the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra. He has composed numerous pieces for instrumental ensembles. Berkshire Storms, for orchestra, dedicated to the unpredictable weather patterns of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts, is published by ECS Music Publishing.

Nile Hawver* – Officer, Pa, Preacher, Miss Robinson, Frenchman, King George V

Nile Hawver* (Officer/Pa/Preacher/Miss Robinson/Frenchman/King George V) is making his Lyric Stage Company debut! Other Boston credits: The Irish and How They Got That Way at Greater Boston Stage Company, Man of La Mancha at New Repertory Theatre, Edward II, Actor’s Shakespeare Project, Finish Line¸ Boston Theater Company, Violet, and Mothers and Sons, Speakeasy Stage, Carmen and Greek, Boston Lyric Opera, The Edge of Peace, Central Square Theatre, Etherdome, The Huntington Theatre Company, Twelfth Night, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. Regional credits include performances with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Ocean State Theatre Company, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and many more. Nile holds a BFA in acting from the University of Rhode Island, and an M.F.A. in acting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His photography can be seen all over the Boston area, and has been featured as poster art for The Lyric Stage’s My Fair Lady and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Nile will next been seen in the Boston premiere of Once at Speakeasy Stage in March 2019. Thanks to Maggie for all of her love and support! Proud AEA member. |

Davron S. Monroe* – Roland Hayes

Davron S. Monroe* (Roland Hayes) is returning to the Lyric Stage after having appeared in Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Wiz, Camelot, Company, My Fair Lady, City of Angels, Sweeney Todd, One Man, Two Guvnors, The Mikado, Avenue Q, and Ain’t Misbehavin’. Musical theatre credits include The Little Mermaid (Company Theatre), Man of La Mancha (New Rep), Godspell (Moonbox Productions), Hairspray (Reagle Music Theatre), Dreamgirls, Jesus Christ Superstar, Children of Eden, Songs for a New World (premiere, Key West Symphony, Broadway Across America), Smokey Joe’s Café, Cinderella, Streakin’!, a ’70s musical revue,  Sweet Charity, Brigadoon, and Show Boat. Cabaret: The All Night Strut. Opera: fully staged or concert/scene productions of Carmen, Treemonisha, Porgy and Bess, La finta giardiniera, Rigoletto, Lucia di Lammermoor, La fille du régiment,  L’élisir d’amore,  Così fan tutte, Die Fledermaus, The Tailor of Gloucester, The Gondoliers, Aida, and Die Zauberflöte. Davron premiered the role of Thomas Edison in Juventas’s New Music Group production of Light and Power. He has also appeared with many orchestral and vocal organizations, such as Boston Landmarks Orchestra (Lost in the Stars – a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech, and The Chariot Jubilee), the First Church UU, Belmont, the Brevard Music Center (finalist, Orlando Opera’s Heinz Rehfuss Singing Actor Awards), Disney Entertainment’s Voices of Liberty, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Key West Symphony (young artist), Houston Ebony Opera Guild, the New England Spiritual Ensemble, New England Voices, the Longy School Orchestra, and many other organizations throughout the greater Boston area. Davron is the first recipient of the Bob Jolly Award for up-and-coming local actors.

Yewande Odetoyinbo* – Angel Mo

Yewande Odetoyinbo* (Angel Mo), is a native of Detroit, MI and a proud graduate of Howard University, where she earned a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre and became a member of Sigma Alpha Iota. She also, holds a shiny new M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Performance from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. She returns to the Lyric Stage having appeared in The Wiz last spring. Some of her favorite performances include roles in Fannie Lou at Carnegie Hall, the national tour of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds with Adventure Theatre, Trav’lin: The 1930s Harlem Musical (Seven Angels Theatre, Waterbury, CT), Show Boat (Reagle Music Theatre and Fiddlehead Theatre), and In The Heights, and Seussical at Wheelock Family Theatre. She has been seen in various stages reading with The Front Porch Arts Collective and Goodspeed Opera House. It is her lifelong dream not only to perform and teach theatre to inner-city youth, but also to open up a performing arts school in Nigeria. She thanks the Lord for His many blessings and her family and friends for their love and support. She would also like to thank Maurice Emmanuel Parent, the Front Porch Arts Collective and the Lyric Stage family! Ase!

Maurice Emmanuel Parent – Director

Maurice Emmanuel Parent is making his professional directorial debut with this production. As an actor he was seen at the Lyric Stage in Man of La Mancha and Into The Woods. Recently he directed Into the Woods  with close friend and colleague Kelli Edwards (Brandeis University). Since 2011 he’s been a Resident Acting Company member of the Actors’ Shakespeare Project (ASP) and along with Paula Plum serviced as Interim Artistic Director.  Mr. Parent has performed locally with the Underground Railway Theater, SpeakEasy Stage, New Rep, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Wheelock Family Theatre, Huntington Theatre, Off the Grid Theatre Company, Boston Theatre Works, Barrington Stage, and Cape Playhouse.  Outside of Boston, Mr. Parent has performed nationally and abroad.  He’s received two Elliot Norton Awards (2008 and 2017), three Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Awards (2015, 2016, and 2017) and an Arts Impulse Award (2017). In addition to his work on stage, Mr. Parent is a Lecturer at Boston University’s School of Theatre, a Visiting Artist at the Tufts University Department of Theatre and Dance, and is the 2018-2019 Boston College Monan Professor of Theatre Arts. Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Front Porch Arts Collective.

The Front Porch Arts Collective

The Front Porch Arts Collective is a new black and brown led theatre company committed to advancing racial equity in Boston through theater. For nearly a decade, Boston has existed without a professional black-led theatre company employing artists of color and demanding the consideration of the major news outlets in Greater Boston. Boston’s reputation as an unwelcoming and racist city, featured prominently in a seven-part Spotlight series in The Boston Globe, highlighted issues of structural racism, including the visible cultural segregation in the arts. As a black-led theater company committed to rewriting those narratives, our namesake signifies a communal spirit, inspiring us to serve communities of color and produce art that is inclusive of all communities and welcoming to all audiences, to inspire a more tolerant and inclusive Boston. Over the past year, The Front Porch has produced The God’s Closet Reading Series at Central Square Theater featuring the plays of Marcus Gardley. During October 2017, black odyssey was first produced as a staged reading to a sold out audience. Since then, The Porch has announced their inaugural season co-producing Breath & Imagination with the Lyric Stage, black odyssey with Underground Railway Theater at Central Square Theater, and The Three Musketeers at Greater Boston Stage Company.

* denotes member of Actor’s Equity Association
** denotes member of United Scenic Artists (USA-Locat 829)
*** denotes member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC)


Day Center Section Side Section
Wed Mat $51 $35
Wed/Thur/Fri $67 $47
Sat/Sun $73 $53

November 30 — December 23
8:00 pm

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