Please join us for a special evening at the landmark Chez Josephine as we highlight LEAD's signature intergenerational programming, including our acclaimed podcast LEADing Justice with Dr. Janet Dewart Bell, and a preview of our upcoming presentation of the groundbreaking opera Universal Child: The Story of Emmett Till, with a special performance by members of the cast. We are honored to have present librettist Clare Coss.
Proceeds from this benefit provide LEAD with unrestricted support as we continue to impact the fight for social justice.
Taj A. Brown
Arthur Lee Butler
Joyce S. Johnson
Dr. Naomi Nightingale
Dr. Kitty Muldoon Steel and Lewis Steel
Dr. Blanche Wiesen Cook
The producers of Universal Child have generously given LEAD permission to present the opera in its entirety at a later time. Stay tuned for further information. We thank librettist Clare Coss (left), whose award-winning play Emmett, Down in my Heart is the inspiration for this powerful opera and composer Mary Watkins (right), two champions of social justice and for expanding the roles of women and people of color in opera.
“Born white in a racist world, I was impacted by the 1955 Emmett Till murder when I was a junior at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. The denial of the tragedy on the Jim Crow campus led to my becoming an activist.” — Clare Coss
Clare Coss is a playwright, librettist, and activist convinced that together we have it in our power to create a just and safe world.
Reviews of Universal Child, The Story of Emmett Till
“Congratulations on a stirring performance and a powerful piece. The singers and orchestra all did a wonderful job and you conveyed the message of Emmett Till’s story with great emotion and respect.”
— Paul Cremo, Dramaturg/Metropolitan Opera
“I just watched the Universal Child video. Your libretto and Mary Watkins’ music are so powerful, heartbreaking, moving, as is the outstanding performance! I can’t imagine the years involved to create this extraordinary piece. Bravo to all and to conductor Tania León for her invaluable artistic contribution in bringing the opera to life so expertly.
— Sharon Isbin, Classical Guitarist, Grammy Award Winner
Tuesday, June 20, 2023 - 6:00-8:00 p.m. Eastern
414 W. 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036