On Monday, March 6, during a press conference held at Embassy Suites Hotel, organizers for the 2017 National Black Theatre Festival announced the summer event’s schedule and that Anna Maria Horsford and Obba Babatundé will serve as its celebrity co-chairs.
Horsford and Babatundé, who currently costar as husband and wife, Julius and Vivenne Avant, on the CBS daytime soap opera THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, are best known for their work on television and the stage, respectively. Horsford, came to national attention as Thelma Frye on the 1980s sitcom AMEN and as Dee Baxter on the Warner Brothers sitcom THE WAYANS BROS., while Babatunde is best known for his role in the original Broadway production of DREAMGIRLS as the Berry Gordy surrogate, C. C. White, along with appearances in feature films including PHILADELPHIA and THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE.
Both Chairs are looking forward to chairing a summer festival that hopes to inspire individuals to follow their dreams. Babatundé attended the first festival held in 1989. He said seeing the festival grow over the years has been like watching a child grow and to serve as co-chair is an honor. Horsford is excited for the opportunity to showcase a wide variety of African American talent from across the country. Artists from every entertainment medium – actors, writers, directors, designers and producers – will convene from around the country.
The 2017 National Black Theatre Festival is set to begin on Monday, July 31 and end on Saturday, Aug. 5. Hosted by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NCBRC), based in Winston-Salem, the bi-annual event will feature a wide range of theatrical performances, including dramas, comedies and musicals. During the press conference on Monday, March 6, Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin, the widow of NCBRC founder Larry Leon Hamlin, said she is certain that this year’s festival will have something for everyone.