Contact Person:  C. Ottley, National Media Relations: hatstalk2@comcast.net  
(New York, NY) – If This Hat Could Talk, an incredible musical of passion, power and triumph,  covers the Civil Rights Movement from 1924-1972 as reflected through the experiences and relationships of civil rights legend Dr. Dorothy I. Height, Chair Emeritae of The National Council of Negro Women.  Performances will be held at the Apollo Theater for a limited 7 performance run Thursday, March 22 through Sunday March 25.  It’s more than a play: it’s education, its entertainment, its faith in action, it’s a movement.  In supporting this most timely musical celebration you change a generation and celebrate another.  It’s an experience for the entire family. 
 “This is a Must See!” says poet Dr. Maya Angelou. If This Hat Could Talk production is written, directed and choreographed by Tony Award Winner George Faison, playwright and director of numerous hits including the Wiz, The Josephine Baker Story and more recently Tin Pan Alley Rag.  Original song lyrics and music were written by Co-Executive Producer, Joe Coleman, lead vocalist of the renowned singing group, The Platters.  This musical is compared to the best on Broadway and hailed as the heartbeat of generations past, present and future.  The production highlights the unique role of women in the Civil Rights Movement through characterizations such as Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, Coretta Scott King and Eleanor Roosevelt as well as the courageous men they supported such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., A. Philip Randolph, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Robert Kennedy.A special Civil Rights Living Legend Celebration and Tribute to Dr. Height will take place on Saturday, March 24th .  The VIP reception is sponsored by Verizon. Other sponsors for the production are The Proctor and Gamble Company, CVS, Wal-Mart; and TV One. Dr. Height will be in attendance to recognize those legislative and corporate leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to Youth For Excellence.  Those recognized include (partial list): Congressman Charles Rangel, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Congressman Edward Townes, Congressman Donald Payne; Congressman Yvette Clark; and State Senator David Patterson. Curtiss Smith,  Senior Manager, Wal-Mart African American Markets  says, ” If This Hat Could Talk takes you through an emotional rollercoaster that causes one to reflect on the value of life and what it took to preserve life for us all.  Every man, woman and child should experience this phenomenal musical.  Dr. Dorothy Height, thank you for a life of exemplary service and sacrifice that this country may enjoy the fruits of your labor.”   Only seven (7) performances.  Tickets for performances start Thursday March 22- Sunday March 25 with evening performances at 8 pm except, Sunday at 7:30 pm; and Matinees: Saturday, Noon – 2; Sunday 3:00 pm.  Tickets start at $40 ($35 group rates; $50 for opening night reception and performance.)  Call the Apollo Theater Box Office (212) 531-5305 or Ticketmaster (212) 307-7171.   A key commitment of this musical is an educational component, The Dorothy I. Height Youth for Excellence Initiative (YFE).   Two free matinees will be held for Youth For Excellence (YFE) students from the New York Public Schools. They will also participate in scholarship opportunities, and hear testimonials from local heroes and sheroes of our times.  According to Bob McDonald, Vice Chairman of Procter & Gamble, “We at P&G are very proud to be a part of bringing to the youth of today the important lessons of the past, as a way to honor those who have worked so hard for equal rights and access.”  Family Dollar an YFE sponsor says like Procter & Gamble Family Dollar is proud to be associated with a program that gives back to the youth in the African American Community and raise awareness on the importance of staying in school and getting an education.” About the Dr. Dorothy I. Height Youth For Excellence Initiative (YFE) Free Matinees and Scholarships: Thursday, March 22; and Friday, March 23 from  10:30 am – 1:30 pm. The New York Public Schools in collaboration with numerous community-based organizations, local media, and civic leaders will support 4,000 youth to attend free matinees and participate in the scholarship program valued at over $320,000 nation-wide through the combined contributions of Walgreens and The Procter & Gamble Company, maker of brands such as Cover Girl Queen, Crest, Pantene, Prilosec, Vicks, Tide, Downy, and Pringles.   

The free matinees are an outgrowth of Dr. Dorothy Height’s vision to develop informed future leaders. Each matinee will be hosted by various popular media personalities.  The Youth for Excellence Initiative (YFE) targets grades 7-12 and offers students an opportunity to understand the history behind the Civil Rights issues through the use of entertainment.  Students will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A discussion with local heroes and sheroes of the Civil Rights Movement and cast members.   VanJo Productions, The Skinner Leadership Institute, Freddie Mac and the Discovery Channel will provide students and teachers with resource materials on the Civil Rights Movement to enable them to continue learning and teaching about the Civil Rights Movement. Teachers will also receive an anti-bullying kit  titled: Don’t Laugh at Me developed by Peter Yarrow of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary. Behind the Scenes of the Production:If This Hat Could Talk Tony Award Winner George Faison, Playwright and Director, is the directed/choreographed/writer of the production.  One of George Faison best known works is the Broadway hit The Wiz.  He won a Tony, Drama Desk and Carbonell Award for his choreography.  He was nominated for another Tony Award for Porgy and Bess and received an Emmy Nomination for the HBO movie, The Josephine Baker Story. Faison has staged and directed concerts and videos for such musical greats as Ashford & Simpson, Natalie Cole, Earth, Wind & Fire, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder and Miles Davis. Most recently, Faison was nominated for a Carbonell Award for his choreography for Tin Pan Alley Rag. 

Joe Coleman wrote the highly acclaimed original music and lyrics for the production If this Hat Could Talk.  Coleman is currently on leave from his role as lead singer of The Platters.  He has performed with some of the greatest performers in the business including Barbara Streisand on her Finale Tour, Smokey Robinson, Lou Rawls, The Temptations, and The Isley Brothers. He has performed across the United States, Asia, and
Europe.  Coleman also performs in the musical. His theatrical credits include Nuthin’ But the Blues, Mamma I Want to Sing, and Heaven and a Homeboy written and directed by George Faison.
 If This Hat Could Talk showcases a star-studded cast headlined by Margaret Bell, Natalie Wilson, and Tony Terry with appearances by vocalist and Co-Executive Producer, Joe Coleman. Margaret Bell, starring as Dr. Dorothy Height, is the younger sister of the famous gospel singer Vanessa Armstrong.  Her critical début album is: Over and Over.  
Bell is no stranger to the stage. She has starred in several Broadway and Off Broadway productions including If These Hips Could Talk along side legendary actor Billy Dee Williams, Don’t Get God Started, God’s Tambourine and Spiritual.
Natalie Wilson, starring as Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, is a contemporary recording artist and ordained Minister.  She is the first woman to ever lead a nationally known major label gospel choir, S.O.P. Choral.
Wilson has appeared on BET, Bobby Jones’ Gospel Showcase and she has released two top albums: Girl Director in 2000 and Good Life in 2003.
Tony Terry, starring in a dual role as Dr. Martin Luther and Malcolm X, is an award winning R&B singer and actor and one of the industry’s most loved balladeers with a hit list of love songs that include: With You, She’s Fly, Everlasting Love and Lovey, Dovey.  He has received numerous awards for With You and Soul Train Awards nominations.  He recently performed with Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, and currently is on tour with Roberta Flack.  His theatrical productions include Mamma I Want to Sing, The WIZ, His Woman, His Wife, and Tall Dark and Handsome. Terry’s latest venture has landed him on the top of the gospel charts with Praise Him from his current album, Change.  
About Our Sponsors & Multi-City TourIf This Hat Could Talk is produced by VanJo Productions in conjunction with Westvision Entertainment and Skinner Leadership Institute and supported nationally by The Procter & Gamble Company, Walgreens, Family Dollar, CVS, Wal-Mart, Kroger, Coca-Cola, and TV One.  The musical is touring major cities throughout the United States with
Cincinnati, OH, the last appearance on the 2007 tour.
For more information, log onto www.vanjoproductions.com or call our hotline at

Contact Person to schedule interviews: C. Ottley, National Media Relations: e-mail hatstalk2@comcast.net


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