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Featuring music by Derek McPhatter, Avery R. Young, @ALEXA GRÆ, Germono Toussaint, Manchildblack, and DJ Alinka

Directed by Christopher Burris
Choreography by Darling Shear

Bring The Beat Back - The Musical is a queer, black, sci-fi, music-theatre experience. The show follows a young man struggling to reconcile his sexuality with his faith. Our hero journeys towards self- acceptance and affirming spirituality as conservative religious authorities and a queer subculture clash over music at the center of his world. Set in a futuristic, groove-centered alternative reality, Bring the Beat Back is inspired by urban gay “ball culture,” the evolution of house music and the rich Afro-futurist tradition in popular culture.

Bring the Beat Back has been developed with support from Andre Alexander Lancaster's Freedom Train Productions, Earthseed Visions, Hi-ARTS, JACK, DCASE, The Drama League of New York, and the Polyphone Music Festival at the University of the Arts.

Performances: September 13 - September 29

Friday's & Saturday's at 7:30pm

Sunday's at 2:30pm

Tickets: $25, $15 students/seniors


Derek Lee McPhatter is committed to new work that engages diverse communities, emphasizing narratives at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality and technology. Recent plays include: This App is Not the Business, a corporate America cyberspace dramedy, and Bring the Beat Back, a queer, black, sci-fi, music-theatre experience. Derek is currently a Tutterow Fellow at Chicago Dramatists where he is developing a new play on American political ambition, and a resident playwright at The National Black Theatre (Harlem) where he is writing a new play on technologies of healing. His works have been presented by The Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), The Drama League, Hi-ARTS, Otherworld Theatre Company, JACK, and the inaugural seasons of two Obie award-winning festivals: The Fire This Time Festival and 48 Hours in Harlem.  Publications include Otherwise Oblivion, a featured play in the 2016 afrofuturism volume of Obsidian - Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora.

In 2012, Derek received a Guy Hanks & Marvin Miller Screenwriting Fellowship at the University of Southern California, launching an active slate of film and television projects. In 2017, he worked as a consulting producer with OTV | Open Television, leading script development for a new digital pilot: Hair Story. He co-created She’s Out of Order, which received an Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Award at Los Angeles Webfest 2015. His work has been supported by grants and prizes from the Jerome Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, the Propeller Fund, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the United States Embassy in the United Kingdom, to name a few. 


Derek holds a Bachelor of Arts from Morehouse College and a Master of Arts in Humanities from New York University. He is originally from Pickerington, Ohio and splits his time between Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.


Donald Fitzdarryl as the Captain

Jasmine Marie Jones as Lady Ace

Bernell Lassai as Raymond Davidson Prescott

Dann R. Lynch as Deputy Deacon Duncan Studness

Tia Pinson as Trudy MacNamara Black

Donovan Session as Dayton MacNamara Black  

Alexis Ward as the Baroness