This Sunday at the Kings Theater, a cast of 120 local and Broadway performers will reinvent the classic musical Annie, with a politically relevant twist — Annie grows up to become the first ever African-American, female president of the United States.
“With all the buzz around Hillary Clinton and support for Michelle Obama, I felt like it was a great time to tell that story,” said Karisma Jay, the show’s director and Founder of the AbunDance Academy of the Arts. The non-profit, located in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, offers classes in multicultural dance, martial arts, theater, vocal and music performance. Jay, a native of Clinton Hill, is a longtime performer and mentor for local dance students of all ages.
Jay has a multi-disciplinary background that informs her teaching. “I have so many students that think in different ways. I have degrees in math education, so a lot of what I do comes from an algebraic standpoint. We have to be quick on our feet and think globally; there’s constant configuration in movement and abundance.”
AbunDance reaches out to the Prospect Lefferts Gardens community with some full scholarships and low sliding scale fees. “We receive grants from Brooklyn Arts Council, but we have to be creative,” said Jay. Last year, I participated in a dance competition called The Stars Of New York Dance. I created a number similar to dirty dancing, we won, and we got $5,000 to give in scholarships to students.”
For Annie, Abundantly! Jay wrote the script, choreographed, and narrated the entire show for the cast of local perfomers young and old, along with 50 parent volunteers backstage. “There are so many ways in which I added my own flair, like when they go to the movies Daddy Starbucks (instead of Daddy Warbucks!) takes them on different trips, it’s a constant art inclusion program.”
Jay said that running a show takes a lot of dancing, both literally and metaphorically. “Communication is key,” said Jay, “but because I love what I do, it’s never work. I’m sharing what I learn as I learn it.”
Jay felt a connection to Prospect Lefferts immediately. “The location chose me… when I walked in I knew this was it. It had a great energy, and it’s a burgeoning neighborhood. We have storefront windows, so now everyone recognizes it by the ballerinas in pink tutus,” she said.
Take a sneak peak as the kids prepare for this weekend’s performance of Annie, AbunDantly!
See the show: Annie, AbunDantly! comes to the Kings Theater, 1027 Flatbush Avenue, between Tilden & Duryea, on Sunday, June 26 at 6:00 PM. Tickets are $45.
Annie, AbunDantly! was produced with support by The Brooklyn Arts Council, Department of Cultural Affairs’ Su-Casa program, NYC Department of Aging, East Flatbush Village, Inc. and Councilmember Jumaane Williams.
Enroll in arts classes: AbunDance Academy Arts accepts students on a rolling basis, and takes into account their level when placing students in classes. To enroll or learn more about classes, visit their website or call at 347-788-1069