Growing up, Mark Lord, contributing writer for the Queens Chronicle and retired English teacher of 29 years, had an interest in theatre, but never considered writing or directing.
“I’ve been interested in theater since I was about 9 years old,” Lord said. “Not in writing so much, but in performing. I’ve performed on the local and regional level, but I never expected to be writing several shows performed by community theatres.”
In addition to his own acting, Lord also directed in the two high schools where he previously taught.
As the Chronicle sent Lord out to cover various stories, he became fascinated by the history and presence of Queens and its citizens.
What eventually came from his inquiry of Queens was the creation of a musical, “Let’s Hear It for Queens!”, which ran last year at the Free Synagogue of Flushing.
Lord’s production garnered the attention of Carl Clay, founder of the Black Spectrum Theatre, who approached Lord about bringing such a production to his theatre in Jamaica.
“He wanted me to change a few things; have more of a focus on the area of Southeast Queens,” Lord said. “It changed so much that it’s become an entirely new show — or spinoff, really.” Black Spectrum’s music and sound director, Derek Galloway, will be assisting Lord in his musical composition. For Lord, this will be his first musical performed on the professional level.
Lord’s show, “The History of SoutheastQueens: The Musical!”, is just one of many productions announced this week for the upcoming 2014-15 season at the Black Spectrum Theatre.
The schedule will celebrate its 45th season with a variety of events, including a concert series with Norman Conners and Jean Carne on Nov. 22.
In addition, Kenny Brawner, a teacher at IS 189 in Flushing, is back with his popular musical tribute to the late Ray Charles on Dec. 13 and Feb. 14, 2015.
The show was performed at Flushing Town Hall in June and was well-received by all those who attended.
Entitled “Kenny Brawner is Ray Charles,” the show features a 12-piece orchestra and three sultry vocalists.
With the Black Spectrum Theatre’s celebration of its 45th season comes the first Spirit and Harmony Festival, featuring Freddie McGregor, which will take place on Sept. 13 starting at noon.
The special event is a partnership between the Black Spectrum Theatre and the International African Arts Festival and will feature a marketplace, music and dance.
Founded in 1970, the Black Spectrum Theatre’s mission is one of “…social and cultural consciousness through the production and presentation of message-oriented theatre and films …”
The theatre company has presented over 1,500 performances, including 150 theatrical productions.
In accordance with Lord, the history of Southeast Queens musical will be presented in February 2015, which “ties in nicely with Black History Month,” Lord said.
Tickets will become available for these events after Aug. 20, when season passes will also be released. The package of $200 includes 14 events of the season for a savings of over $100.
The season pass does not include the VIP ticket for the Spirit and Harmony Festival, as that will be sold for $75 and is all-inclusive to the event. Individually, these tickets sell for $25 a piece; the Little Folks Theatre Series tickets start at $8.