Inspired by the Emmy Award Winning Documentary “Dance Party: The Teenarama Story,” “Dancing on the Air: The Teenarama Story” is both a snapshot of a pivotal time in American history and a unique coming-of-age story. This exuberant musical is filled with hot 1960’s hits, new original hits, and an exciting display of dance styles that define the 1960’s. While revealing some of the most complex social mores within the segregated black community, it celebrates its resilience, its accomplishments, and the enduring power of its music and dance.
When the show opens, a group of mature African Americans assemble in front of an old brick building in the shadows of a tall antiquated television antenna. It’s the former home of WOOK, one of the earliest television stations in the country with programming for African Americans. They have come together for a ceremony that will mark the building as a historical landmark, when they begin to reminisce.
The reign of the delegations from the uptown schools is eventually compromised when a new dancer glides in from “East of the River,” THERESA, a brown-skinned stunner who steals the show with her style of the popular dance of the day, “The Boogaloo.” Following THERESA’S swift rise to popularity, a more diverse group of youth begins to pour into the studio week after week. Some regulars embrace the new dancers, while others, especially LIL BITS, fiercely sought to protect their status on the show. Meanwhile, the popular and favored “sweetheart,” LITA, falls for one of the newcomers, CASH, a cool brown “block boy” from farther downtown. These conflicts drove some of the originals off the show, while others were drafted, became pregnant or simply aged out of Teenarama, graduating from high school. There was even an exodus of the Creative Team, when the stress of the job severely impacted TEX’s health, others were drafted, and BOB KING was accused of illegal practices. The original era of Teenarama ends, but the show lives on.
Capitol City Readers Theater is a platform for the discovery and presentation of local emerging playwrights and classical African-American writers. Readings are presented every other month. Full menu and bar will be available during this event.
$10 minimum donation
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-387-0313