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Our Monthly Newsletter - March 2024

What’s Ahead for Alliance for New Music-Theatre in 2024?

We are stepping up our activities this season in anticipation of celebrating in 2024-25 season our 30-Year Anniversary of our humble beginnings as a workshop for local artists to advance their collaborative capacities to experiment in the many art forms of music-theatre.


DC Emancipation & The Right to Vote

On March 14 at 7:00 pm, Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG) hosts Alliance for New Music-Theatre in a preview event of its work-in-development, which uses theatre to address and celebrate key figures and events in local African American history of the mid-19th century that led up to DC‘s early Emancipation, including the first votes cast by African American men in Georgetown’s Rose Park.

Join composer Ronald ‘Trey’ Walton, choreographer Dr. Anita Gonzalez, and cast members of DC Emancipation & The Vote as they share dance selections from the period and representative songs from Walton’s original score.


The free event will take place at Mount Zion United Methodist Church, the area’s oldest African American congregation and church at 1334 29th Street in Georgetown. Program begins at 7:00 p.m. and is followed immediately by a reception.

We certainly hope you will join us and enjoy being part of the first presentation of this work. The event is free, but please let us know if you plan to attend by emailing us at:

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Ensemble rehearsal at Mt. Zion Church

The Creative Team

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Leading the creative team is DC Composer Ronald 'Trey' Walton III. The new project marks Walton’s second commission by New Music-Theatre. The first in 2022 was Voices of Zion: The Black Georgetown Cemeteries Project, a work in partnership with Dumbarton Church and the then-named Mount Zion and Female Union Band Cemeteries Foundation. The company was inspired by the stories of the ancestors who lie buried in two adjacent African American cemeteries in the heart of Georgetown.

Music Director Evelyn Simpson Curenton, a nationally revered musician who has worked with opera superstars including Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman and who is steeped in the tradition of historic Black church music, will also lead piano/vocal score workshop readings and an open orchestral workshop. We are happy to announce our partnership with Dr. Anita Gonzalez, director, writer and choreographer, and professor and Head of the Arts Department at Georgetown University,

DC Emancipation & The Right to Vote builds onto that story with another important chapter of history about the African Americans who helped forge our city, built community, and leveraged their collective power to make DC the first in the nation to legalize city-wide emancipation. Several of our cast members and their characters have continued on this journey with New Music-Theatre, invested fully in sharing an important story through the transformative power of music-theatre.

We believe the current work will have even greater historic “place-making” significance for our entire city. The plan is to mount the fully orchestrated work with a cast of ten in April 2025 as part of the city-wide celebration of DC Emancipation.

Read more about the project HERE.


Community Events & Partners


Alliance for New Music-Theatre is proud of its tri-partite mission of developing and producing original works, nurturing artists, and engaging community. Testament, especially to the last, has been the long relationships, cultivated over years, in communities we serve.

Together, we uncover more of the richly complex history of our city. Nowhere is this more true than Georgetown.


We recommend the following organizations for you to “dig deeper” into  the neighborhood and our city’s history.

Join us in "Changing the Conversation through the Arts.


 Tudor Place

From February 6 through April 21, Tudor Place will offer, Ancestral Spaces: People of African Descent at Tudor Place. Curated in collaboration with descendants, including Hannah Pope (nee Hannah Cole Williams,) featured in DC Emancipation & The Vote. The special installation and guided tour presents the multi-faceted individuals and families of African descent who lived and worked at Tudor Place.  Explore the historic house through their lives, learn how they impacted the world around them and discover their enduring legacy. Visit their Website for more information: Tudor Place – America's Story Lives Here


Black Georgetown Foundation

Mt Zion Church and Female Union Band Society Cemeteries are two of the oldest Black cemeteries in Georgetown and greater Washington, DC. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and designated as a UNESCO Slave Route Project site of memory. In addition to commemorative events such as Juneteenth, DC Emancipation Libation &Reading, and Presidents’ Day, guided tours by Executive Director Lisa Fager and others offer an ever-expanding understanding of the cemeteries and Georgetown’s Black history.

More information on their websiteHOME | Mount Zion FUBS Historic Georgetown Cemetery | Washington, DC (


Dumbarton and Mount Zion United Methodist Churches

Both in the heart of Georgetown, the two churches have a long and complicated history going back to the latter part of the 18th century. Formerly united and known as the Old Methodist Church, black and white congregants shared both a sanctuary and cemetery, until in 1816, over one hundred African American members walked out, tired of being relegated to the balcony and other racist practices and formed their own church, Mount Zion, the oldest African American congregation in the area. For many years there has been an acknowledgement and reckoning work, not easy certainly for both sides, but members continue the hard, courageous work. Visit both churches. You can support their important missions by going to:  Mt. Zion UMC & Dumbarton UMC.


Featured Artist - Anita Gonzalez

Anita began her great affair with music-theatre at nine years old performing in a school production of Finian’s Rainbow. At the same time, this New Jersey girl began her studies in dance with Katherine Allworthy, under whose leadership she built a strong foundation in dance and dance-and-music-theatre forms, from world folk dance to “pantos,” that Christmas institution as British as treacle or plum pudding.

Her work has gone on to explore story telling from many other cultures, especially with her Woodshed Collective, where invited global artists come together periodically to workshop and sometimes perform physical and movement-based theatre. She is currently hosting artists from South Africa, holding symposia and performing in Georgetown University and on tour.

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In recent years, to her credits as Choreographer and Director, she has added Opera Librettist. She considers opera a natural extension of all the work she has done and has already come to the attention of opera companies around the country. Last year, she submitted a libretto to the Atlanta Opera, won a coveted workshop, and was mentored by renowned librettist Mark Campbell. She was recently elected the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and her work has been awarded by major national and international foundations and other institutions.


This artist maintains a hair-raising schedule, for on top of her artistic projects, she currently is a professor of Performing Arts/African American Studies at Georgetown University and co-Founder/Leader of the school’s Racial Justice Institute.


We are delighted she has joined the team to develop Part II of our Black Georgetown Project, and, as Choreographer, has laid a foundation for the movement and dance language of the piece which will be shared at the March 14 Event at Mount Zion United Methodist Church


Reuben Jackson - Founding Member - In Memoriam

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Reuben Jackson was a DC born and bred poet, his work has appeared in over 40 anthologies. Reuben died February 16 in DC at the age of 67. He will be missed by all our company members for his support over these many years.


Reuben was part of the originating Composer Librettist Studio in 1994 that seeded Alliance for New Music-Theatre. As a writer, he worked on the creative teams with the five original composers and singer-actors in the workshop ensemble. Even then, he brought wry wisdom and self-deprecating humor to the table as well as his considerable poetic musings, which elevated ordinary encounters, family relationships, and Black experiences, bringing them into the light.  He especially loved a good jazz riff when he heard one coming from fellow studio artist such as Andrew White or Anne Lebaron.

He was also a gifted teacher and committed to “passing it on” to young people. 

Reuben’s first book of poems, fingering the keys, won the 1992 Columbia Book Award. He was an archivist with the University of the District of Columbia’s Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives, his love of jazz has been lifelong. He was the host of Vermont Public Radio’s Friday Night Jazz from 2012 - 2018.

For twenty years before that, he was curator of the Duke Ellington Collection at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. 


His music reviews and criticism have appeared in Downbeat, Jazz Times, Jazziz, The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, All About Jazz, and NPR’s All Things Considered. Washington Post obituary HERE.


Our Artists on View in March - Women's Month

Amy K. Bormet

Amy Bormet is an alumna of our 2023 Composer-Librettist Studio in DC and a great collaborator to promote local artists.


In 2011 Amy created the Washington Women in Jazz Festival (WWJF) now in its 14th year and starting Friday, March 8. Read all about it HERE and go experience some amazing music by our local musicians!

 WWJF is an annual festival each March to celebrate the women of the DC jazz community. Bormet and her colleagues develop, promote and lead a wide array of concerts, jam sessions, lectures, panels, discussions, and masterclasses.  A highlight of the festival is the Young Artist Showcase, where high school and college women are given a platform to perform and connect with professional jazz artists. Events take place across the DC region/area and attract diverse audiences from every quadrant. The festival includes widely recognized jazz musicians but focuses on strengthening the unique DC jazz community and creating solidarity with the women who call DC home. Finally, as a result of the WWJF, DC audiences are delighted by incredible performances, young talent is encouraged, and new collaborations are formed.

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Evelyn Simpson-Curenton


Save the date Saturday, March 23,2024 at 1:50 pm. Evelyn, Music Director of New Alliance for New Music Theatre, will be playing the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia for their Organ Day: Gospel Fusion. The Day kicks off at 11:30 AM with a FREE performance from the GRAMMY® Award–winning Philadelphia Orchestra, led by Assistant Conductor Austin Chanu with organist Paul Jacobs. Free tickets are required for this portion of the program; Program includes the Lucas Brown Trio on the Plaza stage at 12:30 PM. Back in Verizon Hall at 1:20 PM, children's activity. Information and tickets HERE

Cara Schaefer

Company member Cara Schaefer is featured in Cantate Chamber Singers' presentation of

Brazil & Argentina on Saturday, March 16 at 5:00 pm at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center, 7995 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD.

The evocative instruments and intricate rhythms of the tango offer a unique and refreshing take on the Latin mass as Cantate Chamber Singers performs Martin Palmeri’s Misa a Buenos Aires (Misatango), featuring mezzo-soprano Cara Schaefer and bandoneonist Heyni Solera. Argentine tango dancers Luis Angel and Rachael Small complement an original interlude by duo Arco y Aire, and a cappella works by Brazilian composers Ernani Aguilar, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Ronaldo Miranda complete the program. More information and tickets HERE.

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Melisa Bonetti

Dominican-American Mezzo-Soprano, Melisa Bonetti, is a versatile singer whose experience encompasses a mix of a vast amount of new works and premieres, as well as many traditional operas and major concert works. As a company member Melisa is one of four principals in the chamber opera On the Road to Arivaca by composer Rosino Serrano and librettist Susan Galbraith. Melisa has a lot going on during March.

- Singing Maddalena in Rigoletto with an Opera San Jose in California March 1 and 3 . Rigoletto | Opera San


- Preview performance with Opera Essentia of selections from “Hell to Antigone” which is an adaptation of Handel’s Admeto, at the Arader Gallery in NYC. Free admission.

Arader Galleries: Rare Maps, Prints and                                        Reviews HERE.


As a small not-for-profit 501(c)3 public charity organization, Alliance for New Music-Theatre’s mission is to:

  1. Nurture the creation, development and production of new works of music-theatre

  2. Foster the development of professional and young artists

  3. Engage audiences in the creative process to promote a deeper understanding and critical appreciation of the transformative power of music-theatre.

We need your support to continue to fulfill our mission. There are many opportunities to provide support at various levels by supporting an artist, a production, or general support.


The Donate page on our website has information about ways to contribute. Donate | New Music-Theatre (

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