Downtown Urban Arts Festival celebrates 20th anniversary with acclaimed gay hip-hop love story.
June 3 – 25 at Theatre Row

Buy tickets HERE

Downtown Urban Arts Festival celebrates its 20th Anniversary with James Earl Hardy’s B-BOY BLUES THE PLAY. Directed by Broadway World Award nominee Christopher Burris, performances will run June 3 – 25 at Theatre Row (410 W 42nd Street) as the centerpiece of the 2022 Festival. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8pm with an additional performance Saturday, June 25 at 2pm. (No performance June 24.) Tickets are $25, available at www.duafnyc.com.

Opposites do attract. Class and culture clash when a journalist and a homeboy bike messenger fall in love. B-BOY BLUES THE PLAY is based on James Earl Hardy’s groundbreaking, best-selling novel series that has been praised as the first gay hip-hop love story.

B-BOY BLUES THE PLAY stars Ashton Harris, Bry'Nt, Damone Williams, Jermaine Montell, Kenè Chelo Ortiz, Reginald L. Barnes, Stephfon Guidry, and Tieisha Thomas.

James Earl Hardy is the author of the bestselling B-Boy Blues series, including B-Boy Blues (1994), praised as the first gay hip hop love story. The novel was a 1995 Lammy finalist and was prominently featured in Spike Lee's Get on the Bus. The book is required reading in contemporary African American fiction courses and gay & lesbian studies programs at colleges and universities internationally. The other titles in the series are: 2nd Time Around (1996); If Only For One Nite (1997); The Day Eazy-E Died (2001); Love The One You're With (2002); A House is Not a Home (2005); "Is It Still Jood To Ya?" (featured in Visible Lives: Three Stories in Tribute to E. Lynn Harris - 2010); and Men of the House (2018), an Amazon Top 10 LGBT Bestseller. For his groundbreaking work, Mr. Hardy received the 2017 James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize from Lambda Literary. His first short story collection, Can You Feel What I'm Saying? (2012), was a Rainbow Book Award Finalist, and he has penned biographies on Spike Lee and Boyz II Men. The film version of B-Boy Blues (directed by Jussie Smollett) won the Fan Favorite Audience Award at the American Black Film Festival; it will make its official streaming/theatrical debut later this year.

Christopher Burris is an artist and educator. He’s an adjunct professor at Pace University, associate producer for The New Black Fest, a trainer with Ovation Communications, and a member of Home in the Time of Brooklyn (651 Arts). He directed The Brothers Size at Luna Stage, which received five 2016 Broadway World Award nominations including Best Play and Best Director. Other directing credits include the world premiere of GEESE (Samuel D. Hunter) at The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and When We Wake Up Dead (Dennis A. Allen) at Brooklyn College. Christopher directed Potato Salad (Keith Josef Adkins) for the inaugural year of the Obie-winning 48 Hours in Harlem, as well as the first four years of Obie-winning Fire This Time Festival, culminating in their premiere full-length production, Lords Resistance (Camille Darby). As an actor, he has been seen on television (The Guiding Light, Damage Control, As the World Turns), stage (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse), commercials (Dr. Scholl’s, ESPN360, NY Post), and a host of voice-overs (including Grand Theft Auto V, McDonald’s, AT&T). AEA/SDC (Associate) Member. Social Media: @misterburris

In 2001, the theater program at DOWNTOWN URBAN ARTS FESTIVAL was founded with the purpose to build a repertoire of new American theatre that echoes the true spirit of urban life and speaks to a whole new generation whose lives defy categorizing along conventional lines. Over the past 20 years, DUAF has presented nearly 300 new plays by over 200 emerging and established playwrights including Dominique Morisseau, Martyna Majok, Nelson Diaz-Marcano, Carl Hancock Rux, Craig MuMs Grant, and Ming Peiffer. It has been recognized as "one of the world's best festivals for new works" and described as "not only prestigious, but a slice of heaven for playwrights who want the chance to freely express themselves." (Lisa Mulcahy, Theater Festivals, Allworth Press, 2005). DUAF works have been presented at venues including Cherry Lane, HERE, Joe’s Pub, Abrons Arts Center, Wild Project and Nuyorican Poets Café.

DOWNTOWN URBAN ARTS FESTIVAL is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Arcos Communications is a Founding Sponsor of DUAF. It is presented by Creative Ammo Inc., receiving support as part of the Coalition Theaters of Color, a New York City Council initiative to support the operations and programming of theaters and cultural organizations primarily in communities of color.


Pictured above:
Dyllon Burnside (Pose, Thoughts Of A Colored Man) & Jas Anderson
in DUAF's original 2014 staging of B-BOY BLUES THE PLAY at HERE in 2013
Photo courtesy IAJ - It's All Jood, Inc.