Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 In Review: BUSY BUSY BUSY

WOW.  I took some time over the New Year's Break to look back at the last 365. And it was nonstop. No wonder I'm feeling a little worn out.   

Here was a lot of the good news on the writer/producer front: 

  • Anti-Inauguration Emergency Cabaret with Cynthia Bond, Hi Concept Labs
  • Tutterow Fellow Showcase, Program Kick Off with Chicago Dramatists
  • Inauguration Blues at Chicago Dramatists 

February 2017
  • Otherwise Oblivion Published in special Afro-futurism volume of OBSIDIAN: Literature and Arts in the African Diaspora. 

March 2017
  •  Kick off Bring the Beat Back Campaign with my team!
  •  THAWALLS Event Volunteer Marketing Chair - with LINKS Hall and Threewalls
  • Joined The Dramatists Guild

April 2017
  • Bring the Beat Back @ JACK and The Drama League
  • Lyric Opera Chicago Voices Preparation
  • New Play Commission Pitch Session with Chicago Dramatists for Tutterow Fellowship

May 2017

  • The Lyric Opera of Chicago - Chicago Voices New Work Development Begins

June 2017
  • First Table Read for Serious Adverse Effects at NBT

July 2017
  • Post Production Complete for Stephanie Jeter’s Searching for Isabelle Short Film
  • Creative Development Begins for Hair Story: A Pilot for Serial Dreamer, with OPEN TV-Beta

Sept 2017
Check out our BOW at The Harris Theater

October 2017
  • First Cold Read of New Play in Chicago Dramatists Tutterow Program

November 2017
  • Stephanie Jeter’s Searching For Isabelle – First Public Screening at Black Cinema House (Producer) 
  • November 11 Citizen Jane in Paragon Play Festival 
  • Bring the Beat Back @ Hi-ARTS

The cast and creative team for Bring the Beat Back at Hi-ARTS!

December 2017

  • Private 29 Hour Workshop for Serious Adverse Effects
  • Principal Photography Completed for Hair Story: A Pilot for Serial Dreamer with the team at OPEN-TV Beta. 
Here's Saya Naomi and Erik Lamar Wallace in HAIR STORY...

Monday, September 25, 2017

Check Out the Review: Chicago Voices Community Created Performances

Guess What,

The Harris Theatre was packed for the presentation of STORIES AND SONGS OF CHICAGO at the Harris Theater earlier this month.  It was the culmination of a whole summer worth of hard work as part of the team the Lyric Opera assembled for Community Created Performances.  

I'm really proud of the work we did together, and was thrilled to see this review of the show:

Blu Rhythm Collective, Community Created Performances, 2017. Photo: Michael Brosilow.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Fire This Times: Amplifying the Voice of the Community Through Stor...

The Fire This Times: Amplifying the Voice of the Community Through Stor...: For the second year in a row, TFTT founding playwright and producer Derek McPhatter has re-teamed with Chicago's Lyric Opera to coll...

Monday, March 27, 2017


Join us in bringing a unique live performance to life!

Bring the Beat Back is a queer, black, sci-fi music theater experience. An amazing team is coming together for the next step: concert performances slated for April 2017. This will be the first time we present the show with a live audience, part performance, part dance party. Your support will ensure the show's success, and make it possible for our creative team to continue its development.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Coming up in January: Emergency Cabaret and Tutterow Fellow Showcase


January is here and we're in high gear.

Two presentations coming right up, first on Jan 20:

I'm presenting a performative essay at this Emergency Cabaret event presented by Creativebond and High Concept Labs.

And then on January 28th:

I'll have a short play at Chicago Dramatists on January 28, as part of the Tutterow Fellowship (more on that in a bit):

More soon!  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

New Plays in Print - Two New Anthologies

And now for a bit of shameless self promotion!

I've had quite a wonderful year on the creative side and I've got news on the latest anthologies to feature my work.

Be sure to check them out and keep them in mind as stocking-stuffers for your holiday gift-giving!


About this Play
Unless a computer engineer in the distant future can uncover the truth about a gay bashing event in our time, the incident will be deleted from history. But no one is being honest: not the victim, not the assailant, and certainly not their mothers.  

Future-shock and culture-clash abound as the narrative brings audiences to a Historically Black College to explore paradigms of memory, forgiveness and hope. 

This play has legs now and really came to life after its workshop at The Tank. So I want to thank that creative team one more time:  Seitu Jemel Hart (Producer) Pat Golden (Director), T.C. Newman (Stage Manager) and a great cast: Juan Javier Cardenas, Bridgit Antoinette Evans, Anthony Gaskins, Renita Martin, Yvonne de Salle (Same), Jaime Lincoln Smith, and Renee Williams.

The Cast from 2010: Renee, Yvonne, Anthony, Renita, Bridgit, Jaime and Juan!

About this Anthology
I'm honored to have work in Indie Theater Now's Plays and Playwrights 2017 anthology, part of an annual series that showcases some of the favorite titles they've published over the past 12 months or so.  It's a great bargain of an e-book, with The Lattice Crashes alongside new work from J. Julian Christopher, Jessica Litwak, and more.




(available on Amazon)

About this Play
In this short play, black revolutionaries are planning an Obama-era protest in a secret dimension, but there may be a traitor in their midst. This narrative is inspired by Douglas Turner Ward's play, Day of Absence.  

Special thanks to the creative team that brought this one to life in 2011: Director Russell G. Jones, and cast members:  Crystal Dickinson, Laura E. Johnston and Marcus Naylor. 

Marcus, Crystal, Me, Laura and Russell!

About this Anthology
In August 2011, I was one of 6 playwrights invited to the very first season of 48 Hours in... Harlem, a theater festival that brings together a rotating roster of black playwrights, directors and actors to reimagine classics in the black theater canon.  Flash forward a few years and that festival is entering its 7th season, has an Obie under its belt and just launched a new sister series in The Bronx.

This is the first of what I believe will be be many publications made possible by the awesome team at Harlem9.  So I'm honored to be in this first anthology, alongside the artists from seasons 1 and 2!

More Soon
I do have one more project with a publishing commitment I was hoping to announce before the end of the year, but it looks like that will be a 2017 surprise.

So that's it for now.


Merry Happy Best Wishes and Much Respect!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

work-in-process: recap of our Oct 15th messages from mamaship presentation

The creative team that gathered around our Oct 15th show SLAYED DOWN THE HOUSE!

I couldn’t be happier with the collaborative process that's building out the music for Bring the Beat Back, my black gay sci-fi music theater piece.

I’m still beaming with joy from how everything turned out with our work-in-progress presentation on October 15th, hosted @ REUNION (a studio space operated by Kristen Kaza and Elijah McKinnon).

What’s Next? I’ve got plans coming together for an NYC presentation in April 2017.

Between now and then I’ll be hard at work:  integrating some amazing musical material into the text of the play, and exploring ways to leverage all this content beyond the live experience, possibly including a mixtape release, a music video release, and/or curated listening / dance party events.

So I'm gonna be busy.  But in the meantime…


Myra M. Boone – who co-produced the whole she-bang!

Me and Myra
Photo by Nikki B. 

avery r. young has embodied the character of the captain as he created music for mamaship megarhythmic. He worked closely with Lamar "Juslove" Smith to lay down original vocals over some funky grooves. 

And for the live presentation, avery brought in three more vocalists, filling out the funky soundscape,Tina M. Howell, Kameco Dodd and Marcus Davis as THE KREW.

“The Krew” of mamaship during the performance.

Meanwhile, ALEXA GRÆ has embodied the character of Dayton MacNamara Black, the protagonist of the play.

Prior to the show, Alexa joined me at Collaboraction Studios' Vault performance space, as we filmed Dayton solo pieces with filmmaker Jessica King (King is a Fink Productions). 

We then projected that footage via "two way tv" during the Oct 15th presentation. 

To give people a little more feel for the narrative, we also had one comedic monologue in the mix.

Kyra Jones played Trudy Tru Boo MacNamara Black (Dayton’s sister).

And there's more thanks to go around, in particular:

Esther “fempow” Alegria created the lqqks with an assist from Angie Perez.


Hijo Pródigo. – who laid down an awesome soundscape vibe for the entire evening.

Myra, Me and Jessica King from King is a Fink!
Photo by Nikki B.

Julie and Jessica from King is a Fink!
A Pic of the Squad - Photo by Nikki B. 

Missed the show on Oct 15? Subscribe to the mailing list at to stay in the loop!


Photography by Nikki B. 

REUNION (venue host)
Collaboraction Studios (venue host)
Under the Spell Productions, Inc. 

Aymar Jean Christian, Ph.D.

This project is partially supported by an Individual Artist Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.