New show 'Turn' showcases experiences of Black women in Shakespearean context

Antionette Lee
February 08, 2020 - 10:13 am
M'Balia Singley, who created and performs the show "Turn" at the Kimmel Center.

Courtesy Angela Faranda

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — In honor of Black History Month, the city is booming with events that showcase Black contributions to the arts and society. The Kimmel Center has a number of low-cost and free events, including a show by a woman who was feautured on Grammy-nominated artist John Legend's first album.

"I hope they walk out and thank the first Black woman they see," said M'Balia Singley, playfully. The artist described her show, "Turn," as a love letter to Black women.

"It is a play that includes original songs," she described. "There are about eight or nine original songs that I've written. I do play piano and guitar, and sing, and I tell you stories as they relate to my life and to Shakespeare's 'Othello.'" 

The Yale graduate was born and raised in the Philadelphia area, and created the show during her time as an artist in residency at the Kimmel Center in 2018. In addition to showcasing her musical, acting, and writing talents, Singley said she planned to get the audience in on the fun. 

"It's an uncurated experience," she explained. "I think people will laugh. It will make folks reflect on where they see Black women in their lives, how they appreciate Black women."

Jay Wahl, producing artistic director at the Kimmel Center, said we shouldn't let her be modest because the show is really good.  

"It's a really funny and moving story around how she has found herself in our society," he said.

But you can be the judge. The show opens the last week of February. 

Wahl also said there are plenty of other fun events leading up to the big finale.