One Man’s Story will be staged at the Philharmonic Hall on Friday, September 7 as part of celebrations for the 10th anniversary of Liverpool charity Genie In The Gutter – raising vital funds for the organisation as well as awareness of its work.
The production, directed by Jen Heyes and with musical direction by Mark Anthony Jones, tells the transatlantic story of the late “Bongo” Eddie Folk, the Brooklyn-born percussionist from Kid Creole and the Coconuts who came to Liverpool, had his much loved son here, and made the city on the Mersey his home, before meeting and falling in love with Carolyn Edwards, founder and Director of Genie In The Gutter. The production features live music, dance and theatrical performance and the full cast will be announced soon.
It explores his against-the-odds rise, taking its audience from his upbringing in 1950s Brooklyn to his success as a world-class percussionist and vocalist, including a 30-year career with Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and the years he spent living in Liverpool.
“Bongo” Eddie was a patron of Genie In The Gutter, which supports people in recovery through creative and performance arts. One Man’s Story will involve clients both on stage and behind the scenes, working alongside a fantastic team of theatre professionals.
The show has been written by Genie In The Gutter’s Carolyn Edwards, and it also charts their love story – along with her grief at his death from cancer in 2016, and the creative awakening she has experienced since.
Carolyn Edwards said: “This production is very special to me. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time – a professional musical theatre show that fully integrates marginalised groups offering continued opportunities, with emerging professional and high-profile performers.
“My dream became solidified through both intense grief and severe adversity – Eddie was my soul mate, I lost him after a very brief battle with cancer in 2016, and at the same time lost 90% of the funding for the charity I founded and run, despite having been awarded The Mayor’s Award for Most Profound Impact and Social Innovation on Merseyside.
“To turn Genie around and deal with my grief I created ConYoBongo – a fusion of contemporary yoga inspired dance with poetic storytelling, performed to live music, bongo and conga drums. ConYoBongo is co-producing One Man’s Story with Genie In The Gutter, the hope is that the show garners enough support from our city for its first showing, and then becomes a really successful theatre production.
“This will enable Genie and all the people that come to us for support, to realise their full potentials, of which both the organisation and clients are bursting with.”
Director Jen Heyes added: “It’s a new work, so it’s really exciting to be the one to get it on its feet and premiere in front of Liverpool audiences. It’s a very special performance, created especially for Genie In The Gutter to mark their 10th anniversary.
“There are many reasons I was attracted to working on One Man’s Story. From an artistic point of view, Carolyn is gathering an extraordinary creative team to work on the production.
“And Genie In The Gutter is a fabulous organisation that supports so many vulnerable people in Liverpool by offering them opportunities to change their lives through creativity, mentoring and personal support.”
ONE MAN’S STORY
Friday 7 September 2018 at 7.30pm
£17, £20, £25 and £30.
HOW TO BOOK
Online: Visit www.liverpoolphil.com
By Phone: Call 0151 709 3789
In person: Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BP