This fall my life took a huge turn when I found myself shooting a movie with the esteemed: Ernest Dickerson! Its based on the classic “Dubbelspel” novel by Frank Martinus Arion, it is called DOUBLE PLAY! Many people didn’t know I had left the country for nearly 2 months! It was during the final weeks of my off-Broadway production of Eclipsed. There were rumors about why I left and crazy silly articles online but I’m here to tell you, I had the best reason to take a short break from my play, a lead role in the new Ernest Dickerson feature film, DOUBLE PLAY! Well I am finally back in the states, going to Broadway in February, and of course looking forward to the film coming out but until then stay on the look out for small peeks into our process! Journalist Aramide A. Tinubu came to visit us during our final weeks in Curaçao and it was a cool experience the article was posted on Indiewire.com Shadow and Act!.READ! READ! READ!
Left to right: Isaach De Bankole, Dana Campbell, Saycon Sengbloh, Ernest Dickerson discussing to mustache or not on the set of Double Play
Click here to read the article! Writer Aramide A. Tinubu was among several writers who came to visit us during our adventure in Curaçao!
I’m featured on this new series: FOR THE LOVE OF DANCE with SARITA LOU! It is the year 2015 and as I take it all in I realize what an impactful year 2014 has been! Personally and professionally so many events have happened, I can’t count them all and had not previously posted much of it on SayconTalks blog. One thing that came into my life during my time at Holler If Ya Hear Me, were old friends and people coming back I did a new show reading with Sarita Lou years ago. Ms. Sarita Lou is a class act, she’s a lovely performer, and producer, and interviewer who is fulfilling a dream as she produces a web series called, ” For the Love of Dance with Sarita Lou” As we move into this year there will be some reviews of 2014 events that really should be explored here, including my time singing backgrounds with Ms. Lauryn Hill, causes and events in support of Ebola Crisis reform, and an exciting premiere of a new musical Stagger Lee, but absolutely right now I’m so thrilled to share my episode of the new series: For the Love of Dance with Sarita Lou. This series focuses on dancers and dance and movement and entertainment. Many people don’t know about the separation that occurs in the Musical Theatre world, people who sing and act with movement and choreography as an additional focus are often called “singers who move well.”
Saycon talks on self care for longevity on Broadway
Being featured here is particularly meaningful to me as quote, ” singer who moves well” as I’m sure. Sarita’s show will feature prolific dancers along with the quirkiest movers, the physical body is very important part of my life as a performer and singer on Broadway, preventing injuries and performing well. During my 10 years participating in Broadway shows my body has been important to me as well, not only my throat and voice, not just for osing weight but for strength. I admire and respect the constant training that takes place to be full fledged dancer, and because of that for many years I would never sign up for company allotted physical therapy (aka PT) as if I had no right to it as an actor or singer! My how things have changed! Your body will quickly remind you that you that it is certainly dancing 8 times a week whether you want to call it that or not! I remember my good friend Christine Horn talking about the back strength she had to get as she performed the role of Nala in the Lion King, a role that is typically not considered a “dance” track, yet required a type of agility and physical therapy to maintain. I experienced performing as a “singer who moves well” on “raked’ stages ( slanted to optimize the audiences view) climbing ladders and thrashing my head about in ” Hair” . And through therapy learned the importance of strengthening my quadriceps muscles to aid in knee support in wearing high heels. As a child I always danced but as roles for acting and singing took precedence I stopped taking ballet classes. Years later I have found how much joy and strength I gain from studying dance. One of my favorite things is to study with my many Broadway friends who are also dance teachers ( shout out to Iris Wilson and Rickey Tripp). Many singers and actors take their physical health for granted and experience pitfalls because of that, but I’m here to say WE ARE DANCERS TOO!
CLICK TO WATCH THE INTERVIEW BELOW: FOR THE LOVE OF DANCE
Hopefully my being on this forum will lead to great respect for all performers out there! Learn all about it on my episode of “For the Love of Dance with Sarita Lou.” Many thanks Sarita for your interest in my career and lifestyle!
We have officially opened and I can’t wait to share my personal photos from opening night but to recap leading up to it I last wrote about preparing form Good Morning America! Well now we’ve done it and it was amazing. I’ve been busy spreading the word about the Music Campaign but I just had to share this link! Better late than never! LOL Many have seen it already but in case you missed it here is the cast of Motown on Good Morning America! Click! Click! Click photo or copy and paste link at the bottom!
All the time people ask me when you gonna do a full album? Are you putting out new music soon?! Well the answer is yes! I’ve embarked on a new music project, with the working title Howlin’. I’m an artist so that title could change but the essence of what I’m doing and the songs are true to my heart, originals written by myself, and my co producer Jason Webb and songs written by some of your favorite popular soul and blues music icons with special writers to be announced in the future!
Soul music and pop music are close to my heart so much so that I dream in music, I dream of voices singing and that’s no lie! I grew up loving music in Atlanta with my face close to the speaker as Prince’s first album “For You” spun on the record player bringing me to tears, I enjoyed the sensual tender rasp of Sade and as a teenager the Soul fuel hip-hop of Ceelo Green with Goodie Mob and Outcast ( the first hip-hop group to win album of the year at the Grammys) was the soundtrack to my young life. Why am I sharing all of this with you? Because its my hope that you will be a part of my journey. Help me to keep original soul music alive.
Howlin is Popular Soul music.
soaked in Rhythm & blues
washed in Hip-Hop
and sprinkled in Country—
too much to describe as you can see, DONATE NOW to get hear the album and truly see what I mean! Thank you ! Thank You! Thank You!
If you’ve never heard of Mommy Uncensored let me be the one to tell you! This web series is hilarious and packed full of the types of shenanigans our parents never told us about when we were growing up! The star of the show, Charity J, is hilarious as a young mom, “Karen Wright”, who tries to do the right thing for her kids and husband while balancing a household and crazy situations all at the same time. Charity and I were actresses together in the Freddie Hendricks’ Youth Ensemble of Atlanta and we went to highschool together and so years later its good to see her performing again. I love this show!!! It just may be the next “Awkward Black Girl” for all you folks familiar with the underground comedy web series, in terms of having the sort of cross over appeal but sort of more like awkward black mom. Mommy Uncensored is shot on location in Atlanta, GA, one of the entertainment industry’s hottest hubs, and also my hometown. Also starring in the series are the hilarious Reemo Rod Thomas, Shannon Byrd, recording artist D. Woods, Jelani Akil Jones, Kelly M. Jenrete, and Lillian Lee plus numerous guest stars . Produced by Shimone Woodberry, Nikki Towers, Adrian Dukes, and her husband and partner Justin Jordan.
The Pool Cover up episode is one of my favorites. I mean she goes in on the subject of post baby body! For all the folks talking about celebrities and the “snapback” body, this episode is for you! And for all my folks out there who dug the Southern Pin-Up EP my music is featured in Episode 6: Mission Impossible. I’ve been excited about this show for a while because the stars and co-stars and producers of the show are people I’ve known for years, my friends are truly talented, and making strides as independent artists! Add this series to your daily online watching! You won’t be disappointed I’m quite proud! Click the links below for more Mommy Uncensored.
Its been a busy few weeks. With previews for Motown underway I have been in rehearsal non-stop as we change and tweak our wonderful Motown the Musical into perfection that will be revealed on opening night. In the midst of that we are promoting the show and that has been fun. During the Christmas season we did several events. And just last week we did a fun fashion shoot for the NY Post featuring fun outfits for the spring. We shot it early before rehearsal one morning, a spectacular feat considering how the long the days have been. Anyway, I was excited to see the final pics and the article finally came out this past Sunday in the New York Post. We were interviewed as we got our hair and makeup done and the writer took a few quotes from there. It was nice to reminisce about the Jacksons concert I went to as a child, and to really think about the meaning of doing a show like this. Valisia and I took some pics together, Brandon and Valisia shot some together, Charl and Brandon shot some and the 4 of us did some group shots as well. Luckily it was all about the girls in this shoot Valisia and I changed several times while the men added a hat or 2. LOL I loved the jewelry and shoes to and getting my make-up done. Valisia, like Diana Ross, somehow manages to look extra tall in her outfits! The bigger the hair the closer to God! We had a blast and headed back over to the theater for a full day of rehearsal afterwards. On our way back we stopped on the corner of 49th and gazed up at the huge Motown billboard in the middle of Time Square. Feeling pretty darn good. Get your tickets now, were selling like hotcakes.
Sepia toned glow at the New York Post. Brandon Victor Dixon, Saycon Sengbloh, Charl Brown and Valisia Lekae evoke a time gone by in 60’s inspired fashion. Original photo by Anne Wermiel for the NY Post.
Saycon behind the scenes at NY Post studios photo by Joe Perrota
Motown is counting down until we start previews so that means its technical rehearsal time also known as the infamous: Tech Week! Lord have mercy! Technical rehearsals can be amazing and challenging time. This is the time when the cast leaves the rehearsal space and goes into the theatre onto the new home space: the stage! My main goal during this time is to remain comfortable, ready for action, and able to adjust to change. The fun part is bringing a wonderful show to light but the hardest part about tech week can be managing your time and personal life outside of the theatre during the tech process.
Andrea Dora and Saycon Sengbloh using backstage tech time to work online.
Top thing to consider:
The hours are much longer than they would normally be during the 8 show week. You could be in the theatre from Noon to midnight.
Time management: Remembering and scheduling personal appointments during your spare hours. Because during technical rehearsals the majority of your time is spent onstage.
Keeping tags on friends and family and maintaining relationships while adjusting to the new schedule
Really preparing yourself for your new show, figuring out your backstage traffic i.e. water break moments, warm-up areas, costume changes, wig changes, make-up, and accessories
Great time to bond with your cast mates and make the show gel
Actors let me tell a few things I do to make tech week a success. Whether it lasts for 2 days in a short regional production or 2 months of tech and previews for a Broadway show it can be the ultimate challenge of an artist . Shows look easy to the audience and there’s a reason for that.
Check out this quick video for Tech Survival tips:
Finally, finally, I can officially say that I am performing the role of Martha Reeves in Motown the Musical. Martha and the Vandellas are a superstar girl group of the Motown era. You may not know it but every time you sing “Heatwave” or “Dancing in the Streets” you are singing a Vandellas tune. This Atlanta girl, this College Park, Georgia native is pleased to represent Miss Reeves! I met her years ago in Detroit and look forward to meeting her again. We all have big shoes to fill playing these real life music heroes in Motown the Musical and speaking for myself I definitely don’t take this lightly. We had an invited rehearsal in the studio for press and reporters to come in and check out our process and see a few scenes from the show. I really can’t wait for the audience to see our show!
A labor of love coming to a film festival near you. I’m looking forward to it. Details to come but for now peep this trailer.
“Love and Squalor” a daring new short film directed by Mikal Din featuring Saycon Sengbloh , Neill Springle, Ray Christiano Irving and Aminah Wazeerud-din.
On New Years Day I ran into my friend Chester at an after hours breakfast party. We got to talking about music and gigs as we always do: good conversation, good times, potatoes were sizzlin’ on the griddle. Chester keeps the music going. So I couldn’t wait to tell you guys about his upcoming show at 54 Below on February 4th. Even at 5 in the morning, he was buzzing about his collaboration with director Da’Vine Joy Randolph, musical director Rob Lewis and his co-writer Crystal Lucas-Perry! Chester Gregory is arguably one of the most gifted vocalists in the NYC, so I urge you to check him out if you never seen him live before. Many may have seen him recently in Broadway’s Sister Act or in one of my favorite roles, as Jimmy Early in Dreamgirls with Syesha Mercado, but his live show is definitely something to behold. With a solid and dedicated fan base, he’s got the look, he’s knows music, and has his own brand of R&B soul . I see him as a sort of kindred spirit in music, like my friend Christine Horn too, always striving with an independent and entrepreneurial spirit. Doing the acting thing yet always being called back by the music. Delightfully we also get to see the fabulous Lillias White in a special turn as “LaVerne Baker”. I heard about the Jackie Wilson show he did a while back and never had a chance to see it so I’m looking forward to witnessing this new look at the legend. Fashion styled and costumed by the fashion master himself, Carl Ulysses I’m excited to see the look and learn more about Jackie Wilson. Ironically, on the Motown front, Jackie Wilson was one of the first artists Berry Gordy wrote songs for in his early years in the music industry. “Too Be Loved” written by Berry Gordy is one of Jackie Wilson’s classics.
Chester Gregory (Sister Act, Hairspray) reprises his award winning interpretation of Jackie Wilson in the world premiere of his one man show , “The Eve of Jackie” at 54 Below on February 4th at 9:30PM.
Gregory portrays Jackie Wilson, live in concert during his final days, revealing another side to the man “who truly gave his all and left it on the stage.”
THE EVE OF JACKIE WILSON:
Starring Chester Gregory as Jackie Wilson, with special guest Lillias White as LaVern Baker
Directed by Da’Vine Joy Randolph Musically Directed by Rob Lewis Written by Crystal Lucas-Perry & Chester Gregory