May 13, 2019

Poetry Electric: Betty & Belrays (Voices for Civil Rights)

"...It's a wonderful, important show full of heart suitable for
the whole family..."   -

Book and Lyrics by William Electric Black
Director is William Electric Black

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The reworked piece for a smaller ensemble tells the story of three white female singers from Detroit, circa 1963, who struggle to change a racially divided society by singing for a Black record label. Music is by William Electric Black, Valerie Ghent (arranger/keyboards for Ashford & Simpson) and Gary Schreiner. Choreography is by Jeremy Lardieri.


Levern Williams, Paulina Breeze, John Michael Hersey,
Brenna Brown, Emily Pinto, Sharina Doyle, Christen Dekie

GUITAR: John Michael Hersey

STAGE MANAGER: Dylan Skorish

"...this show is a must see....balances the social commentary
with great musical numbers...."  -

"...succeeds in seamlessly combining social commentary
with music, dance, and fine acting...." -

First Staged at Theater For The New City

Levern Williams (SamTheBeat/Sensation) Singer-Songwriter-Actor, born in Florence, South Carolina, moved to New York at an early age where his interest for music began to take shape. Levern, known as Levern “the Entertainer” Williams, a versatile performing artist/Jazz stylist; has been compared to Nat King Cole. Levern flaunts a unique, exuberant style that is undoubtedly his own which energizes and captures his audience As a humanitarian, Levern finds time to develop and instruct creative arts programs to New York City seniors and youth by using creative arts as alternative education. Levern continues to dedicate time, towards his first love, performing songs by the great balladers of Jazz. Levern often found his way to the clubs of Harlem, where his exposure to the music of Nat King Cole, Johnny Hartman and Lou Rawls started. During his college years Levern worked with Madame Leon Tyne Price & Leonard Bernstein, at the Metropolitan Opera House, as well as, the late Dr. Billy Taylor one of the founders of the Jazzmobile. Additionally, making his Broadway debut with Ms. Katheline Battle at the Palace Theater in New York City.

John Michael Hersey (Joe Belarosky/Rex Rogers) was Warden Whalen in the La Mama production of Tennessee Williams’ Not about Nightingales, has released nine albums of his music, was the musical director, guitarist and second tenor for the legendary doo-wop group Speedo and the Cadillacs, wrote the book Forever Doo-wop, and is the Manager of Creative Arts at The Fortune Society.

Paulina Breeze (Betty Belarosky/Belray) is ecstatic to play her first lead in Betty and the Belrays at TNC! After graduating from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy she made her Off-Broadway debut at Playwrights Horizons in Comfort Women. Other productions include: American Idiot,The Drowsy Chaperone, Evita, Cabaret and Tommy. She wants to thank her mom, dad, and all of her family and friends for their endless support. And a huge thank you to William Electric Black for believing in her.

Emily Pinto (Connie/Belray) is thrilled to be making her NYC debut sharing this poignant and relevant story! She studied in the Musical Theatre program at Marymount Manhattan College and in the Classical Acting Program at The London Academy of Music and Dramaric Art (LAMDA). Favorite roles include Annie Oakley (Annie Get Your Gun), Sheila (Hair), and Elle Woods (Legally Blonde). Since graduation last May she has been involved in several short films. She sends endless love to her family and friends for their love and support!

Brenna Brown (Zipgun/Belray) is a native of Texas. In May she graduated with her BFA in Musical Theatre from Hardin-Simmons University, where she was best known for roles such as Morticia Addams, Princess Fiona, or Rosamund Musgrove. Her friends in NYC might know her from her time at the Open Jar Institute where she studied with Jeff Whiting and many other outstanding performers. This is her first show in NYC and she’d like to thank Electric for giving her this opportunity- its been “a gas!”

Sharina Marisela Doyle (Joy Jones) is a visual and performing artist currently based in New York City. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology, and studying various types of dance and vocal styles, Sharina works as a freelance designer, and contributes to various music productions as a singer, songwriter, producer and dancer. Along with those contributions, and after winning Ascap’s Harold Adamson Music Foundation, for best written song, she is currently working on her first full length album.

Christen Dekie (Loretta) is a recent Alumni from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She received her BFA in Drama with a Producing Minor. She has perviously starred in She Kills Monsters with PrimHouse Productions and performed at The Public Theater with the Civilians in An American Feast. Her mantra in life is to Aspire to Inspire before she Expires. She is excited to be making her off-off Broadway Debut with a cast and director who intend to do just that. Inspire. Thanking all of her friends and family for their support <3 Much Love <3

Poetry Electric


The Poetry Electric fuses music, movement, sound, and dance with the spoken word and presents artists working in a wide range of styles including beatboxing, jazz and hip-hop theatre. This series has presented over 200 emerging poets from diverse cultural backgrounds.

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