Dice Raw as Henry Box Brown

Originally posted on philly.com

The folks at New Freedom Theatre were getting ready to host the world premiere of Henry Box Brown: A Hip Hop Musical, a musical cowritten by (and starring) Roots-associated rapper Karl “Dice Raw” Jenkins. And then misfortune struck.

As in a burst pipe. As in a major flood. The lobby of the black box theater at New Freedom was wrecked, and the whole production had to find a new home.

And it found one. Henry Box Brown runs Feb. 1-17 (Thursdays through Saturdays; check the schedule on the website) at Bonnell Auditorium at Community College of Philadelphia.

Henry Box Brown is based on the true story of a man who escaped slavery in 1849 by hiding in a wooden box shipped from Richmond, Va., to Philadelphia in an arduous 27-hour journey. The show is cowritten and directed by Phillip S. Brown. with music arranged and composed by Seth Barmash. It costars Minister Jamie Knight Johnson, Gina Zo, and DJ Expo, with dancers India Hyman, Erika Garrison, Lee Harris, Jaylen Gates, Siheed Woods, and Francis Bell.

Sandra Haughton, executive producing director at New Freedom, is launching a fund-raising campaign to gather the $500,000 needed to get the theater back in shape. Dice Raw says he will contribute part of the proceeds from Henry Box Brown to the campaign.

In this trailer, Minister Jamie Knight Johnson and Dice Raw perform “Break the Chains” and discuss the show: