–A New Holiday is a Christmas musical that follows a 10 year-old girl on her holiday journey of hope, joy and love as she copes with the loss of her beloved grandmother. The production – written by soul singer Brian Owens and actress Sophia Stephens – features an all-black cast and was filmed in St. Louis, Missouri amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It is Owens’ directorial debut and a production of LIFE Creative Ecosystem (a partnership of LIFE Creative Group and LIFE Arts Inc, which Owens founded in 2016 to provide artistic resources, opportunities and mentoring to underserved youth in his hometown of Ferguson, Missouri).
A New Holiday stars trumpeter and nine-time Grammy Award winner Wynton Marsalis, singer Kennedy Holmes (NBC’s “The Voice), actress Sophia Stephens (Broadway’s The Lion King), jazz singer Anita Jackson, and newcomer Riley Adams. It also features musical performances by Grammy Award winners Bebe Winans, Karen Clark-Sheard and saxophonist David Sanborn. The original music is by Owens, Grammy Award nominee Jarrett Johnson, Charles Ransom and Stephanie Holly.
The musical was filmed in accordance with health and safety guidelines across St Louis, including at Jazz St. Louis, Powell Symphony and Sheldon Concert Hall in Grand Center.
As a production of LIFE Creative Ecosystem, A New Holiday utilized the talents of young St. Louis creatives and, in particular, creatives of color. Seven paid interns, in addition to three AP for LIFE Artists in Residence, contributed to the project’s scripting, set design, filming and post-production. Additionally, three dance students from Grand Center Arts Academy performed in the film under the choreography direction of Keith Tyrone.
“This musical is a testament to God’s grace and the rich talent that we have right here in St. Louis,” said Owens. “To accomplish a production of this caliber with high quality talent, story and visuals in such a short time period was a beautiful surprise for all involved. We’re thrilled to share A New Holiday in time for Christmas and hope those who can’t be with family – or have lost loved ones – this year find hope and joy in the music and journey.”
How to watch:
- A New Holiday will air on Nine PBS on Monday, December 21 at 7:00pm CT and again on Wednesday, December 23 at 9:00pm CT.
- Beginning Monday, December 21 at 7:00pm CT, the musical will also be available on YouTube at www.Youtube.com/BrianOwensSoul. All proceeds raised from YouTube advertisements will go to benefit LIFE Arts, Inc. (simply watching the musical on YouTube – and encouraging others to do the same – creates revenue for LIFE Arts, Inc.)
A New Holiday is the first major project under the LIFE Creative Ecosystem, which is a partnership of LIFE Creative Group (a for profit production company founded by Brian Owens) and LIFE Arts Inc. (a nonprofit also founded by Owens and now run by former Operations Director, Darius Williams). Additional projects include Soul of Ferguson Revue, which aired on Nine PBS on November 21, 2020 with support from American Portfolios. Homegrown Soul is set to premiere on Nine PBS in 2021 with a lineup that includes Joanna Serenko, Tonina Saputo, Malena Smith, The Mighty Pines and Russ Mohr and the Kingdom Sessions. For more information, visit www.lifecreative.org.
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