Appetite for Books
Introducing children early on to the joys of reading opens them up to a world rich with possibility, knowledge and imagination. This is at the heart of “Appetite for Books”, by the gifted playwright Jeff Raz. Inspired by the 50th anniversary of Marcus Books, the nation’s oldest African-American bookstore, Handful Players commissioned Jeff to write a play that celebrated its legacy. “Appetite for Books” pays homage to Drs. Raye and Julian Richardson, who founded Marcus Books in 1960. In the production, literature and folktales leap off the page into vivid life and the histories of such legends as Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr. and Bob Marley are honored. Jeff, the founder of The Clown Conservatory in San Francisco and a lead performer with Cirque du Soleil, infused the play with dance and music, including jazz, gospel, blues and civil rights songs.
The stars of the show, were the kids, of course, who ranged in age from 8 to 14 and performed on stage at Yoshi’s San Francisco. The production showcased the bright young talents from the Western Addition Beacon Center and John Muir Elementary School, who worked with directors Amy Penney, Shakiri and Ryan Marchand for an entire year. Musicians Tammy Hall, Michael Zisman and DarCell Epps accompanied the kids, with choreography by Shakiri and costumes by Louise Jarmilowicz.
Amy Penney, Shakiri, Ryan Marchand
Tammy Lynne-Hall, Michael Zisman, DarCell Epps
Yoshi’s San Francisco