“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj

Artist and Activist

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Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj is an Indo-Caribbean American artist, educator and activist. He was hailed in the New York Times as "one of the most talented directors in New York these days." Rajendra is the founder and Artistic Director of Rebel Theater Company.

He is the founder of a children’s arts group Be.Do.Fly!, which provides free performing arts access to children in need across the United States. Maharaj is the founder and the artistic advisor of River Voices, an African American and Latino playwriting festival in collaboration with Arkansas Repertory Theatre. He is also an artistic consultant for the Arkansas Repertory Theater. Maharaj is the former Associate Artistic Director of Syracuse Stage and the Lark Play Development Center. Maharaj holds a BS from St. John's University and an MFA from Brooklyn College. He has served as a guest faculty member at Syracuse School of Drama and Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. He has been a master lecturer at the Actors Studio Drama School, Lawrenceville School, and Pace University. Maharaj is an alumni of Lincoln Center Directors Lab and TCG Young Leaders of Color in the American Theater.

Maharaj is the recipient of several grants, fellowship, and awards, including National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Career Development Program for Directors, TCG New Generations Grant in partnership with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council, Puffin Foundation, Time Warner Diverse Voices Fund, the Van Lier Directing Fellowship, and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Observership.

He is also the recipient of the Woodie King Jr. Award for Outstanding Direction and four Vivian Robinson AUDELCO awards for direction and choreography. He served as the honorary co-chair for the 37th annual AUDELCO Awards. Maharaj was a finalist for the Zelda Fichandler Award presented by Stage Directors and Choreographers Society for his work with Arkansas Repertory Theater. Maharaj also was nominated for the S.A.L.T. Award for Director of the Year by the Syracuse theatrical community.

Maharaj is the former Producing Artistic Director of Red Shirt Entertainment. He was the Assistant to the Director on the Tony Award–winning Broadway revival A Raisin in the Sun. Maharaj is a former director in training for the Emmy Award winning directing team at ABC's All My Children and has been featured in American Theatre Magazine, Yale Review, New York Times, The Star Ledger, The NAACP Crisis News, Chicago Sun Times, Ebony, Arkansas Times, Uptown Magazine and has been featured on the Hot List as a New York Theater Artist to Watch, Amsterdam News, and Variety for his work in the American theatre. He has served as a panelist for the NEA TCG, National Alliance for Musical Theatre, MAP Fund funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York City August Wilson Monologue Competition, McKnight Fellowship, Judge for the Princess Grace Award in Playwriting, and Clinton School of Public Service. Maharaj is a member of the NAACP and Knights of Columbus.

He is a volunteer at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Men’s Homeless Shelter.

Contact: Mark Orsini - agent at Bret Adams Ltd Artists' Agency, 212-765-5630.

Experience

Regional directing/choreography credits:
TheatreWorks (Little Rock), Signature Stage (Sweet Tea), Syracuse Stage (Godspell and Putting It Together), Freedom Theatre (Walk Through Time, by Lynn Nottage -world premiere), Actors Theatre of Louisville (Nightswim and Classyass), St. Louis Black Rep (Damn Yankees), Arkansas Repertory Theatre (Dreamgirls, Intimate Apparel, Little Rock, A Raisin in the Sun), Crossroads Theatre (History of the Word, The Colored Museum), Alabama Shakespeare Festival (Sanctified), Prince Musical Theatre (From the Hip), Theatre of the Stars (Dreamgirls the 25th anniversary production), The Goodman Theatre (The Black Nativity) and Portland Stage Company (Master Harold and the boys).

New York City directing/choreography credits:
the Public Theatre (365 Days, Memphis Minnie workshop), Classical Theatre of Harlem (Marat Sade), Lark Play Development Center (Man Measures Man, Breathe), New Federal Theatre (Diss Diss and Diss Dat), Rebel Theatre (Ghosts, world premiere adaptation), Making Books Sing (Band of Angels, Shelter in my Car, Chachajis Cup), Amas Musical Theatre (Bubbling Brown Sugar, Damn Yankees, Mamma I Want to Sing, Magpie).

Commissioned work:
Diss Diss and Dis Dat, a new hip hop musical inspired by the music of the Funkie Natives (Woodie King Jr.’s New Federal Theater); Grey and Twenty-Five (Ensemble Studio Theater NYC); BlackfootNotes (Sloan Grant/Ensemble Studio Theater NYC); Little Rock (Arkansas Repertory Theater/TCG/NEA New Generations); Children of the Dream (Alliance Theater, ATL).

Co. Written and Co. Conceived work:
"Hansberry & Baldwin" with Aurin Squire, is a work of historical fiction based on a real-life meeting between Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Lorraine Hansberry; History of the Word, a new spoken word play with music; Exposures, an urban spoken word choreopoem.

Adapted work:
Ghosts by Ibsen “Jamaican adaptation” (Rebel Theater Co.); Abortion by O’Neill “Mississippi Night” (Rasa Theater Co. & Sign of the Times); Black Nativity by Langston Hughes “Darfur Nativity” (Goodman Theater & Congo Square); “Spook” (Rebel Theater Co.); Daisy inspired by the life and legacy of the indomitable Daisy Lee Bates. Straight Outta Denmark (Hip Hop Hamlet Red Shirt Entertainment); Holocaust Project (a trilogy focusing on the genocides in Germany, Rwanda and Darfur).

Artistic Residencies:
The Public Theatre, Freedom Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Kennedy Center, Crossroads Theatre, Lark Play Development Center, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, and Amas Musical Theatre.

Othello: The Panther

Othello: The Panther

An adaptation of Shakespeare's play that chronicles the final years of the Black Panther Party. Discover the true purpose of the Party, which was dedicated to fostering progressive social change. Othello: The Panther is a show for history buffs, pop culture aficionados, Shakespeare lovers and theatregoers!

More info here.

"Every element of the production (a lean, muscular, two-plus hours) was ready for prime time — with its cast navigating the dense script with confidence, precision and ease."

Read full review at The Villager

Hansberry/Baldwin

Hansberry/Baldwin

by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj and Aurin Squire

“Hansberry & Baldwin” is a work of historical fiction based on a real-life meeting between Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Lorraine Hansberry. The meeting took place in May 1963 in the middle of the one of the most critical years in American history. It can not be overstated to say that, to many historians, this was a turning point in the civil rights movement and the future of a young republic.

In 1963 the United States seemed on the verge of infrastructural collapse. There was open, violent, and active opposition to the federal government in many regions. Not since the Civil War had so many local and states governments defied the rule of law. Attorney General Robert Kennedy began a series of ‘secret’ meeting with civil rights activists and artists. This fateful gathering turned out to be the last of these meetings for a variety of reasons.

For inquiries, please contact: Mark Orsini - agent at Bret Adams Ltd Artists' Agency, 212-765-5630.

The Holocaust Project

The Holocaust Remembrance Project

in the Winter and Spring of 2013, Redshirt Entertainment presented three installments of their Holocaust Remembrance Project. These concerts focused on the genocides in Europe during the Holocaust, the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and the ongoing genocide in Darfur. Each concert focused on the stories of strength from victims who survived and served to honor those who did not. The Holocaust projects began in honor of the 80th anniversary of the Holocaust in Europe, and ended honoring the Darfur Genocide, which continues today as the first genocide of the 21st century. Resulting in over 480,000 deaths and 2.8 million displaced, this modern day genocide continues to be neglected by nations across the world.

More info at www.redshirtentertainment.com.

Holocaust

Rwanda

Darfur

Little Rock

Little Rock

by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj

Little Rock is the true story of The Little Rock Nine -- the first blacks to volunteer to integrate Little Rock Central High School, the formerly segregated all-white public school in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.

Little Rock will make you laugh, weep, clap, cheer, moan, smile, wince and frown. Be prepared to be moved.

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Affiliations

Rajendra is the Producing Artistic Director of Redshirt Entertainment, an entertainment company located at 18 w. 23rd st. and 5th Avenue in New York. Read More about Redshirt Entertainment.

Rajendra is co-founder and Artistic Director of Be.Do.Fly!, an Arts Charity committed to healing children through the arts, giving them a safe and loving environment to be their authentic selves. We want to inspire a new generation to discover their inner creator/artist and dream bigger dreams for their lives and the world. We use the arts to help children give voice to their own unique stories, shed light on issues that pertain to children in the world, and inspire each other to see that we are more alike than different. Learn about Be.Do.Fly!

"Othello: The Panther — an ambitious, charismatic and exceedingly well-done adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello.. the air crackles and the floor shakes with the coiled intensity of over two dozen Panthers ready to strike down outside aggressors or, more likely, turn on their own."

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"Othello, The Panther effectively moved an audience of viewers three times in under three hours.. the show was amazing.."

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"In Othello:The Panther, Director Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj offers a bold and exciting revision of a classic"

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"It was one of the most important, inspiring journeys I have had in my life. It's changed my artistic DNA!"

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"Art such as “The Little Rock Nine Project” provides an honest platform to give young teenaged activists and artists an opportunity to be heard as well as learn about our history. To bear witness in our past so that they can change the future, and that’s an act of social justice."

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"We all believe that art has a purpose, not just to entertain, but to educate and make social change."

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"The theater that I enjoy working on the most is theater that says something about the world; something that is political and has social relevance today."

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"The Holocaust Project marks not only the 80th anniversary of the Holocaust but also honors the victims of genocide in general"

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"Sometimes, there's nothing like a sense of community to keep an artist motivated, inspired, or simply functioning with a sense of purpose and belief."

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"The skyline is so beautiful, and we too seldom use our rooftops as performance spaces."

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"Every artist involved with the festival is bringing something compelling to the table and we are delighted to offer them this opportunity.."

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