Free Streaming Juneteenth Day, June 19 through July 18, 2021
Tickets are free but reservations are required and can be made by clicking here
In a musical and theatrical journey, Forgotten Voices highlights how musical roots encompass harmonies and rhythms of West Africa, which then became Freedom Songs, Spirituals and Blues, and continued on through Ragtime, Dixieland, Country, Swing, BeBop, Jazz, Gospel, Rock n’ Roll and beyond.
Forgotten Voices will be performed and recorded on stage in Skylight’s Cabot Theatre in front of a small, invited audience following current safety protocols. It will be available online beginning Juneteenth Day, June 19 through July 18, 2021.
Forgotten Voices Creative Team
Sheri Williams Pannell (Director) is a Milwaukee hometown talent who has often performed and directed at Skylight. She is a stage director, playwright and artistic director at Bronzeville Arts Ensemble; artistic associate at First Stage; stage director/teaching artist at Black Arts MKE; and co-director of the drama ministry at Calvary Baptist Church. In 2017, the City of Milwaukee honored Pannell as an “Artist of the Year.” Pannell is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Peck School of the Arts. Graduate of Spelman College with an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Christie Chiles Twillie (Music Director) is a pianist, music director, conductor, vocal coach, sound designer and composer. At Skylight: Five Guys Named Moe (2019 Footlights Winner Best Musical Direction), Newsies, and The Gospel at Colonus. Compositional credits include: A Raisin in the Sun (Invictus), America 2.0 (Definition), Harrison River’s We Are Continuous (GEVA), Isaac’s Gomez’s The Way She Spoke (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre), The Niceties (Forward) and The Mountain Top (American Players). Twillie was a 2019 Rachel Rockwell Fierce Women Behind the Table Award for Music Direction by Porchlight Music Theatre. She earned a BTAA nomination for Best Music Direction (Yellowman) in 2018.
Michael Unger (Skylight Artistic Director) joined Skylight in fall, 2019 and has directed KidsWrites, virtual productions, and launched new works initiatives to bring to Skylight such famed songwriters as Paul Williams, Dennis DeYoung; and a festival of BIPOC writers. Unger is also the Producing Artistic Director of NewArts, started in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy. Previously, he was Associate Artistic Director of Off-Broadway’s York Theatre. He’s directed many benefit concerts, including for Sandy Hook and Parkland. Selected world premieres include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Caligula, and A ROCKIN’ Midsummer Night’s Dream, featured in the documentary film, Midsummer in Newtown.
Dr. Paschal Yao Younge (African Music Advisor/Percussion and Voice) is a Professor of Music at Ohio University and currently the Executive and Music Director of Azaguno, Inc., a multi-ethnic ensemble based in Athens, Ohio that focuses on research, preservation, and performance of African, African American, Caribbean, and Latin American Music and Dance. Dr. Younge was born at Dzodze, a village in the Volta Region of Ghana, and has studied both western and traditional African instruments. He further expands his understanding and knowledge of African cultural heritage through drumming, dancing, and research. As a specialist in African choral and brass band music, Dr. Younge has presented and performed at festivals, concerts, and conferences in over 45 States/Provinces in the US/Canada and 25 countries internationally. Before coming to Ohio University, Younge taught at West Virginia Unniversity, where he served as Director of the World Music Center and at the University of Ghana as Principal Music Instructor and director of several ensembles.
Forgotten Voices Cast
Cecilia Davis most recently appeared as a soloist in the Skylight Music Theatre/Milwaukee Opera Theatre production of Carmina Burana. Other roles on the Cabot stage include Olympia/Dr. Miracle in The Tales of Hoffmann, Clara in Porgy and Bess and the Les Misérables ensemble. Davis has appeared in a number of productions with Milwaukee Opera Theatre, and also performs in recitals through various local concert series.
Shawn Holmes has appeared in shows throughout Wisconsin, including Skylight Music Theatre, Florentine Opera, First Stage Children’s Theatre, Middleton Players Theatre, Black Arts MKE and Four Seasons Theatre. Favorite roles include Jacob in La Cage aux Folles (winner of Best Supporting Actor in a Musical - Footlights Awards) at Skylight and others include Coalhouse Walker Jr. from Ragtime (winner of Best Actor in a Musical - Broadway World), and Sebastian the Crab in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
Bill Jackson has appeared at Skylight as Agwe and Papa Ge in Once on This Island and Fats Waller in Ain't Misbehavin'. Other Milwaukee area credits include Mr. M in My Children! My Africa! and Belize in Angels in America: Perestroika (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre), Chester Kimmich in Storefront Church (Windfall Theatre), Applegate in Damn Yankees and Leading Player in Pippin (Sunset Playhouse) and Henry in The Lion in Winter (Pride Theatre Company) at The Alchemist Theatre.
Tasha McCoy was seen at Skylight in The Gospel at Colonus (2020) and Crowns (2016). She has appeared on stages in Milwaukee theaters and venues as both an actress and vocalist for over 20 years. Her work in Antarctica, WI, Flyin' West and Black Nativity have established her as a seasoned actor in Milwaukee's diverse theater community.
Kevin James Sievert made his professional debut at Skylight Music Theatre in Hot Mikado (2017) as Pish Tush, and in the Ensemble of Urinetown as Robbie the Stockfish and as the production's Dance Captain. Sievert returned to Skylight in the 2018-2019 season as Little Moe in Five Guys Named Moe, where he received a nomination and became a finalist for the Footlights People's Choice Award for Outstanding Supporting Performer in a Musical (Professional).