For one night, Maya Angelou – Pulitzer Prize-nominee, National Medal of Arts recipient, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, best-selling memoirist, poet to Presidents – is not an icon. In Phenomenal Woman: An Evening With Maya Angelou, she is to you what she was to her closest friends: she is Miss Maya. And she has a few stories to tell.
In the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, Dr. Angelou made a regular series of cross-country lecture tours where she paired readings from her most popular works with personal stories, hymns, songs, ruminations on her career, and some of her favorite selections from other prominent writers. These events were singular and special. Imagine one of the greatest living writers is in the room and she’s entwining some of the most resonant passages of American writing with stories like a friend sitting at your kitchen table. The dates took her to colleges and arts organizations, bringing her works to those who knew her, as well as introducing them to a whole new generation of young people, people who might never have encountered her outside of a class syllabus. They brought her to marquee theaters and saw her play to rapturous sold-out audiences, often earning her multiple standing ovations. Corstoria President David Rich spent eleven years as EVP, producer and agent at the speakers agency that represented Maya Angelou for decades. He often booked her on these personal appearances, and saw her speak countless times.
Phenomenal Woman: An Evening with Maya Angelou seeks to bring the magic of seeing her live to the Broadway stage. The show will incorporate passages of her best-known works, but this will not be a jukebox play. Phenomenal Woman is a window into the Maya Angelou who also lived off stage, out of the spotlight. It will provide fresh insight into her creative process, her life, and who she was as a friend, a daughter, and a mother.
Corstoria, LLC. has secured exclusive rights to key works, and has partnered with Branded Pictures Entertainment to develop the show for the Broadway stage. Guy Johnson, Maya’s only son, has signed on as Executive Producer and will contribute to the show’s development, providing first-hand insight into the life and personality of the late author.
“My mother lived an extraordinary life,” Johnson says. “She brought a sense of passion to living and invested herself wholly in it. What she wanted most was justice for all human beings, and the freedom to experience joy and laughter. We hope to capture her joie de vivre. We’re going to include some private anecdotes that will be a revelation to audiences. I’m pleased to be working with this team in bringing her story to life and can’t wait for the public to experience it.”