It all started with a vision. In 1979, Vy Higginsen and her husband, Ken Wydro wrote the book and lyrics for Mama, I Want to Sing. It\’s the story of a young woman’s quest to discover and express her inner talent while respecting her family traditions. Mama, became the groundbreaking gospel production that changed the course of theatrical musicals in the late 20th century. But initially, it was rejected by every major producer in New York. Not one producer believed that the story was worth telling or that an audience could be found for a gospel-based production
Perserverance paid off. Vy and Ken invested their entire life savings in opening the show in East Harlem at The Heckscher Theatre, which had been closed for fifteen years. As the chains were lifted off the door, puffs of dust and dirt greeted Vy and Ken in the abandoned 632-seat theater. But standing on that dusky, silent dimly-lit stage, Vy envisioned the theater filled with senior citizens, church groups, school children, and hard-working black mothers and fathers who had spiritual values and loved soul-stirring music.
Mama, I Want to Sing opened March 23, 1983 without fanfare and on a shoestring operational, promotional, and publicity budget.
Today, Mama, has played to hundreds of thousands of people of many cultures, races, and faiths. The show has touched the hearts of audiences around the world through its universal story and rousing music. it has become the longest running Off-Broadway Musical in history!
The show has now been revived and is currently playing in New York…
Saturdays, Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22 at 4:30 p.m.
Saturdays, Nov. 5, 12, 19, 26 at 1:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Saturdays, Dec. 3, 10, 17 at 1:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Proceeds benefit the groundbreaking Mama Foundation program:
Gospel for Teens
Single ticket sales: SmartTix
Theater parties and group sales:
Shirley Caesar performed the role of Mama Winter at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in 1994.
In 1995, Mama was performed at the Gielgud Theater in London, England, with Stacy Francis in the role of Doris Winter.Saturdays, Aug. 13, 20, 27 at 4:30 p.m.