X, or The Life and Times of Malcolm X
Composer: Anthony Davis
Librettist: Thulani Davis
Other Artistic Personnel: Rhoda Levine (Stage Director/Choreographer and Creative Consultant)
Christopher Keene (Director)
John Conklin (Set Designer)
Romare Bearden (creator of image for backdrop)
Frances Nelson (Costume Designer)
Curt Ostermann (Lighting Designer)
Christopher Davis (Book Writer)
Original Cast: Ben Holt (Malcolm X)
Thomas Young (Street/Elijah Muhammad)
Priscilla Baskerville (Louise Little/Queen Mother/Betty Shabazz)
Marietta Simpson (Ella/Muslim)
Mark S. Doss (Reginald)
Armond Pressley (Young Malcolm Little)
And 32 others
Premiere Date: September 28, 1986
Producing Company: New York City Opera
Description: Act I begins with the night in Lansing, MI when the Little family-including a young Malcolm-hears, at a Marcus Garvey meeting, that Malcolm's father has been killed. The family and neighbors assume his death is caused by white racists. The Little family collapses and Malcolm travels to the seductive and crime-ridden streets of Boston. Malcolm and accomplices commit a burglary and are caught, arrested, and jailed.

Act II follows his conversion to Islam and rapid rise in the Black Muslim movement, his relationship and conflicts with Black Muslim's leader, Elijah Muhammad, his successful preaching career, and finally his remark about President Kennedy's assassination, that America's chickens were coming home to roost.

Act III follows his break with Elijah and his journey to Mecca, his second conversion to orthodox Islam (he changes his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz), his return to the Harlem riots of 1964, the founding of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, and finally his assassination.
Character List (Major): Malcolm(bar)
Elijah/Street(high t)
Louise/Betty(s)
Ella(mz)
Reginald(b-bar)
Young Malcolm Little(boy s)
Character List (Minor): (min 15 members)
Player/Inmate/Youth Social Worker, the Blonde, Girlfriens/Reporter(s)*
Garvey Preacher/Father/Player/Inmate/Orator/Muslim(bar)
Queen Mother(mz)
Policeman/Guard/Pilgrim/Reporter(t)
Blind Man/Salesman/Player/Inmate/Numbers Runner/Muslim/Pilgrim(b)
Neighbor/Preacher/Player/Inmate/Youth/Muslim/Pilgrim(bar)
Neighbor/Player/Inmate/Boyfriend/Muslim/Pilgrim(bar)
Neighbor/Player/Inmate/Muslim/Pilgrim(t)
Neighbor/Musician/Inmate/Youth/Muslim/Pilgrim(t)
Neighbor/Laborer/Inmate/Muslim/Pilgrim(t)
Neighbor/Bootblack/Player/Inmate/Paper Peddler/Muslim/Pilgrim(t)
Neighbor/Church Woman/Muslim/Pilgrim(mz)
Neigbor/Beautician/Mother/Muslim/Pilgrim(s)
Neighbor/Malcolm's Sweetheart/Teen/Muslim/Pilgrim(mez)
Policeman/Guard/Pilgrim/Reporter(t)*
Policeman/Guard/Pilgrim/Reporter(t)

*white members, all others must be black
Bit Parts: Young Reginald Little/Muslim boy
Yvonne Little/Muslim girl
Hilda Little/Muslim girl
Clothes Salesman/Dope Fiend/Muslim
Teen/Dancer/Student/Muslim
Policeman/Guard/Pilgrim/Photographer*
Teen/Dancer/Student/Muslim
Young Woman/Dancer/Muslim

*white members, all others must be black
Reviews: Opera Canada, Spring 1987; Musical America, 3-87; Opera News, 1-17-87; Opera, 12-86; The New Yorker, Andrew Porter, 10-28-86; The New Yorker, 10-27-86; The Village Voice (NY), John Piccarella, 10-21-86; New York, Peter G. Davis, 10-13-86; The Wall Street Journal, Manuela Hoelterhoff, 10-7-86; Opera News, 9-86; New York Newsday, Peter Goodman, 9-30-86; The New York Times, John Rockwell, 9-30-86; The New York Times, Donal Henahan, 9-30-86; The Washington Post, Joseph McClellan, 9-30-86; New York Post, Richard Herzfelder, 9-29-86; The New York Times, Donal Henahan, 9-29-86; The New York Times, C. Gerald Fraser, 9-29-86; The New York Times, John Rockwell, 9-28-86; Opernwelt, 3-86; Opera, 3-86; Opera News, 1-4-86; Musical America, 12-84.
Length: 02:30
Total Acts: 3
Orchestration: 2 fl(picc), 1 ob, 2 cl(2 sax), 2 bsn(cbn) - 2 hrn, 1 tpt, 2 tbn - timp, 3 perc - cel, pf - str - jazz band: 1 fl, 2 cl, tpt, perc, vc, db, pf, dms
Musical Style: Influenced by classical, popular, jazz (swing, scat), and non-Western sources; lyrical with dark atonal passages; some improvisation; traditional set pieces.
Contact: G. Schirmer, Inc.
Address: 257 Park Avenue South, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10010
E-mail Address: pm@schirmer.com
Phone: 212-254-2100
Publisher Web Site: http://www.schirmer.com
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