Fifteen years ago, National Black Theatre’s impresario, Tunde Samuels, encouraged Marcia Pendelton to enter the field of publicity & public relations. The following day, the statuesque diva founded Walk Tall Girl Productions and has been guiding New York City’s audiences to fabled cultural and artistic feasts ever since, “(making) the arts accessible to the widest possible audience.” Marcia promotes exhibitions, graphic artists, fashion designers, theatre, and musical performances—opening minds to novel ways of seeing endless possibilities and opportunities through art.
Marcia’s past promotional successes include—On Broadway: Amazing Grace, A Street Car Named Desire, Godspell, Fences, Fela, The Whipping Man, Baby It’s You—Off Broadway: Wild With Happy, Hurt Village, Milk like Sugar, Through The Night, Ruined, The Brother/Sister Plays, The Sensational Josephine Baker, and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark— Concerts: The African American Spiritual, Sweet Honey and the Rock, Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Odyssey curated by Jessye Norman at Carnegie Hall— And Sarah Jones at the Nuyorican Cafe, Tyler Perry’s The Marriage Counselor and Page to Stage. That’s just a sample of the types of events and personalities Marcia has been connecting the public to theatrical stages.
On September 28, 2015, Marcia hosted a complimentary fete to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Walk Tall Girl at the Herbert Cave Auditorium in the Harlem Hospital Center in two acts.
Act I was a “Sip, Shop & Bid!” Guests noshed hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, sipped sangria or water, and perused or shopped in the vendor market outside the auditorium where unique clothing, jewelry and accessories from some of Pendelton’s favorite designers were for sale and auction.
Act II was an artful olio comprised of a few of Marcia’s favorite things. It began with a Langston Hughes poem recited by Eden Duncan-Smith followed by the rich A cappella singing of the Sound of Praise. Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn, a youthful hip hop/capoeira/breakdance troupe energized the atmosphere while Jamal Story & Darius Crenshaw told a tender, sensuous, wordless story through the stellar choreography of Earl Mosley. Play excerpts from a National Black Theatre drama, Dead and Breathing, and from a Classical Theatre of Harlem World Premier Musical, The First Noel were performed. The designers from the vendor’s market were featured in a fashion show segment hosted by the incomparable Brenda Brunson-Bey, Ebony Jo-Ann, Marva Hicks, Rema Webb, and Andre De Shields were the Broadway celebrity soloists. Andre brought down the house with his signature rendition of Believe in Yourself.
It was a wonderful evening that Marcia Pendelton did her way— giving back to loyal patrons by promoting a few past, present and upcoming personalities and productions. Bearing witness to God’s gifts displayed in such a wide variety of disciplines can only inspire, uplift, and make the future hopeful. I believe we all left Marcia Pendelton’s celebration walking just a little taller.