Meet Ano Okera – Playwright, “Finding Harlem Dawn”

Finding Harlem Dawn:

With Harlem as its core, Finding Harlem Dawn is an exploration of intrigue, misfortune and love in a night’s journey. Textured in lyrical poetry, this modern day Shakespearean type story explores parallels from the past and present through dance and experimental jazz music.

Finding Harlem Dawn centers on four artists struggling to find love in their different yet interchangeable experiences. Langston Beaufort, the great-grand nephew of the famous Harlem Renaissance writer and poet Claude McKay, is a law school graduate on a quest to find his dream as installation artist and poet. Billy Perrier is a dancer in search of a new life in Harlem. Jelly wants to write his way out love and Moya wants to touch the man she loves with every song that she sings. As the lives of these beautiful artists entwine, glimpses of Claude McKay and his secret dream Juanita Love bear resonance to the mystery of Harlem. They soon discover that their dark moments are merely paths to new beginnings.

Ano Okera (Concept, Book, Lyrics):

Ano Okera was born and raised in Jamaica with strong Rastafarian traditions. He knew at an early age that he was destined to be a singer, dancer and actor that inspires and did everything in his power to fulfill that dream. Sharing his talent is his purpose.

Since migrating to New York, Ano has appeared in the NBC series 30 Rock alongside Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan, the ABC series Going to Extremes, and the short film Where Truth Lies. Stage credits: ‘Angel‘ in the hit Broadway show RENT, Dreamgirls, Hello Dolly, West Side Story, All Shook Up, and a revival of Mama, I Want to Sing starring Melba Moore and Chuck Cooper. He was recently seen in the world premier of Roses in The Water and Liddy’s Baths, Potions and Sammiches at Voices at the River, the only Black and Latino Playwright Program in the United States, which is produced by The Clinton and Rockefeller Foundations.

Ano Okera executive produced his debut album ‘Groove’ that was launched in Jamaica, London, and New York in early 2009 to rave reviews. He has been seen in action at the Bitter End, Sullivan Hall, Marfa and SOBs and recently opened for Kymani Marley at the Brooklyn Museum late last August.

Ano has also been cast in numerous commercials including the Jamaica Tourist Board One Love campaign, national commercials for GAP and VH1 Promos as well as national print campaigns for Metro PCS, Target, LaCoste, and Kenneth Cole Reaction. He was the face of Jamaica for Caribbean Month in New York for June 2009 which led to a performance for the Caribbean segment on the CW11 Pix Morning Show. He has recorded tracks for a variety of compilations including ‘Free’ on the ‘Down by the River’ album for VP Records.

He is delighted to present his first installment as a Playwright—an experimental jazz musical, Finding Harlem Dawn—and is working on his anthology ‘Conversations from New Harlem’ and playwriting installments including the musical A Superhero Called ‘Androgyny’: Mercutio’s Real Story and one act plays Subahan Allah, The Letter and A Night In The Park.

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