NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 1, 2021 – Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage, the female-led New York City-based festival, is kicking off Women’s History Month with special celebratory programming commemorating women in music and dance. The month-long digital celebration on SummerStage Anywhere in association with Time Out New York is curated to highlight female performers with featured performance RISING TIDES, The International Women’s Day Celebration, a music and dance presentation celebrating a new generation of women leaders. Additional upcoming female performances include interdisciplinary performing artist Arielle Rosales, electro pop artist La Force, soul queen of New Orleans Irma Thomas, and reggae label VP Records founder Miss Pat.
As a women-run performing arts festival with a commitment to diversity and inclusion, SummerStage is committed to gender and racial equity in its programming. In 2019, SummerStage signed on to the PRS Foundation’s international Keychange pledge, committing to present a 50:50 gender balance in its programming. Since 2019, SummerStage has featured female artists Nailah Blackman, La India, Young M.A, Japanese Breakfast, Big Freedia, Corinne Bailey Rae, Fenne Lily, Angelique Kidjo, Soccer Mommy and Carla Morrison and dancers Wendy Whelan, Sonya Tayeh, Karine Plantadit, and Ayodele Casel, among others.
The SummerStage team at City Parks Foundation is a diverse group of women across programming, operations and leadership who oversee and execute the organization’s arts events.
For seven years, CPF has been led by Executive Director Heather Lubov, who oversees all fundraising and planning to help the organization grow its free sports, education, community development and arts programs – including SummerStage – year-round. Prior, Lubov – a lifelong New Yorker – spent nearly two decades in leadership roles for New York non-profits the New York Public Library, Park Avenue Armory, and The Partnership for the Homeless.
City Parks Foundation’s Arts team is led by two female co-directors – Director of Arts Operations, Josy Dussek and Executive Artistic Director, Erika Elliott. Since 2002, Josy Dussek has overseen the logistics and production of the organization’s SummerStage and Charlie Parker Jazz Festivals. A performing arts administrator for over 20 years, Dussek has worked on multiple cultural events, including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Executive Artistic Director Erika Elliott joined the organization in 2004. Elliott is a music industry veteran who has led the festival curation for over 15 years. As the longest-standing artistic director of the festival, Elliott’s vision has helped to shape the festival into an important platform for both emerging and iconic artists including The xx, Gary Clark Jr., Jon Batiste, Diplo, Janelle Monae, Joey BadA$$, Mac DeMarco, Hugh Masekela, Eddie Palmieri, Mavis Staples, Gil Scot Heron, DJ Kool Herc, McCoy Tyner and many others. She previously held positions at Loud Records, RCA Records, William Morris agency, and S.O.B’s, where she was among the first to book previously unsigned artists John Legend, Ledisi, and Kanye West, among others.
“Representation always matters, and we are proud to be a global leader in achieving gender parity in the SummerStage and SummerStage Anywhere programming,” shares Elliott. “Curating the festival to reflect our ethos and commitment to amplify women in the arts is of paramount importance year-round, but even more so during Women’s History Month. We are eager to further elevate female artists while providing a platform for their work.”
“SummerStage is a place where multi-generational New Yorkers from every neighborhood and background can come together and enjoy high quality arts for free right in their own park,” shares Dussek. “While we wait for live in-person events to return, we are thrilled to deliver digital programming right into your home through SummerStage Anywhere. I feel truly inspired to work with such an incredible team and produce a festival with such talented women.”
Assisting in SummerStage’s festival curation are Associate Director of Programming Paula Abreu and Dance Curator and Programming Associate Danni Gee. Joining SummerStage in 2012, Brazilian native Paula Abreu has spent over a decade programming shows and festivals, diversifying bills with a wide range of forward-thinking, international acts. At SummerStage, she is responsible for booking and curating music programs focusing on global and jazz performances, including memorable projects such as Seun Kuti & Egypt 70 with Roy Ayers and the legendary Brazilian singer Elza Soares’ return to the U.S. after many years. Prior to joining CPF, she worked at the Red Hot Organization and Lincoln Center. Danni Gee has over 35 years of experience in the arts and entertainment industry, both on stage and behind the scenes. In her 14 seasons as Dance Curator at SummerStage, she has produced programs with established companies, including Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Dance Brazil, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Prior to working at SummerStage, Gee performed as a principal dancer with both the Philadelphia Dance Company and Alvin Ailey as well as a backing vocalist for Gloria Gaynor and CHER.
To commemorate Women’s History Month, SummerStage Anywhere will premiere RISING TIDES, The International Women’s Day Celebration celebrating women in music and dance, on Monday, March 8 at 7:00 PM ET. The event will stream on SummerStageAnywhere.org and across SummerStage socials: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch.
SummerStage Anywhere’s Women’s History Month performances include:
● March 4: The Rewind: a celebration of Women’s History Month with an introduction by Vanessa Reed (encore on SummerStageAnywhere.org) at 7:00 PM ET. In recognition of Women’s History Month, we take a look back at past SummerStage performances from our first-ever all-virtual season. Joining us to introduce the program is Vanessa Reed, President and CEO of New Music USA who initiated the international Keychange campaign in response to the gender gap in music. Featured artists include four-time Grammy-award winning Beninese-American superstar Angélique Kidjo, indie group Soccer Mommy, Brazilian pop artist Duda Beat, Tunisian singer-songwriter Emel, queen of disco Gloria Gaynor, award-winning Afro-Cuban jazz singer Daymé Arocena, experimental R&B violinist Sudan Archives, Mexican alternative-pop singer Carla Morrison, and Camille A Brown & Dancers company member, Chloe O. Davis.
● March 8: RISING TIDES, The International Women’s Day Celebration in association with the Consulate General of Canada in New York and New York Music Month Extended Play, an initiative of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Entertainment and four/four presents, is a music and dance presentation celebrating a new generation of women leaders. RISING TIDES will premiere the SummerStage commissioned work, “four/four presents: All That I Am” with new music by electro pop artist La Force, celebrating the strength, beauty and power of women working together to lead us now and into the future. Featured dancers include Amara Barner (RUBBERBAND), Miranda Chan (Le fils D’Adrien), Axelle Ebony (Asymmetry Creations), Shanyca Eli-Leconte (Asymmetry Creations), Shanna Irwin (Les Ballets Jazz De Montreal), and Gabrielle Simard (CORPUS Collective). The show also includes an encore presentation of “Becoming Mother Duende: An Ode to New York” by interdisciplinary performing artist/choreographer and New Yorker Arielle Rosales.
● March 18: VP Records 40th Anniversary Show Reel, introduction by Miss Pat in conversation with Catalina Maria Johnson (encore on SummerStageAnywhere.org) at 7:00 PM ET. Ms. Pat (Patricia Chin), founder of Queens, New York’s reggae label VP Records, will be in conversation with arts journalist Catalina Maria Johnson (NPR) in celebration of Miss Pat’s anticipated book release, Miss Pat – My Reggae Music Journey. Following the conversation, SummerStage will broadcast excerpts from the VP Records’ 40th anniversary concert presented in Central Park in 2019, including illustrious alumni: Elephant Man, whose 2003 hit “Pon di River, Pon di Bank” and collaborations with Wyclef Jean and Busta Rhymes helped further blur the lines between dancehall and hip hop; Junior Reid, the former Black Uhuru vocalist whose 1989 classic “One Blood” has spawned countless remakes and interpolations; Estelle, the genre-bending, Grammy-winning English singer best known for her Kanye West collaboration “American Boy” and who now has her own album, Lover’s Rock, on the VP label; and Grammy-nominated Raging Fyah, a five-piece band from Kingston, Jamaica that makes music bound to the roots rock reggae tradition.
● March 25: Soul Clap at SummerStage highlighting the Soul Queen of New Orleans Irma Thomas (encore on SummerStageAnywhere.org) at 7:00 PM ET. In 2019, The New York Night Train Soul Clap and Dance-Off took over SummerStage at the Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk. Take a look back as the soul legends themselves make a rare New York appearance to sing their hits live with an all-star 13-piece band. The iconic Irma Thomas, who had recently celebrated her 80th birthday, performed along with Archie Bell, Joe Bataan, Betty Harris, Renaldo Domino, Binky Griptite and the Brooklyn Rhythm Band.
All performances will be streamed on SummerStageAnywhere.org and all SummerStage social channels ( YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch).
Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage is a proud member of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA).