Slut Energy Theory

Slut Energy Theory
written and performed by René Marie
directed by donnie l. betts
Buy Tickets Here!


Saturday, October 12 at 4pm
Sunday, October 13 at 7pm
Friday October 18 at 7pm
Sunday October 20 at 1pm

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One woman’s story about abuse, laughter, life, & pushin’ on through to the other side.
Told through music, spoken word and monologue, U’Dean Morgan speaks her mind as an elderly, yet ageless, woman whose harrowing life experiences have left her anything but speechless. From the opening song, she tells you exactly what she thinks about sex, heaven, lies, truth, you, herself and whatever else you might ask her – if you have the nerve! Nearly five years in the making, all creative content – music, lyrics, spoken word and monologue – are original works by René Marie.

BIOS

René Marie (Writer/Performer/Producer)

Rene-On Couch Red Shoes-COLOR-B2#2a (2)René Marie the award winning singer whose style incorporates elements of jazz, soul, blues and gospel, has quickly become a heroine to many; a woman of great strength exuding stamina and compassion; often explaining how finding her voice and self through singing gave her the courage to leave an abusive marriage. But since the release of her recording debut, Renaissance, this Virginia based heroine has also evolved into one of the greatest and most sensuous vocalists of our time. Unmistakably honest and unpretentious while transforming audiences worldwide with her powerful interpretations, electrifying deliveries and impassioned vocals — René Marie has drawn a legion of fans and music critics who find themselves not only entertained, but encouraged and even changed by her performances.

With her 2013 release on Motema records, I Wanna Be Evil, René Marie channels the spirit of Eartha Kitt, covering nine gems from the Kitt repertoire including C’est Si Bon, Peel Me A Grape, My Heart Belongs To Daddy, I Wanna Be Evil, Santa Baby and more.  It marks a departure for René who in her own words “…Swore I would never do a tribute album. But Eartha Kitt was so sensuously and playfully herself onstage, and so fiercely outspoken in public, that the idea of paying musical tribute to “that bad Eartha” ignited and consumed me. Inside that vocal booth in the studio, a wild banshee spirit possessed me, transformed me, and didn’t let go until I’d sung the last note.”

With her previous release Voice of My Beautiful Country (Motema Music), listeners will hear her trademark vocals but will also be struck by the wide variety of songs that she interprets. During the course of the album, Marie brings her personal touch to everything from Motown to Tin Pan Alley to “America the Beautiful.” But Voice of My Beautiful Country is much more than a demonstration of Marie’s eclectic musical tastes; it is an ambitious celebration of Americana and the cultural diversity of these United States.

Although most of Voice of My Beautiful Country is performed in English, Marie sings in Spanish on the Latin standard “Angelitos Negros,” After falling in love with Roberta Flack’s version of “Angelitos Negros” when she was a teenager, Marie included the song to acknowledge the importance of Hispanic culture as a basic building block of America.

It is hard to believe that Marie didn’t sing professionally until after she turned 40. But in fact, the Virginia native, married at 18, mother of two by 23 and a member of a strict religious group with her then husband only occasionally sang in public while she was focused on raising a family. It was in 1996 that Marie’s eldest son Michael urged her to take the plunge to pursue a career. “He told me that was exactly what I needed to do” she explains. Two years later following an ultimatum by her husband to either stop singing or leave their home, she chose to leave after 23 years of marriage. What followed was a whirlwind of success and great critical acclaim rarely seen in the jazz world, from The LA Times to the Washington Post, from the Miami Herald to the Chicago Tribune. She has received several awards throughout her career including Best International Jazz Vocal CD (besting Cassandra Wilson and Joni Mitchell) by the Academie Du Jazz (Paris, France) and has graced the Billboard Charts multiple times propelling her to headliner status at major festivals in the US & abroad including the prestigious Women In Jazz festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Spoleto festival in Charleston, SC, the Edinburgh Jazz Festival (Scotland), Shanghai Jazz Festival (China) among many others.

In 2007 René Marie released Experiment in Truth as well as the single “This Is (Not) A Protest Song,” a fund-raiser for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. And in 2009 she released the sound track for her touring one-woman play, Slut Energy Theory (which follows the protagonist U’Dean Morgan, on a journey from sexual abuse to self esteem, imparting some very down home and hilarious wisdom along the way). Marie also released a digital single, “Three Nooses Hanging,” which musically embodied her shock and reaction to the Jena Six case in Louisiana.

Almost 15 years after the debut of Renaissance, René Marie’s creativity, boldness and exuberance take hold on Voice of My Beautiful Country. Documenting material that Marie has been performing to great effect for several years, it also follows up a nationally publicized incident where Marie was invited to sing The Star Spangled Banner in Denver at the Mayor’s State of the City address. Instead Marie sang the lyrics to ‘Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” with the melody of the Star Spangled Banner. The event touched off a firestorm of press and right wing criticism, and even death threats.

Often used to describe the classic Tin Pan Alley songs that Gershwin, Porter, Berlin and others composed during the first half of the 20th Century, The Great American Songbook for Marie also includes jazz, R&B, gospel, folk, rock and the blues — with her “Imagination Medley” she unites Tin Pan Alley, Motor City soul and rock by marrying Jimmy Van Heusen’s “Imagination” and Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong’s “Just My Imagination” (a major hit for the Temptations in 1971 that was also covered by the Rolling Stones in 1978). Marie celebrates other aspects of Americana with interpretations of material that range from Dave Brubeck’s jazz jaunt, “Strange Meadow Lark” to the Dobie Gray hit “Drift Away” (a soul/soft rock favorite from the early 1970s) to the traditional folk standards “John Henry” and an anthemic version of “O Shenandoah.”

One of the most intriguing choices on Voice of My Beautiful Country is Jefferson Airplane’s psychedelic rock favorite “White Rabbit,” which was inspired by the drug counterculture of the late 1960s. Marie notes: “I picked Jefferson Airplane because of the affection that Americans have for mind-altering substances—not that it’s unique to this country, but it is an American personality trait.

When I perform ‘White Rabbit’ live, I don’t like to tell audiences what we’re getting ready to do. I just like to see the expressions on their faces when they realize that we’re doing ‘White Rabbit.’” The center and title piece of the album is Marie’s extraordinary Voice of My Beautiful Country Suite, an ambitious jazz and soul tinged medley of the patriotic anthems “America the Beautiful,” “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” On “America the Beautiful” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” Marie takes a radical departure by performing these exalted lyrics, familiar to us all, over fresh melodies that she has composed and over which she improvises. “The whole idea was to take the most popular forms of American music—jazz, blues and gospel—and use it to underscore the power and universality of these lyrics,” Marie points out. “I love the original melodies for ‘America the Beautiful’ and ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee’; my eyes get teary when I hear them, but there is another emotion altogether that gets touched when I sing over these new melodies, and I have found that audiences really get moved by bringing this new context, this new way to love our country.”

donnie l. betts (Director)

donnie l. betts has over 20 years of experience in theatre, film, radio and, video. He is a founding member of two theatre companies in Denver, City State Ensemble and the Denver Black Arts Company. He has performed on Broadway in “The Gospel at Colonus” and in many regional theatre productions. Donnie has directed over 25 stage productions. Three quarters of those have been regional or world premieres. Betts has won numerous film and theatre directing awards. Betts directed, co-produced and acted in the documentary film “Dearfield, The Road Less Traveled”, a film about an African – American town in Colorado. “Dearfield” is the Silver Award Winner at the Black Filmworks Festival of Film and Video in Oakland, California and was featured in six other festivals including FESPACO in Burkina Faso, West Africa taking honors in three. “Dearfield” aired on PBS and he directed the film short “LALA UNCUT”. LALA was screened at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival and the film aired on the Sundance Channel. He recently served as a film consultant to the Eiteljorg Museum on African Americans in the Old West and for the 22nd annual Denver International Film Festival.

BOOKING

If you would like more information about bringing Slut Energy Theory to your school or venue, please contact Michael Wolk at booking@afofest.org or call (212) 398-7180.

ARTIST WEBSITE

Slut Energy Theory