Sorry John Henry the song has no end is an experimental opera inspired by a 1940 production of John Henry which closed only 5 days after its New York premiere. The musical starred Paul Robeson in the title role alongside a notable cast including Ruby Elzy, Josh White, and Bayard Rustin. The project resurrects archival text, music, and images to reconsider stories of land, labor, and freedom that weave through the many renditions of the John Henry story, including the failed Broadway production.

directed by Ian Andrew Askew

text by mace dent johnson

music direction by Joshuah Brian Campbell

co-created and performed by Dyani Douze, Eden Girma, Khari Lucas, Jasmine Wilson, Kiara Benn, Ian Andrew Askew, mace dent johnson, and Joshuah Brian Campbell.

scenic design by Cheyanne Williams

Development residencies:
The Mercury Store
Wake Forest University School of Divinity
Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC)
Hubbard Hall

rehearsal images by Maria Baranova
video courtesy of BAC