Capathia Jenkins, who received rave reviews for her show-stopping performance in the 2006 Broadway hit "Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me," and award-winning composer/performer Louis Rosen announce the launch of their debut CD, CAPATHIA JENKINS AND LOUIS ROSEN: SOUTH SIDE STORIES. Inspired by Rosen’s experiences growing up on the south side of Chicago, SOUTH SIDE STORIES is a moving collection of songs about youth, coming-of-age, and experience.
SOUTH SIDE STORIES marks Jenkins and Rosen’s third project together. They launched their collaboration in March 2005 with sold-out performances of Rosen's acclaimed TWELVE SONGS ON POEMS BY MAYA ANGELOU at Joe’s Pub. The success of their debut led to repeat performances at celebrated venues in New York including Birdland and the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, The Old Stone House in Brooklyn, as well as the legendary Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago.
In June of 2006, Capathia and Louis appeared in concert at the prestigious Great Hall of Cooper Union in New York with special guest vocalist, Alton Fitzgerald White. Together they offered yet another world-premiere, Louis' fourteen-song DREAM SUITE: SONGS IN JAZZ AND BLUES, on poems by Langston Hughes.
CAPATHIA JENKINS AND LOUIS ROSEN: SOUTH SIDE STORIES received unanimous critical acclaim for its world premiere at the Steppenwolf Theater in December 2005, and its three-concert New York premiere at The Public Theater's Joe's Pub in October and November 2006.
From the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, Hedy Weiss, December 20, 2005: "Something quite magical can happen when a composer has a specific voice to serve as his muse. Consider the case of Louis Rosen…and his songbird of choice, Capathia Jenkins…performing Rosen's nostalgic, romantic, emotionally charged song cycle, South Side Stories.”
From BLOOMBERG NEWS, Jeremy Gerard, Nov.1, 2006:
"Jenkins will knock you flat….I've never been so seduced by music completely new to me yet as embraceable as any from the classic American songbook. She is the muse to composer-lyricist Louis Rosen. The two have already collaborated on a dozen poems by Maya Angelou set to Rosen's music. Now they have recorded his ``South Side Stories,'' a song cycle that betrays influences as diverse as Harold Arlen and Rickie Lee Jones. Yet what is so memorable about this pairing is how unselfconscious and confident both are, Rosen as composer and songsmith, Jenkins his joyous, hand-in-glove interpreter.
"Rosen, who accompanies on piano and guitar, has a James Taylor-like talent for setting intimate lyrics over facile, catchy melodies. This cycle includes numbers about the changing social landscape of Chicago's South Side; the first teen-love song I can remember that ends not in tragedy but in enduring friendship; the complicated relationship between parent and child. The most beautiful number is "The Peace That Comes,'' about the death of a father…Don't miss this show."
From the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Kerry Reid, December 21, 2005: “Capathia Jenkins' soaring voice — sweet, smart, sassy and full of soul — warmed the hearts of everyone in the audience for "South Side Stories...."
In "South Side Stories," Rosen...has created a fine and sometimes somber portrait of heartbreak and survival, joy and its absence, and love that endures even when the objects of that love are long vanished."
"Jenkins…has an uncanny ear for the droll irony and naked emotion of Rosen's work, and a vocal range that brings out every shift in tone without bombast or pathos… It's a no-brainer that Rosen would set Angelou's rollicking ode to plus-size confident women, "Phenomenal Woman," to music for Jenkins.
This is intelligent and moving work that deserves…a wider audience. As it is, the appreciative crowd at Steppenwolf…received an early holiday present, thanks to Rosen's moving music and Jenkins' astonishing vocal gifts."
From CABARET SCENES, Tesse Fox, October 29, 2006:
"Capathia Jenkins is gifted with one of those rare voices that makes pouring out one’s soul into music seem effortless. And when she is singing the music of Louis Rosen, she makes that soul into a thing of rare beauty and power. Whether the lyrics are based on poems by Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou or are penned by Rosen himself, the songs and their singer are perfectly married, expressing every imaginable emotion with a simple, beautiful clarity.
"In their concert at Joe's Pub, promoting their new album South Side Stories, Jenkins and Rosen create musical images of life on Chicago's famed South Side. Whether celebrating youthful abandon or mourning heartbreak, the songs are as intelligent as they are soulful, appealing to the brain as much as the heart. Rosen sings several songs himself, allowing for some nice variation in style and tone. The evening, ultimately, is a wonderfully emotional celebration of life that can appeal to every musical palate."
Capathia and Louis recently reprised "South Side Stories" in concert at the Sixth Street and I Historic Synagogue and Theater J in Washington, D.C. in March 2007, and are scheduled to reprise the work again in June 2007 in return engagements at the Manhattan nightclub, Birdland, and at Brooklyn's The Old Stone House in June 2007.
They recently accepted an offer to record their next two CDs for the prestigious independent record label, PS Classics, one of which will be the world-premiere recording of Louis' newest work for Capathia, a fourteen-song suite set to the words of the renowned poet, Nikki Giovanni.
CAPATHIA JENKINS has recently wowed audiences and press alike with her show-stopping Broadway performance in MARTIN SHORT: FAME BECOMES ME. She has also received rave reviews for her performances on Broadway in the Tony-nominated musical "CAROLINE, OR CHANGE;" Frank Wildhorn's "THE CIVIL WAR;" Bacharach and David’s "THE LOOK OF LOVE," and for her most recent appearance Off-Broadway in the one-woman play, "(MIS)UNDERSTANDING MAMMY: THE HATTIE MCDANIELS STORY."
Other credits include the Off-Broadway revival of GODSPELL; national and European tours of CAROLINE, OR CHANGE, DREAMGIRLS and BUBBLIN' BROWN SUGAR; and regional productions of AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' and CHILDREN OF EDEN. Television appearances include "The Practice," "Law & Order," "Law & Order: SVU," "Third Watch" and "The Sopranos."
LOUIS ROSEN was awarded a 2005-2006 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Music Composition. He is the composer and co-librettist of the musical theater pieces BOOK OF THE NIGHT, (Goodman Theatre, Chicago), and A CHILD'S GARDEN, (Melting Pot Theatre, off-Broadway); and song cycles including TWELVE SONGS, on poems by Maya Angelou; SOUTH SIDE STORIES, for which he wrote music and lyrics; DREAM SUITE: Songs in Jazz and Blues, on poems by Langston Hughes; and IT IS STILL DARK: SONGS OF EXILE, on words by Celso Gonzalez-Falla. He is also the author of "THE SOUTH SIDE: THE RACIAL TRANSFORMATION OF AN AMERICAN NEIGHBORHOOD," published by Ivan R. Dee. Inc., Chicago, in hardcover and cloth; and the composer of the forthcoming musical adaptation of the THE PEARL, based on John Steinbeck's novella, to be directed by Doug Hughes.
Other awards include the Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Musical Theater Award; an NEA New American Works grant; the Sloan Foundation's Grand Galileo Prize; a 2006 Puffin Foundation Award; a generous grant from the Anna Sosenko Trust, 2007; and numerous ASCAP awards.