Rhymes Over Beats Wraps ‘The Falling Season’ Staged Readings
A Musical Theatre Production in development written and composed by Hip Hop Legend Masta Ace
Rhymes Over Beats recently produced a reading in Theatre Row of the hip hop musical The Falling Season, written by Hip Hop’s venerable Mas- ta Ace. This powerful musical is loosely based on three of his most notable albums: Disposable Arts, A Long Hot Summer and The Falling Season.
Many notables were in the house including Mister Cee, T Money from Yo MTV Raps, Marco Polo, Lisa Cortez, Keith Shocklee, Paul Rosenberg (Shady Records), Ian Schwartzman, Rah Digga, Newark Councilman Dupreè Kelly (Lords of the Underground), Thembisa Mshaka and TikTok viral sensation Mandy Mayhem to name a few. The audience loved it and the burning question asked over and over…When’s the opening?
The production will see its debut on the West End in London, Spring 2024 and then to NYC on Broadway or Off Broadway in 2025.
“Our entire cast and our brilliant director Todd Underwood did an incredible job taking what was supposed to be a simple staged reading and bringing this story to life in a way I was not expect- ing! The fact that several people who attended hit me afterwards saying they ‘wanna see it again’, is a really good indication that we have something special with THE FALLING SEASON MUSICAL!”
“The hip hop musical, The Falling Season is the first step in achieving Rhymes Over Beats mis- sion to reunite theatre music with the popular music of the day – hip hop.
Patrick Blake– Artistic Director, Rhymes Over Beats.
“THE FALLING SEASON” is the story of a young man’s struggle to become the man he wants to be while navigating the ills of his Brooklyn neighborhood and managing a series of tumul-tuous relationships. During the summer of 1988, right before his senior year in high school, our
protagonist (AVIS) is hoping to be the first in his family to go to college. However, unexpected circumstances have put all of his hopes and dreams of a better life in jeopardy.
The musical toggles between four main settings that symbolize different components in Avis’s life: a classroom, a bodega, a stoop, and a living room. Through Avis’s eyes we meet the peo- ple–the good, the bad and the ugly–who make up the neighborhood and by extension make Avis act like someone he doesn’t want to be. It’s a summer of potential romance,
complicated friendships, risks and rewards in a place where you can lose everything in a New York minute.
By Avis’s side is his best friend FATS, a high school dropout who sees and protects Avis’s po- tential and JUNE, a girl with a future as bright and fleeting as Avis’s. The juxtaposition of Avis trying to stay focused on his future while fighting the negative effects of his neighborhood is a theme throughout the musical. No one is fully bad and no one is fully good. ROCK and GUNNA for example, the most feared drug dealer and his right hand man are a deadly combo— but there is more to them than meets the eye. And for Avis, it’s a long hot summer where the lines between the classroom and the streets — have become blurred.
D. Arillius, widely known to the music world as Hip Hop veteran Masta Ace, has been heralded as a magnificent lyricist and masterful storyteller.
Having written eleven critically acclaimed studio albums and most recently his first musical for Hip Hop Collective Rhymes Over Beats, Ace’s ability to weave cohesive and powerful narratives into his works is renowned across the cultural landscape.
“I’ve been wanting to tell these stories that have been saved in my head over the course of my 30+ year career. I finally decided to take some time away from writing albums to bring these complex characters and their world to life!”
Rhymes Over Beats is a collective of hip hop and theater artists who share a passion to create and produce theater with a hop hop aesthetic to tell seldom-told stories of our diverse, culturally- rich community. Founded by Off-Broadway producer Patrick Blake in 2015, with Associate Artis- tic Director Cate Cammarata, and Hip Hop Liaison Donna Hart, the company is a collective of MCs, DJs, beat makers, actors, playwrights, directors, and theater producers from all over the US. Our team possesses a variety of musical and artistic styles and share a passion to produce theatre that reflects us and the US at this point in our history. It is our goal to continue the trend successfully demonstrated by Hamilton to connect popular music and musical theater, in order to build a new generation of theatergoers. We will increase the number of roles for a diverse pool of actors, and will provide a safe and supportive environment especially for younger artists to express their creativity in their own style of music and theatrical vision.