Mother and Daughter

mother-daughterMaggie Mae Wood Godfrey  in 1945 and her Daughter Caroline Lynnie Godfrey Lee at a commercial shoot on November 3, 2015

What is Happening????

Don’t ask…Look at the calendar page and you will see how blessed I am with projects…But the one that has touched my heart and soul lately is the MEMOIR PROJECT…Yes, that is right  I am working on a writing project with Bathsheba Monk and  she and the project have sent me searching for ME! What a trip that has been. Thank you Bathsheba for making me dig and find all of those MEs..The younger one, the youngest one, the silly one, the stupidly arrogant one…You brought me back there and yanked me forward to now all in one visit. I found ME!! How great was that. I hope this writing of this book helps some…after all that is what it is for.

Why do it???Why not!!WHY NOT!!!!!

Dynamic play reading directed by local resident going to NYC

Unentitled Cast Top Left to Right: CB Murray, Ron Scott, Charles White, Anthony Goss, Cole Taylor, Justin Walker White,  Bottom Left to Right: Brenda Thomas Denmark, Alexandra Foucard, Lynnie Godfrey, Jalene Goodwin

Unentitled Cast
Top Left to Right: CB Murray, Ron Scott, Charles White, Anthony Goss, Cole Taylor, Justin Walker White,
Bottom Left to Right: Brenda Thomas Denmark, Alexandra Foucard, Lynnie Godfrey, Jalene Goodwin

By Ewuradjoa Dawson

BETHLEHEM, PA -The upper level of the ArtsQuest Center was abuzz with chatter Tuesday night as people gathered with drinks in hand anxious to view Charles White’s original play, Unentitled.

“Dynamic!” was the unanimous take away from the audience. You could hear that word tossed around during intermission and again during Q&A.

The play’s backdrop is one many are familiar with. Set in 2008 at the brink of national recession when job security, financial stability, and a historic election consumed the minds of Americans. Unentitled addresses themes of family unity when things go awry.

“It’s a slice of African American life we don’t get to see,” says White. “We’re either thugs or gangsters or extremely perfect. But here are regular people with regular people problems.”

In the play, Patriarch Frank Saunders, played by Ron Scott, is a successful lawyer one promotion away from becoming partner when he is abruptly laid off. Frank sees this as opportunity to revisit a 20-year-old business venture to start a sports agency. Much to the disapproval of his socialite wife Deanna –played by Alexandra Foucard –whose family vacation home may be on the line.

Although not autobiographical, White shares some similarities with Frank having gone to law school and worked in corporate America before pursuing his desire to be a playwright.

The 5 year labor of love could not be without the support of Lehigh Valley resident, Director Lynnie Godfrey.

“I once heard that you should make your plays director proof because directors will ruin your vision. That is not the case! She [Godfrey] was a marvelous director, wonderful to work with” says White.

Award winning actor and director, Godfrey wants to introduce spoken word theatre to the Lehigh Valley. The striped down spoken word reading was a hit among the lively audience who described the reading as impressive and fierce.

Unentitled has been paralleled to the momentous Raisin in the Sun. What happens when the upper middle class black family is challenged? Do they cling to sentiment and status or clasp to strategy and survival?

Both Godfrey and White express a willingness to allow the play to evolve.

“When you live with it as long as I have its all really flat, so you look to the audience for their reaction,” says White.

When asked, “What’s next?” Godfrey energetically responses, “There will be a next! We’re hoping that there will be a similar reading in New York City followed by a workshop.”

White’s Unentitled was produced by ArtsQuest and GodLee Entertainment, Inc. with special thanks to Air Products.

Lynnie Godfrey: Spending the Holidays with Lynnie Godfrey

by George W. Harris

888295154659.600x600-75If you want a little swing in your Christmas stocking, here’s a nice one for you. Vocalist Lynnie Godfrey teams up with Roger Latzgo/p-g, Neil Wetzel/sax-fl, Anthony Marino/b and Gary Rissmiller/dr as the main team on this collection of traditional Natal tunes. Her mezzo soprano voice has a warm vibrato, and she knows how to step up to the plate with some bopping on ”Let it Snow” but can also keep it soft and gentle with Wtzel’s sax on the fragrant “Winter Wonderland.” She gets coy with Marino on “Santa Baby,” but saves the best for a wonderfully intimate duet with Latzgo on “Sweet Little Jesus Boy.” Enjoyable in season and out! www.lynniegodfrey.com

Originally published here: http://www.jazzweekly.com/2014/12/lynnie-godfrey-spending-the-holidays-with-lynnie-godfrey/

CONVERSATIONS WITH A PROTECTED CHILD

One might wonder about the title of my first foray into dialogue through the social media…What is a “protected” child?

Well, let me explain as much as I as can? As a child of my generation …a child of the ‘the greatest generation’ I was protected from the vicious, venomous reaches of racism by two parents who employed the tactics of a military general.

I was an adult on the set of the Norman Lear Television series I starred in called 704 Hauser before I discovered I was protected. The unaired episode was discussing the ways Black parents of the 1940s, 1950s and even 1960s sheltered their children from the indignities of racisms. It hit me on a break that my parents had practiced this and I was never aware of it. Sadly my Father (Fred Godfrey) had passed away from the aftereffects of an abdominal aneurysm months before; however my Mother (Maggie Godfrey) was still alive. I rushed to the phone and posed the question to my sweet ailing, fiery Mother… ”Mom, did you create picnics and events on our trips to protect me from thinking or finding out that I was …no we were not welcome somewhere?” There was a silence and then an uncharacteristic “Uh huh” with a slight break in her voice…Tears immediately came to my eyes, for I know that even then my Mother never wanted me to think I was not allowed to do anything any other child could do. She was still  protecting  me.

Then a rush of memories came to my mind that over those formative years where My Mother and her friends… Black and White had protected me from the harsh stares and whispers.

I will recall one event….  My Mother’s  Jewish friend and customer Rhoda Lipoff of Englewood, New Jersey invited me with her daughter Lisa and Laurie (I think Laurie was home that day) to swim in the building pool downstairs. I remember my Mother’s funny hesitancy to have me participate. I thought ‘Oh, she’s afraid, because I really don’t know how to swim” She needn’t have worried about my swimming safety or my getting my hair wet because I was never going out of the shallow water and never putting my newly pressed hair under water…. 🙂

No …My Mother knew the women in that building, some of these same women being the product of racism at its worse decades before…but there was no desire to have their pool shared with any child that did share their same color unless the child’s parents were celebrities…maybe.

My Mother’s friend assured her fears by saying…”Oh no worries…I am going down with the girls”. I remember the stern looks displayed and then the those same looks vanished as the over powering presence (silently, of course) of Rhoda, made it perfectly clear she was ready to confront each and every one of them and their husbands if a moment of discomfort occurred. I saw it but paid no attention…I never thought it had to do with me…I was truly a product of childhood naiveté.

How I wish today I could hug and kiss both of these ladies for their bravery and love. That is not to be…. for my Mother passed away in 1996 and her friend Rhoda is still alive but is now the victim of Alzheimer’s as her loving family surrounds her; recognizes none of them. My hug and kiss would go unrecognized.

Yes, as I recall these stories I know there are countless more that can be discussed and recorded. SO here is my point…I was protected as a child…now it is my turn to protect…even if it is wanted or not.

My husband, Carl is a Mathematic genius in his own right, but has no patience or very little patience. When he decided to tutor children in our area…I thought…”Oh My”… But he returned home from his first session, he was exuberant, talkative and concerned but not inpatient. His concern was that many or most the children in this lovely program were without fundamentals. You know those things that teach reasoning and deduction in life.  The children did not know their multiplication table. Now as any adults now should be able to tell you, multiplication tables are memorization…but they teach us other things. They teach how to reach solutions, deductions, reasoning etc. Our children are entering our society and are not equipped to deal with the challenges…Why? Many reasons…

Budget cuts, no job incentives given to teachers…but what is our solution…I can type here and type a number of reasons…We need solutions. Let us protect our children as we were protected…ALL our children… All COLORS AND RACES… to rephrase a Beatle tune…

HELP! We need somebody

Please just everybody…HELP!!!

So, I invite a conversation…from those of you on line…teachers, parents, insightful adults…Where do we go from here?

Let us find some solutions

Let us have a conversation….share some of your protection stories…Let us find an answer for the CHILDREN!!!!

Write me on twitter @ #lynniegodfrey

Upcoming CD Release

UPDATE:

I have completed my two CDs… my debut CD…LYNNIE GODFREY…DOING IT HER WAY …and my Holiday CD …SPENDING THE HOLIDAYS WITH LYNNIE GODFREY…both are available on this web site for purchase as promised.

I am also starting a theatrical project…a new play…working with a wonderful writer and wonderful creators…Will let you know more as the project get closer to the finishing product. I am due to direct a reading of it NEXT SEASON!!!!

LOOK FOR IT!!!!

The passing of Broadway producer Ashton Springer has prompted me to reflect on his influence on my career as well as the industry in New York City.
His determination to produce theatrical works that featured people of different colors was the impotence that drove me into working theater. One may be enthusiastic about going into the theatre but Ashton Springer made it possible to make a living. Thank you Ashton Springer.
He was brave enough to take a chance on a young girl fresh out of college who did well in his showcase of SHUFFLE ALONG and bring that same naive child to Broadway in the musical revue …EUBIE! and start a career that is still going today…
Thank you Ashton Springer and in the same breath thank you Dr. Chauncey Northern Sr. of Carnegie Hall for nurturing my passion for music and performing from my early teens until my forties…You were an inspiration…
I am involved in the creation of a wonderful program that is being started at Arts Quest/SteelStacks that will honor the artists of Leigh Valley. It is called “Artists Among Us”….What a wonderful idea that was started by the chair of the Committee I serve on Robin Staff. I am also involved in the presentation of a Theatrical reading scheduled to take place at SteelStacks …what another wonderful opportunity to showcase the fabulous talent of the area….
So much talent in one area….

On a sadder note…I want to express my sadness at the passing of the son of Ms. Toni Leslie James (designer)…the senseless killing of our young beautiful men. The same horrible action occurred to the son of my friend Dwight Cooke (director,stage manager )…Senseless and Horrible…My heart and prayers go out to the families who must experience this heartbreak… God Bless

Great Review from Jazz Weekly

George W. Harris offered a glowing review of  Lynnie Godfrey: Doing It Her Way. Read below or visit  Jazz Weekly at this link: http://www.jazzweekly.com/2014/08/lynnie-godfrey-doing-it-her-way/

Lynnie Godfrey: Doing It Her Way

Vocalist Lynnie Godfrey delivers a song like a stage production. You can tell she’s comfortable acting, as each of these songs with the mix and match team of Roger Latzgo/p-g, Tom Hamilton/ts, Anthony Marino/b and  Gary Rismiller/dr is delivered like a story being told. Her dramatic vibrato inflections on a dramatic intro lead into a swinging and enthusiastic “It Don’t Mean a Thing” while other tunes with the whole band such as “The Best is Yet to Come” and “L-O-V-E” feature her in respective moods of saucy and coy. When she Spartans down the support with simple support by Latzgo and Hamilton, she glows with an evocative “Moon River” or reaches down deep and gets the red clay beneath her fingers on “But Beautiful” as her inflections give descriptions to each adjective. A sole duet with Latzgo on guitar during “Send in the Clowns” makes you want an encore performance, which is what all actresses desire-leave the crowd wanting more. Impressive tales!

Lynnie Godfrey’s New CD “DOING IT HER WAY” Is NOW AVAILABLE !!!!

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Lynnie Godfrey”s debut CD “DOING IT HER WAY” is available at all performances and events. and on cb.baby.com and itunes and very soon on this web site.

Here are several excerpts of a few choice song selections.

 

 

Lynnie Godfrey Performs on WFMZ

LynnieLynnie Godfrey visited WFMZ to perform selections from her upcoming CD which will launch in January 2014 at the Jazz Showcase in New York City. Area residents can catch a live performance of these selections at her next performance Friday, October 18th @ 7:30PM at the Allentown’s Miller Symphony Hall where she will be headlining their Jazz Cabaret Series.

Click here for more information on the performance.