The Apollo’s First-Ever Opera Program– Based on the life of Charlie Parker, ‘Yardbird’ will have its New York City premiere this spring


According to the Wall Street Journal, an opera based on the life of jazz legend Charlie Parker will get its New York City premiere this spring, despite the recent demise of one of its co-producers, Gotham Chamber Opera.

“Charlie Parker’s Yardbird” will open at the Apollo Theater on April 1, with a second performance planned for April 3, said officials with the theater and Opera Philadelphia, which co-produced the work. The two-day run marks the first time opera will be performed at the storied Harlem venue, where Parker appeared frequently over the course of his career.

The production stars tenor Lawrence Brownlee as Parker and includes other members of the original cast from the opera’s debut run in Philadelphia in June. Set at the Birdland jazz club on the day Parker died, it revisits his life, loves and musical endeavors, with appearances from a series of ex-wives as well as fellow bebop horn player Dizzy Gillespie.

West Harlem Art Fund will also host events to mark the importance of this work coming to our community.



Daniel Schnyder is known as a composer/performer with a dynamic reputation in both jazz and classical fields. He recorded over ten CDs of his own music for Enja Records, Col Legno, Koch Jazz, CCnc, Universal, BIS, TCB, Arabesque and Red Records. As a performer Daniel toured and recorded with many well-known classical musicians, world music artists and jazz players.

Daniel Schnyder is Composer in Residence with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin and the Bremen Musikfest 2008 as well as the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne and the Absolute Ensemble NYC. He designs Programs for the Camerata Bern 2009, the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Crested Butte Festival.



Bridgette A. Wimberly is an award-winning poet and author of eight plays who has been commissioned and produced by several theaters Off-Broadway and across the country, including Opera Philadelphia (Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD), Alliance Theatre, The Cherry LaneTheatre, St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre, and The Women’s Project (Saint Lucy’s Eyes starring Ruby Dee), Kuntu Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage (The Separation of Blood), Ensemble StudioTheatre (Rally, and Mail), The Castillo Theatre (Rally), The Cleveland Play House (Forest City), Karamu Theatre (From Breast Cancer to Broadway), Here/Tiny Mythic Theatre (Valentine), and Manhattan Theater Club (The Mark). Her plays have been published by Samuel French and are included in the anthologies of Smith and Kraus’ “Best Plays by Women 2001,” “Best 10 Minute Plays 2010,” and the Women’s Project and Production’s “A Theatrefor Women’s Voices,” 2003.

Her poems are published in six anthologies of poetry by the poetry group Cave Canem from 1999 to 2008. Bridgette is Founder and Co-Program Director of “From Breast Cancer to Broadway,” a program that teaches playwriting to and presents shorts plays by breast cancer survivors performed by professional actors. She is responsible for forming collaborations with hospitals and medical centers, theatres, actors, directors, funders, and the public.

Bridgette was part of the 2006-08 Women’s Projects Producers’ Lab, a member of Lincoln Center Theatre’s Directors Lab where she produced four satellite productions in collaboration with the Lab, a Manhattan Theatre Club Fellow, a Cherry Lane Theatre Mentor Project Fellow with Wendy Wasserstein as her mentor, and a member of the poetry group Cave Canem. She is also the recipient of fellowships and awards from The New York Foundation for the Arts (Poetry), The New York Urban Arts Initiative, and the Harlem Arts Alliance. She is on the Board of Directors at Cherry LaneTheatre, the longest continuously running Off-Broadway theatre, and a lifetime member of The Ensemble Studio Theatre.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s