Chosen from over 400 international submissions and presented in the New York Music Theater Festival in an Off-Broadway World Premiere.

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Look What A Wonder

A Story About A Family Separated by Slavery

Music, Book & Lyrics by Walter Robinson Directed by Zandra Hall Music Direction by Jeremiah Klarman

NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE!

Media Arts Center
1234 Columbus Avenue
Boston, MA 02120

All Tickets
All purchase information, available Jan 15th, 2024

Dates:
Apr 19 @ 11a & 8:30p, Apr 20 @ 2:30p & 8:30p, Apr 21 @ 2:30p & 8:30p

“I have been a fan of Walter Robinson’s music for Look What A Wonder since I first encountered it. With its gorgeous melodies and uplifting choral harmonies, the score has stayed with me for years. I’m certain others will feel the same once they’re fortunate enough to hear it.” 

—Alex Lacamoire

Past Musical Director of Look What a Wonder

and Current Musical Director of Hamilton

“A gospel Jesus Christ Superstar!” 

– The New York Times

“An artistic achievement of the highest quality and merit. An allegory for our time ”

– Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

“A story. . .that needs to be told and retold to our children and to all Americans.”

– Oskar Eustis
Artistic Director,

Public Theater which launched Hamilton

“Mr. Robinson, you’ve created a potential Tony winning score!”

– Dr. Woodie King, Jr.

The Father of Black American Theater after seeing a preview concert performance at St. Marks
E 10th street NYC

Sculpture: “Slave in Revolt” by Karl Broodhagen, Barbados
Photograph by R. Norman Matheny.
Used with the kind permission of the National Cultural Foundation, Barbados Government.

Look What A Wonder translates the pathos of slavery into the story of one leader’s struggle for personal redemption and collective justice.

“The production surpasses its strictly gospel roots and bursts into thrilling theatricality…a terrific ensemble and dynamic performances.”
backstage.com

“A refreshingly honest change of pace…soulfelt and true … ”
Talkin Broadway

“…has all the ingredients of a Broadway multi-year run.”
John Budris, Christian Science Monitor

“Roof-raising ensemble numbers … that soar to the heavens…richly evocative.”
Show Showdown


The title is taken from an old slave hymn and reflects the fact that Vesey’s conspiracy was largely plotted from within his first independent Black church attended by Slaves and free Blacks. This church line eventually became Mother Emmanuel AME, where in 2015 nine parishioners were massacred by a White Supremest youth during a bible study.

Walter Houston Robinson
Writer / Composer / Producer

Walter Robinson is a composer, lyricist, writer, producer, and journalist.

As a composer he is best recognized for his children’s song “Harriet Tubman” which has become an American Folk Classic and is sung by children internationally. Harriet Tubman is published by Hal Leonard and the work is also scored for full orchestra and chorus, and is distributed by R. Schirmer, Inc. NYC.

Robinson’s earliest music education was as a double bassist. During middle  school he studied classical string bass with Ferdinand Maresh of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and, thru Maresh, audited rehearsal performance time in the Curtis School of Music Orchestra in Philadelphia. Simultaneously, Robinson played in a jazz quintet led by Carl Grubbs, nephew of John Coltrane. Robinson, also a jazz bass student of Jimmy Garrison John Coltrane’s bassist,  had the indelible experience as a youth to  “sit in” with  John Coltrane on bass at The Five Spot in NYC.  

After working to pay for his first two years of college, he earned a two year full scholarship and completed a BA as double major in Music and Psychology at Temple University. He then attended Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music Graduate School in Music Composition.  Robinson’s early lyricist education was enriched by the mentorship of world-renowned Jewish lyricist E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, who wrote the lyrics to “Over The Rainbow.” Robinson recounts asking  Harburg: “What was the greatest song ever written? to have Harburg answer by singing the slave spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” This relationship empowered Robinson to prioritize the rich legacy of Negro spirituals as inspiration for his original music.

Now, having turned solely to music composition, Robinson was honored with an unsolicited appointment of Composer-Writer-Producer In Residence 2024-25 Season and Research Fellow at the internationally known W. E. B. Dubois Institute for Afro-American  Research, Harvard University for eight years. During this time, Robinson researched and wrote the libretto, music, and lyrics to a gospel folk opera, based on the Denmark Vesey Slave Conspiracy of 1822 entitled Look What A Wonder. Look What A Wonder won over 21  grants and prizes during development alone, including the prestigious National Endowment of  the Arts Composer-Librettist Award. Carnegie patron,  GoGo Fergusson funded Robinson on three-week research  trip to the Carnegie’s  formerly privately owned Cumberland Is which held rich artifacts from slavery.  This research trip which included research time in Charleston, SC  and in the South Carolina  low country was  featured in an article in TIME Magazine.

What A Wonder was chosen out 400 international submissions and was given a World Off Broadway Premiere in the prestigious New York Music Theater Festival. The New York Times described the work as: “ A Gospel Jesus Christ Super Star!”

Look What A Wonder was optioned by Broadway producers who, then, unable to get it capitalized for a Broadway run, told Robinson: “ A musical about a Black revolutionary is not entertainment and would never sell tickets on Broadway.”

Notwithstanding, Boston Philanthropist Seth Klarman, thru the curriculum development non profit, Facing History and Ourselves,  funded Look What A Wonder on a National Concert Tour to Memphis, Cleveland, LA, SF, Chicago, and Boston, which in turn generated more national concert performances in Seattle, Philadelphia, Charleston, Memphis, Cincinnati, Lewiston, ME and Martha’s Vineyard. Five New England independent schools hosted performances. These were: Concord Academy, The Parks School, Fessenden, Exeter, and Buckingham Brown and Nichols.

Robinson then joined his in-law Philippine family for one decade in the Philippines where he wrote, directed, scored and produced anti-sex trafficking  radio a and TV ads, entitled Love Rescues.  

Robinson and his Philippine wife and their son returned to the US in April of 2018 to attend the VIP opening of Brian Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative’s Peace and Justice Monument in Montgomery Alabama. Vernon Jordan, then introduced Robinson’s Denmark Vesey work Look What A Wonder to Ford Foundation President, Darren Walker who via his Ford Foundation office,  funded a  Look What A Wonder  revival August 2019 on Martha’s Vineyard to excellent reviews.