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A Must See

U.S. Premiere of Debbie Allen’s Freeze Frame At The Wallis

Stop / The madness / Freeze frame / Take a good look at this picture

Three-time Emmy Award-winning choreographer/director extraordinaire Debbie Allen wants those who witness her Freeze Frame production to consider where they fit into the picture on gun violence in America. Written, directed and choreographed by Allen, the U.S. premiere event is described as a live experience and call to action. Stories of the passion and pain of Los Angeles’ toughest streets are set amid a dance-driven musical along with cinema and theatre.

Public performances are Feb. 5-7, at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California. The production run kicks off with a gala performance Feb. 4, presented by Allen and award-winning journalist Maria Shriver. Shriver’s Architects of Change initiative will ignite and reframe the conversation about America’a relationship with violence – a conversation that starts with self and ultimately one that can begin to change the country, according to Shriver.

According to Allen, the Freeze Frame project – which began as a film – was conceived when she was part of the film and television installments of Fame during the 1980s. She was upset about the violence in her community and wanted to use her art to do something about addressing the issue.

In a television news interview, Allen said the project’s title demands and asks: “Stop. Look at this picture. Where do you fit into this picture? How can you change what’s getting ready to happen?” The premise of the show pits an innocent young child against circumstance, as he is in danger of being shot by the police. Inspired by real-life narratives, Allen explained Freeze Frame provides a voice to young people, the police and pro- and anti-gun activists alike.

In January, The White House under President Obama’s Administration ordered executive actions to reduce gun violence and make communities safer. The Office of the Press Secretary released:

Over the past decade in America, more than 100,000 people have been killed as a result of gun violence – and millions more have been the victim of assaults, robberies, and other crimes involving a gun. Many of these crimes were committed by people who never should have been able to purchase a gun in the first place. Over the same period, hundreds of thousands of other people in our communities committed suicide with a gun and nearly half a million people suffered other gun injuries. Hundreds of law enforcement officers have been shot to death protecting their communities. And too many children are killed or injured by firearms every year, often by accident.

Allen considers Freeze Frame – which had its world premiere at the Brisbane Festival in Australia in 2013 – as one of her most important works. The founder of Debbie Allen Dance Academy and sister to Tony winner Phylicia Rashad has been an artist in residence at the Kennedy Center for more than 15 years. In addition to directing for Broadway (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Carrie), Allen has contributed her expertise to: Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Empire, A Different World, Everybody Hates Chris, That’s So Raven, Stompin’ At The Savoy, and The Fantasia Barrino Story.

Featuring artists from Allen’s dance academy alongside seasoned performers, proceeds will benefit the renowned academy. Shows are 8pm Friday and Saturday, with 3pm and 12 noon matinees on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The production contains strong language. Purchase tickets HERE.

Join the conversation at #FreezeFrameLA.


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