Arts & Entertainment Producer Voza Rivers is Harlem Royalty
December 30, 2022
Hosted By: G.Keith Alexander
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Theatre director Voza Rivers was born on December 27, 1942 in Harlem, New York City. After graduating from George Washington High School in 1959, Rivers received his A.S. degree in police science from the College of Police Science at the City University of New York and worked as an undercover officer with the New York City Police Department. He later received his M.A. degree in communication arts from the New York Institute of Technology. In 1964, Rivers joined Roger Furman’s New Heritage Theatre and became New Heritage Theatre Group’s executive producer in 1983. Under his leadership, New Heritage Theatre Group produced a series of South African plays and collaborated with black South African playwright Mbongeni Ngema in the 1980s. Their first play, Woza Albert!, heralded for its satirical take on South African Apartheid, won over twenty awards worldwide. The second collaboration, Asinamali!, went to Broadway and was nominated for a Tony Award. Rivers received acclaim for the introduction and presentation of the third collaboration with Lincoln Center Theatre, Sarafina!, the South African musical by Ngema, depicting students involved in the Soweto Riots in opposition to apartheid. The Tony and Grammy-nominated Sarafina! premiered on Broadway in 1988 at the Cort Theatre, and following 597 performances and eleven previews, closed in 1989.
Producer Voza Rivers talks about his amazing career and becoming 80 years young.