Few have experienced what Gary Samuels has and are still here to tell the story. Bouts with cancer, paralysis, partial blindness, and the death of a child are just some of the life-changing challenges he's had to endure. Samuels understands that it's only by the grace of God that he's been kept. Now the Harlem-based artist is recounting his life on stage. Gospel of The Blues, partially based on the life of Samuels, is a play which has been presented on the East Coast, in California and in Madrid, Spain. On Sunday, May 19, 2013,Gospel of The Blues will be playing in Gary's hometown at the Milton N. Sparks Auditorium of The Baptist House of Prayer (80-82 West 126th Street between 5thand Lenox Avenue, New York, NY). Doors will open at 3PM with the play starting at 4PM.
The Gospel of the Blues, a theatrical drama, takes a humorous look at the family and the struggles of day-to-day living. The play takes the audience on a hand-clapping, foot-stomping, side-splitting journey. It was written and directed by Versatile Entertainment's Gary Samuels and features a cast of talented actors including members of The Prayz'n Hymn Ensemble. In addition to Samuels, cast members include Carla Ransom, Jenee Carter, Jesse Hicks, Jeanette Coleman-Alexander, Bernice Winbush, Myna Majors, Laurie Kingsberry, Kimberly Early, Jahlil Mack and Dona Hambric. Music will be performed by The Judd Neilson Project.
Samuels is no stranger to the stage. He was in the 1978 tour company of The Wiz and the 1980 tour company ofAin't Misbehavin'. He was also the Assistant Dance Director at South Carolina State College; in addition, his entertainment resume includes roles as the Dance Director for the Barnwell Dance Theater and the Artistic Dance Director for the Minisink Townhouse in Harlem.
In addition to the play, Samuels is putting the finishing touches on a brand new release, a follow-up to 2012'sGrace of God. Soundtrack of My Soul will deliver the impeccable vocals Gary is known for. Songs like "Higher", a hyperactive and inspirational cut and the riveting track, "One By One", will be part of the artist's fourth CD. The new release contains other songs like the mid-tempo "Praise Down Inside" and the mellow "The Answer". The project will be released in the summer of 2013.
A five-octave range and a tonal quality that rivals some of today's best singers, Gary Samuels is truly a divine instrument used to inspire. He's been blessed to sing for President George Bush, President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Pope John Paul II and Nelson Mandela. He's performed at The Apollo and Radio City Music Hall and sang with Opera Diva Grace Bumbry and Jazz Great Wynton Marsalis. Also, he's opened up for Gospel Artists Donnie McClurkin, Mary Mary and Kelly Price and headlined a concert with Kim Burrell in 2011.
One of fifteen children, he was surrounded by music with a father who was a jazz pianist, and a mother who was a pianist and singer. After honing his chops at church, he sang for countless choirs including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Choir and The United Negro College Fund Choir. As he continued to sing, his love for the musical art form grew, but it always seemed like he was the loudest in the bunch. "I was always referred to as 'big mouth,'" recalls Gary. "I just couldn't sing soft - although I tried. People would tell me that in a group of dozens of singers, they could hear me!" He loved singing Gospel music, but it wasn't until his cancer diagnosis in 1984 when his calling in Gospel music was solidified. After a miraculous healing, he knew that God had His hand on him.