Program Notes for “Samuel James Tells the Story of Tiny Bill McGraw” by Sarah Coleman


As I curate our programming geared towards young audiences it is important that it covers the three major genres of the performing arts – theater, dance and music. Our final offering this season falls into the category of music. The list of musical artists is long and with the impact of the pandemic and the shift to virtual programming I knew we needed to find a truly special musician to share their artistry in way that resonated deeply. Samuel James is the perfect fit as he writes, his performances are “part theater concert, part stomping-on-the-porch dance party and part stand-up comedy.” That’s something worth spending more time in front of a screen for. 

In our first exploratory conversation his ideas checked all I envisioned and more intimate, educational, interactive and playful – and knit together with really good music. Samuel James is a great musician whose passion for music and its lineage is always evident. What makes Samuel James Tells the Story of Tiny Bill McGraw unique is the way Samuel combines his writing, his storytelling, his sense of humor and his ability to make history relevant into a 30minute performance that transports you to somewhere in the warm South where you can feel the humidity on your skin.   

I hope you all enjoy this experience. Set the stage – turn the lights down, grab a cool beverage, crack the windows and smell that almost spring air. This won’t be the last time we’ll present Samuel James – either into your living room or on stage.   

Cheers, Sarah 
Director of Engagement