WATCH: Poets And Performers Set Classic Books to Rap


Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs― the former a prolific poet and playwright, the latter of “Hamilton” and Clipping fame ― have teamed up once again to rap their way through creative canons.

This time the duo invited members of the theater community to bring the stories of classic books to the stage in “#Bars Mixtape Musical Medley Vol. 2.”

It’s the sequel to “Mixtape Musical Medley Vol. 1,” of course, in which 12 participants selected a scene from a movie, TV show or comic strip and turned it into a hip-hop-infused theatrical scene. That video was shared widely last June.

Diggs and Casal filmed Vol. 2 at the Public Theater in New York City. Over 300 actors, writers and performers applied to take part in the book-themed theater workshop, and Diggs and Casal (along with an advisory panel) narrowed that list down to 17 people. Those 17 performed their own takes ― involving rap, spoken word, and some song ― on books like Beloved, Lord of the Flies, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, Things Fall Apart, Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, and “Death of a Salesman.” (Yes, that last one is a play.)

“We happened upon one of the most talented groups of actors, musicians & writers I have had the pleasure of working with, and for 8 sessions, we studied the use of verse in theater together, through the creation of this medley,” Casal wrote in an email to The Huffington Post, discussing the preparations that went into “#Bars.”

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Source: Black Voices | Katherine Brooks