Voza Rivers, Executive Producer

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Award Winning Producer of Theater, Film, Music & Live Events

Local, National and International Impresario for the Advancement of Arts and Culture

Voza Rivers is a leading theater, music, and events producer and documentary filmmaker, born in Harlem, New York. Rivers is the executive producer and founding member of the New Heritage Theatre Group (established in 1964) and executive producer and co-founder of IMPACT Repertory Theatre, the Oscar-nominated youth division of New Heritage Theatre Group led by U.S. director, activist and educator Jamal Joseph. He has produced and co-produced theater, music, and television projects, film festivals, and music tributes in the United States, Japan, South Africa, and the UK.

In the music and live genre arenas, Rivers has produced music events and concerts featuring world-renowned artists. A partial listing includes: Nancy Wilson, Nina Simone, Ruby Dee, Luther Vandross, James Brown, The Count Basie Orchestra, Ray Charles, Ashford and Simpson, Boy George, George Benson, Tito Puente, Lionel Hampton, Isaac Hayes, Little Jimmy Scott, Celia Cruz, Miriam Makeba, Kool and the Gang, Hugh Masekela, Boyz II Men, Tony Bennett, Anita Baker, Chuck Jackson, Max Roach, Gloria Lynne, Yolanda Adams, Mary J. Blige, Dionne Warwick, Manhattan Transfer, Toni Braxton, Jonathan Butler, Phyllis Hyman, Grover Washington, Jr., and Chaka Khan.

A partial listing of Rivers’ productions includes:Mbongeni Ngema’s, the TONY and Grammy nominated hit Broadway musical “Sarafina,” “Township Fever,” the OBIE award winning “Woza Albert!; “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and Romeo and Juliet” (featuring leading Black actors from the Royal Court Theatre Company and Royal National Theatre in England); the Tony nominated “Asinamali!,” the Obie Award winning play the “Huey P. Newton Story” at the Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture in Harlem; AVANTI blending opera jazz & symphonic orchestra featuring Kenn Hicks with Marcus Miller and Herbie Hancock at Jazz at Lincoln Center; 2006 Jazz for Peace, East Meets West featuring the High Society Orchestra with music students from Waseda University in Tokyo, and award-winning jazz composer, arranger and instrumentalist, Harlemite Craig Harris, at the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture; 2005 Jazz for Peace, East Meets West and Tocho Swing Beats and Frank Foster and his minority loud band; God’s Trombones featuring Craig Harris with special guest artist Avery Brooks at the Apollo Theatre; and several PBS, BBC, NBC and Starz Encore cable presentations; television and video shorts; specials and documentaries.

In 2015 Voza Rivers and New Heritage Theatre Group partnered with MIST Harlem to present the staged reading series Bold New Voices, Past, Present and Future. The Bold New Voices series presents and creates stories about people of color. Programs will encompass African American, Asian, Hispanic and the African Diaspora cultural communities featuring music, film, drama, talk-backs, symposiums, playwriting, poetry, fiction workshops and more.

Awards & Recognitions

1984 Black Personality of the Month Voza Rivers, Anheuser-Busch/ Black American
1988 United Nations Medal for Peace for "Sarafina!" 
1988 FEDAPT Award for GRAMMY and TONY nominated SARAFINA!, League of American Theatres and Producers
1988 St.George Associations Art and Culture Award for SARAFINA!, St. George Association
1989 1989 Grammy Nomination for the "Sarafina!" Cast Album
1991 N Y 1 Television "New Yorker of the Week" , NY 1 Television
1996 Ruth Whitehead Whaley Award, Association of Black Women Attorneys for Community Service
1998 Harlem Jazz & Music Festival Tiffany Award, Harlem Jazz and Music Festival
1999 WHO'S WHO of Professionals Honoree
2000 AUDELCO Outstanding Pioneer Award in Theater, Audience Development Committee, Inc
2000 New York Foundation for the Arts Union Square Award, New York Foundation of the Arts
2001 Culture Fest Theatre Award, Your Culture Counts Voza Rivers, Culture Fest
2001 William Jefferson Clinton Salute to IMPACT Repertory Theatre
2001 Forces of Nature NIA Award
2001 John Hunter Memorial Humanitarian Award
2002 Harlem Health Community Service Award, Harlem Hospital Center
2002 Omega Psi Phi, Xi Phi Chapter "Citizen of the Year" Award
2002 Kwanzaa Foundation Nguzo Saba Award for Creativity
2002 National Conference of Artists NCA NY Chapter Leadership Award
2003 Outstanding Achievement and Stalwart Commitment to the Arts, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc
2003 Distinguished Humanitarian Award from the Samaritan Foundation
2003 HARLEM WEEK Kick Off Special Award, presented by Mayor Mike Bloomberg
2005 Arts Organizing Award, National Conference of Artists
2005 I AM Award, Oliver Black Production in Association with IAM and the Harlem Arts Alliance
2005 Black History Makers Arts Organizing Award, The National Conference of Artists New York
2006 Ellie Charles Award, African Voices Magazine
2006 Community Service Award, Harlem Business Alliance
2006 Vanguard Award, Black To Broadway
2006 Star Achiever Award, United Negro College Fund
2006 “The VIV” to IMPACT Repertory Theatre at the 35th Annual Vivian Robinson / AUDELCO Recognition Awards
2007 Peace Award, Kobe International Harmony Eyes Festival
2007 Larry Leopn Hamlin Producers Award, National Black Theatre Festival
2008 Distinguished Community Service Award, E.Louise Richardson
2008 Mind Builders Creative Arts Center Cultural Legacy Award, Mind Builders Creative Arts Center
2009 One of the Most Influential New Yorkers in Arts and Culture, New York Daily News
2009 Cover Story, Black Masks Magazine
2009 45th Anniversary of NHTG Salute Voza Rivers, Community Works and the DWYER Cultural Center
2012 The New York Coalition of Black Women Honor the Life and Accomplishments of Voza Rivers, The New York Coalition of Black Women
2012 Talladega College Alumni Association of Greater New York Honors Voza Rivers, College Alumni Association of Greater New York
2012 Leadership Award, The Children's Storefront Independent School in Harlem
2012 Mother Dovetta Wilson Leadership Award, The City of New York Office of the President Borough of Manhattan Scott M. Springer
2013 Roy Wilkins Lifetime Achievement Award, NAACP Mid-Manhattan Branch
2013 Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition presented by Honorable Charles B. Rangel, Member of Congress
2014 Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce on 40th Anniversary of HARLEM WEEK Award, Jazzmobile
2014 Winona Lee Fletcher Award, Black Theatre Network
2014 Honorable Charles B. Rangel of New York Congress Recognizes New Federal Theatre's 44th Anniversary Gala Honoring Legendary Producer Voza Rivers and New Heritage Theatre Group, Honorable Charles B. Rangel
2014 Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust Award, Honoring the Harlem Shakespeare Festival
2015 Trailblazer Award Presented to New Heritage Theatre Group, Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement

Production Highlights

Partial listing of productions New Heritage Theatre Group has produced or co-produced in conjunction with one or more of its community partners.
1964-2015 Theatrical Productions
  • Three Shades of Harlem (1964)
  • Hip, Black and Angry (1967)
  • Another Shade of Harlem (1968)
  • To Kill a Devil (1968)
  • Madame Odum (1972)
  • The Long Black Block (1972, 1975, 1995)
  • Geraldine Fitzgerald’s Three Penny Opera (1972)
  • On Strivers Row (1974, 1984)
  • Fat Tuesday (1975)
  • Kingdom and the Ceremony (1977)
  • Four O’Clock on a Rainy Afternoon (1978)
  • The Legend of Deadwood Dick (1979)
  • Roshamon (1979)
  • Monsieur Baptiste the Con Man (1981)
  • Casualties and Lesson Plans (1984)
  • Zora (1984)
  • Janin (1984)
  • Woza Albert! (1984)
  • When Chickens Come Home to Roost (1984)
  • The Gimmick(1986)
  • Asinimali!(1986)
  • Sarafina! (1987)
  • Township Fever! (1990)
  • The Third Rhythm (1990)
  • An Aftertaste of Sherry (1993)
  • Madame CJ Walker (1995)
  • The Long Black Block (1995)
  • Goddess City (1996)
  • Five Stops on a Merry Go Round (2001)
  • Woza Albert! (2004)
  • Tierno Bokar (2005)
  • Winterkill (2005)
  • Camp Logan (2006)
  • Esther Armah: Can I Be Me? (2007)
  • Martin, Malcolm and, Medgar (2008)
  • Formerly Known as Sarah (2008)
  • The Session (2008)
  • Daniel Beaty: Resurrection (2008)
  • Camp Logan (2008)
  • Esther Armah: Forgive Me (2008)
  • The Session (2008)
  • The Meeting (2009)
  • Daniel Beaty: Tearing Down the Walls (2011)
  • When Chickens Come Home to Roost (2011)
  • Lorey Hayes: Haiti’s Children of God (2011)
  • Massinissa (2011)
  • Esther Armah: Savior (2011)
  • Daniel Beaty: Mr. Joy (2012)
  • The Fannie Lou Hamer Story (2012)
  • Circumstances (2012)
  • Daniel Beaty: Through the Night (2012)
  • Love to All Lorraine (2012)
  • Daniel Beaty: Emergency (2012)
  • Coriolanus: An African Warrior
  • Adam (2012, 2013)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (2013)
  • Harlem Shakespeare Festival (2013)
  • Benefits (2013)
  • The Firefighters (2014)
  • IMPACT: Peace Warriors, (2014)
  • Sable Series (2014)
  • Lissabon (2014)
  • Whistle in Mississippi (2014)
  • The People vs. Clarendon County (2014)
  • The Kitchen (2014)
  • Inamori Project: Prayer, Love and Peace (2012, 2014)
  • Annual Harlem Shakespeare Festival (2013, 2014)
  • Black Wall Street (2014)

1964-2015 Roger Furman Main Stage Reading Series
  • Living Doll (1990)
  • Crimen Injuria (1990)
  • Friends (1991)
  • The Race to Olduvai
  • Fathers and Mothers (1991)
  • Union (1991)
  • Bailey’s Café (1991-1996)
  • Les Femme Noires (1994)
  • A Way out of No Way (1995)
  • Sarah’s Jukebox (1996)
  • On My Birthday (1996)
  • Eldridge Cleaver Memorial
  • Frankie Cracker Memorial (2000)
  • Five Stops on a Merry Go Round(2001)
  • Nothin' But the Truth (2003)
  • Habit Forms (2003)
  • Punching at the Sun (2004)
  • Nobody Knew Who They Was (2004)
  • Pass Perfect (2004)
  • A Song for You…(2006)
  • Are You Dead Yet? (2006)
  • Weekend Pass (2006)
  • Deliver the Dance (2006)
  • Paradise Lost (2006)
  • Malcolm, Martin, Medgar (2006)
  • Your God’s Not Coming (2007)
  • Long Black Block (2007)
  • Almost September (2008)
  • The Diva and the Rapper (2008)
  • The Diva and the Rapper II (2009)
  • A Paradise Lost (2009)
  • Strama Baby (2009)
  • Esther Armah: Entitled? (2009)
  • The Haitians (2010)
  • Power Play (2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Portrait of an Earl (2011)
  • Esther Armah: Savior (2011)
  • Vito Marcantonio (2011)
  • A Few Brave Men (2012)
  • Bill Harris: BLUES & JAZZ Plays, Poems (2012)
  • Othello: The Moore of Venice (2013)
  • Short Eyes (2013)
  • Freedom Summer (2014)
  • People of Clarendon County (2015)
  • Julius Caesar (2015)
  • The Park Plays (2015)
  • The Chosen Few (2015)
  • Daniel Beaty: Mr. Joy, 2015
1964-2015 Concert Productions
  • Let The Music Say Amen (1993)
  • Roger Furman’s 30th Anniversary Celebration (1994)
  • 3 Guys Named Joe (1997)
  • TriHarLenium Continues (2000)
  • Higher Ground: Expression In Dance and Song (2001)
  • IMPACT: 6th Anniversary (2002)
  • Ken Hicks: Sings Avanti (2005)
  • Jazz For Peace (2005)
  • Harlem Ladies in Music (2006)
  • Write On Rosie (2006)
  • Ebony Stages A Celebration of Contemporary Black Theater, American Museum of Natural History (2006)
  • Lee Olive Tucker, Museum of the City of New York (2006)
  • Craig Harris' God's Trombones (2006)
  • Kwanzaa Spirit, American Museum of Natural History (2006)
  • Kwanzaa Celebration, American Museum of Natural History (2007)
  • Late Great Ladies of Blues and Jazz (2007)
  • IMPACT 10th Anniversary Gala and Screening of August Rush (2007)
  • Voices for Peace (2007)
  • Unheard Notes (2007)
  • It’s Always You, Lainie Cooke (2007)
  • Kwanzaa, American Museum of Natural History (2008)
  • Do Enka (2008)
  • Berta’s Jam (2008)
  • DoWop Love (2008)
  • Pass the Torch Blues Tap and Swing (2008)
  • All of Me, Lainie Cooke (2009)
  • Artspeak with Tsidii (2009)
  • Jazz for Peace (2009)
  • IMPACT nominated for Academy Award for the song “Raise it Up”, on the August Rush Soundtrack (2008)
  • IMPACT: Raise it Up” at 2008 Oscar Award Ceremony (2008)
  • IMPACT: Raise it Up at the Apollo Theater (2008)
  • Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues (2009)
  • IMPACT Vibe: Concert (2009)
  • IMPACT: Raise It Up (2009)
  • IMPACT: I Live(2010)
  • It's Always You featuring Lainie Cooke (2010)
  • The Sakura Cherry Blossom Festival (2010)
  • Harlem 4 Japan Benefit Concert (2010)
  • Message Behind the Music with Obediah Wright (2010)
  • Do Enka Concert (2010)
  • Kwanzaa 2010: The Legacy Continues with McCollough Invaders, and Kochegena (2010)
  • Nothin’ But the Blues (2010)
  • The Sakura Cherry Blossom Festival (2010)
  • Berta’s Jam II (2011)
  • IMPACT: Dream Keepers (2011)
  • Saluting our Jazz Elders with Joey Morant and New Amsterdam Music Association and Randy Weston (2011)
  • Speaking in Rhythm featuring IMPACT (2011)
  • Removing the Bars (2012)
  • Voices from Japan (2012)
  • Do Enka II (2012)
  • In the Spirit What’s Your Groove (2012)
  • IMPACT Repertory Theatre 15th Anniversary Celebration (2012)
  • R&B & Blues: IMPACT Legacy, Kwame & The Uptown Shakedown (2012)
  • First Fruits of the Harvest Kwanzaa Celebration featuring B Smith Restoration Theatre (2012)
  • African American Musical Mosaic: First Corinthian Baptist Church Choir, Sandra Reeves Phillips, IMPACT with Darryl “DMC: McDaniels
  • Stories We Tell: A Tribute to Storytellers (2012)
  • Global Weekends: 35th Anniversary Celebration Kwanzaa at the American Museum of Natural History (2013)
  • Focus on Peace: Art Exhibition and Taiko Japanese Drummers (2014)
  • International Jazz Day (2015)

1964-2015 Film Productions and Events
  • Hughes' Dreams Harlem (Film) (2002)
  • International Black Panther Film Festival (2003)
  • It’s Always You: Lainie Cooke (2007, 2010)
  • A Celebration of the Life and work of Lorraine Hansberry (2010)
  • Harlem is… Gospel, Documentary (2011)
  • Harlem is… Music, Documentary (2011)
  • Harlem is… Theater, Documentary (2011)
  • Black Panther Film Festival (2011)
  • R&B & Blues: IMPACT Legacy, Kwame & The Uptown Shakedown (2012)
  • “Tilai” : Harlemwood Film Festival (2012)
  • Savoy King (2012)
  • Screening, Premiere or ESPN 30 for 20 Series One Night in Vegas (2012)
  • Elza, Screening (2012)
  • We Remember Sassy with Mzuri Moyo (2013)
  • Focus on Peace: Art Exhibition and Taiko Japanese Drummers (2013)
  • “Anom Du Christ” Harlemwood Film Festival (2013)
  • Yuri Kochiyama Memorial (2014)
  • Finding Fela, Screening (2014)
  • Twenty Feet From Stardom, Screening (2014)
  • Chapter & Verse (2015)

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