Program: Rennie Harris presents Rome and Jewels

Rennie Harris Puremovement American Street Dance Theater
Rome and Jewels

Adaptation of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare 

Saturday, January 28, 2023
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre

Rennie Harris

Ozzie Jones, d. Sabela Grimes, Rodney Mason, Raphael Xavier

Ozzie Jones

Pamela Hobson

Andy Schmitz

Peter J Jakubowski

Darrin Ross

“Numb” by Portishead and “Leave It” by YES   

Howard Goldkranz

Ryder Palmere

Brandon Albright, James Colter, Joshua Culbreath, Philip Cuttino, Anthony Denaro, Angel Anderson, Joel Martinez, Rodney Mason, Fyness Mason, Emily Pietruszka, Jeremy Taylor, and Julie Ulrich


When I was young, I saw West Side Story and immediately thought to myself, “Why aren’t there street dancers in this movie?” I reimagined it with street dancers every time I watched the film. Little did I know that I’d grow up to become a choreographer. Some years later, around the mid to late 1990s, a thought popped into my mind: “Do a Hip-hop version of West Side Story.” Immediately, I began to create the work in my head and dreamt of it for weeks. By 1996-1997, I started to set phrases on the company. Unbeknownst to the company I secretly cast Duane Holland as Rome. I continued to work out ideas every day with no financial support or performance in sight. Eventually Mark Murphy, the former presenter of On the Boards, caught wind of what I was doing and asked if I would present the workshop version of it at the On the Boards theater in Seattle, Washington. I agreed and presented a 45-minute workshop of Rome and Jewels. At this point, there were no monologues; it was purely dance. By 1998, I wrote the first draft of the script. It was a fusion of the original script of Romeo and Juliet mixed with colloquial language. One day before the start of rehearsal, Rodney Mason walked through the door and yelled aloud, “Yo Rome, thou art a villain, so what’s up”?! And there you have it! Down goes Sonny Liston.

It became clear to me we didn’t really have to stay so exact. That night I began rewriting the script and gave everyone updated scripts, but there was a problem. The dancers couldn’t act. Well, not in a way that would be believable. I then reached outside of the company for actors that could street-dance and remembered a young man I worked with in the past by the name of d. Sabela Grimes. Next, I brought in a dramaturg I knew as an accomplished director and rapper in Philadelphia, Mr. Ozzie Jones. At some point during the creation process, I hired Ozzie to play my version of the Tony character in West Side Story: “Old Man.” The last change to the script came as a default decision but not in a negative way. d. Sabela Grimes and Rodney Mason were established poets and readers of Shakespeare and, as if ordained by Shakespeare himself, each of them began to fuse their poetry with dialogues and eventually wrote their own monologues. Ozzie Jones also wrote his own monologue, and the rest is history.

The title Rome and Jewels is an encoded jab at the Hip-hop community. Rome = Roam, Jewels = jewelry. It means roaming for jewelry. In my opinion, the Hip-hop community is always roaming, or rather searching, for the golden grail/money/riches, as if it were their only means of rising out of their current situation. Ozzie Jones’s opening monologue explains it brilliantly. “Big and Pac roamed for jewels, but don’t we all? You ain’t nobody until you’re somebody on some motherfucka’s wall. One big, black, fat, and ugly, the other scarred up like tags on a train. Spitting freestyles for thirty Gs with pounds of weed on the brain. Now, here, heartbreak gets popped too while bullets crash through. Cause in the jungle sometimes what love got to do? When all your eyes are set on nothing you get tempted like David Ruffin. Cause in the death angel’s arms, our screams sound like mumbling. Through Rome, we see Jewels, and Rome stands for quest to get love, props, or dough before he dies from the stress.”


“Harris is the most respected and, to my knowledge, the most brilliant Hip-hop choreographer in America” — Joan Acocella, The New Yorker

LORENZO RENNIE HARRIS (Founder, Artistic Director, Choreographer, and Director) Dr. Lorenzo (Rennie) Harris was born and raised in an African American community in North Philadelphia. Since the age of 15, Harris has been teaching workshops and classes at universities around the country and is a powerful spokesperson for the significance of “street” origins in any dance style.  In 1992, Harris founded Rennie Harris Puremovement, a street dance theatre company dedicated to preserving and disseminating street dance culture through workshops, classes, lecture, lecture demonstrations, residencies, mentoring programs, and public performances.  Coining the term Street Dance Theater and Hip-hop Concert dance, Harris founded his company based on the belief that Hip-hop culture is the most important original expression of a new generation. With its roots in the inner-city African American and Latino communities, Hip-hop can be characterized as a contemporary indigenous form, one that expresses universal themes that extend beyond racial, religious, and economic boundaries, and one that (because of its panracial and transnational popularity) can help bridge these divisions. Harris’s work encompasses the diverse and rich African American traditions of the past, while simultaneously presenting the voice of a new generation through its ever-evolving interpretations of dance. Harris is committed to providing audiences with a sincere view of the essence and spirit of Hip-hop rather than the commercially exploited stereotypes portrayed by the media.

Currently, Harris tours a collection of evening-length works as well as classic repertory works of the last 30 years.  Rome and Jewels, the first evening-length work written, choreographed, and directed by Rennie Harris, uses Shakespeare’s text, to tell its own story based on West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet.  To date Rome and Jewels is the longest-touring street dance theater work in American history, with three Bessie Awards and four Black Theater Alvin Ailey Awards. It was also nominated for a Lawrence Olivier Award (UK) and received The Harman Shakespeare Theater Award for adaptation of West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet. Rome and Jewels has performed for sold-out audiences nationally and internationally. The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote of the work, “Harris has built a wedge that will open the doors of America’s art centers, displaying Hip-hop as clear cultural expression, compelling to all races and generations. . . . Rome and Jewels is clearly the work of an artist of uncommon vision . . . we get to witness, right here in our city, the evolution of an important new dance form.” 

In addition, Harris’s body of work includes evening-length works such as Falling Crumbs from the Cake, Something to Do with Love, Legends of Hip-hop, Facing Mekka , 100NAKEDLOCKS, HEAVEN, LUV American-Style, Rennie Harris Funkedified, LIFTED, and two new works still in creation and development phase—American Street Dancer and Losing My Religion. In Facing Mekka, Harris continues his quest to present street dance on the concert stage. To this end, he has developed a solo that challenges his own choreographic experiences and audiences’ expectations of Hip-hop and street dance. Harris approaches the vocabulary of this work, entitled Lorenzo’s Oil, as a butoh-style Hip-hop dance. The solo is meant to integrate calming, serene space (represented by the butoh style) with popping. Lorenzo’s Oil turns street dance on its head in order to draw attention away from the spectacle and acrobatic and high-powered movements that many audiences, particularly those outside of Hip-hop movement, expect, and see what it could and should be. Dr. Harris found a way to marry his story with social dances and bring them to the concert stage, creating a cohesive dance style that finds a cogent voice in the theater. Much of Dr. Harris’s work has explored his personal experiences as an African American male growing up in North Philadelphia. 

At the turn of the century alongside Princess Grace Kelly and Julius Erving, Rennie Harris was voted one of the most influential people in the last one hundred years of Philadelphia history. He’s been compared to 20th-century legends Basquiat, Alvin Ailey, and Bob Fosse.  In 2010 he received an honorary doctorate in the arts and humanities from Bates College (Maine) and a second honorary doctorate in the fine arts from Columbia College (Chicago). He received the Kulu Mele’ African Rooted Dance Award and was named a Guggenheim Fellow (2010).  He has also been featured in Rose Eichenbaum’s Masters of Movement-Portraits of America’s Great Choreographers with dance legends such as Carmen de Lavallade, Judith Jamison, Fayard Nicholas, and Gregory Hines. In addition, he was awarded a medal from the Kennedy Center (DC) as a master of African American choreography. Touring Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, and surrounding countries, Rennie Harris served as one of four ambassadors for the United States as part of President Obama’s cultural exchange program, Dance Motion USA, which was led by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Recently, Rennie Harris became a recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award (2020). He and his group of dancers and their infectious brand of movement have toured around the globe pioneering Hip-hop dance theater as a cogent and viable voice. Dr. Lorenzo "Rennie" Harris is atop the Hip-hop heap, its leading ambassador.


Rodney Mason aka Duck Butt (Rome) (Original Cast), transplanted to Portland from South Philly, is a song-and-dance man who won the starring role of Tony Sinclair for the Tanqueray worldwide campaign, beating out the Wayans brothers and 800 candidates in the United States and United Kingdom for this role as a sophisticated Black Brit. He has become a famous character in commercials, print editorial, billboards, and live guest appearances at major events. He has served his country and is a Gulf War veteran. His experience defending his country as a Marine has colored his work and his performance message. He is also a theater and performance artist, utilizing his street dance skills, spoken word poetry, and rap to create many unusual and original characters for film, television, commercials, and stand-up comedy appearances. He has also worked with the Groundlings and Second City in Chicago and toured the world with Rennie Harris Puremovement as a core member.  He is known for his award-winning role (Lawrence Olivier Award—Best Performance) in Rome and Jewels. Other stage work includes Totem Road with the Olive Dance Company and a stint with the Baltimore Outreach Program in Yo Baltimore, where he received critical acclaim. His TV appearances include the MTV Vibe awards, hosting Comedy Central, and cable TV. 

Phil Cuttino aka JiptheRuler (Ben V) is a Philadelphia native Hip-hopper from birth and is skilled in breaking, graffiti, DJing, and rapping. His first performance was at the age of four with his father, a prominent MC and B-boy in the Philadelphia Hip-hop scene. He started in a crew called the X-men doing local talent shows and learned from some of the Philadelphia greats. He has toured throughout the United States and internationally and is currently a core member of Rennie Harris Puremovement American Street Dance Theater.

Joel Martinez aka Teknyc (Merc) was born and raised in Santurce, Puerto Rico, until the age of 13. He credits an early interest in breakdancing to his older brother, Willie Martinez. As a B-boy, Teknyc and his crew, Skill Methodz, became an iconic crew in street dance history. As a graffiti writer, Teknyc is a proud member of Fame City Kings (FC) and Fast Breaking Artists (FBA). Teknyc has painted murals worldwide, from NYC to Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, Paris, Japan, London, Amsterdam, Portugal, Dubai, Prague, Berlin, Argentina, and Brazil. He was also a member of Rennie Harris Puremovement in Rome and Jewels, Facing Mekka, and repertory works nationally and internationally. As a member of Rennie Harris Puremovement, he served as an ambassador of Hip-hop for President Obama's Dance Motion USA that toured Israel, Eygpt, Jerusalem, Palestine, and other surrounding countries on behalf of the United States.  

Fyness Mason, raised in New York City, is a Temple University, BA and Harcum College Graduate. Her Hip-hop dance career began with Rennie Harris Puremovement Dance Company in 2005. Mason has performed nationally and internationally in theaters such as the Kimmel Center, Kennedy Center, Saddlers Wells in London England, Alvin Ailey theater, Carpenters Center in Long Beach, Joyce theater, Lied Center, Bates Dance Festival, Bryn Mawr College, Wells Fargo Center, NYC SummerStage, and Bam Theater. She's taught classes at Temple University, Bryn Mawr College, Florida State University, Bates Dance Festival, and more. Her classes incorporate movement from the African Diaspora, as well as Hip-hop and Afro-Latino culture. Her favorite genre of Hip-hop dance is House, Rocking (breaking), and classic old school Hip-hop. Mason has performed with Rennie Harris Puremovement, Face Da Phlave Entertainment, Montazh all woman's Hip Hop Dance Company, Flyground with Lela Aisha Jones, Oyin Hardy's Troupe Dada , and the late Kariamu Welsh. After a hiatus of going back to school to study Occupational Therapy Assisting, and raising 3 children with her husband Steve Mason, resident DJ at WDAS Philadelphia radio station, she is back and ready to share her love for dance with her community and to uplift women through Hip-hop dance culture with a message that you can do anything you put your mind to.

Jeremy Taylor, born in Chicago, is a freelance dance artist immersed deeply in street dance culture, kinesthetic movement, and the African diaspora. Upon receiving his BFA in dance in 2020 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Taylor relocated to Los Angeles to further elevate his career and art with his newly formed collective, Maverickz. He has danced with a variety of artists such as Kaytranada, Young Thug, and Kanye West, and he performed at the 2022 BET Awards show. He is now exploring his newfound interest in becoming a dance historian by traveling to various regions inside and outside the United States to gain a clear view of the influence and advancements of both African and street dance styles.  

Brandon Albright aka Brother Peace (Tybault) (Original Cast) began his career in 1984 as a member of the famed Philadelphia-based popping group The Scanner Boys (1980–1992). Working his way up in the industry as a B-boy and Hip-hop dancer, he toured and danced for major recording artists such as the first gangster rapper, Schooly D; Will Smith; Tuff Crew; Boys II Men; LLCool J; Run DMC; and the Beach Boys. After his stint in the commercial entertainment industry, he performed, danced, and directed for Rennie Harris Puremovement. In 2000 he founded Illstyle & Peace Productions, a multicultural Philadelphia-based dance company. His company creates work rooted in contemporary, West African, old-school, and new school Hip-hop blended with an eclectic mix of disciplines, including breaking, popping, locking, tap, Hip-hop, and house dancing. Illstyle & Peace Productions is committed to delivering positive messages to all audiences. Illstyle & Peace Productions was a 2013 United States Culture Ambassador, chosen by the US State Department and Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and toured Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Artistic Director Brandon Peace Albright is well versed in various styles of street dance. His most recent work for Illstyle, Impossible IZZpossible, which entails locking, popping, breaking, beatboxing, Hip-hop, tap, modern, jazz, African dance, belly dance, singing, and DJing, was presented at BAM and has been touring nationally and internationally to critical acclaim. Albright also leads high-energy workshops, master classes, and educational programs including Become Your Dreams, a history of Hip-hop; Hip-Hop Math, a math lecture demonstration program; and No-Bullying STOP-Bullying, and Let’s Be Friends, an anti-bullying show. He is especially passionate about the universality of Hip-hop and continues to seek inspiration from other dance forms and arts. His latest project for Illstyle is called we dance to inspire. 

Ozzie Jones (Old Man & Dramaturg) (Original Cast) was born in West Philadelphia. He has directed The Countess Cathleen by William Butler Yeats and composed the score for Third and Indiana by Steve Lopez for the Arden Theater Company. A representative for the Philadelphia Theater Initiative in the United States and Europe, he also became the first African American in the Republic of Ireland’s history to direct a play in Ireland for an Irish Theater company, directing a production of Othello for Second Age Theater. David Nolan of the Irish Times called the production “the most creative and innovative production of Shakespeare seen in Ireland in decades.” Ozzie “Old Man” Jones, along with Larry “Mr. Cisum” Fowler Jr. and Jared “Grand Agent” Taylor, started the Hip-hop group NAME. NAME went on to become one of the central figures in the neo-soul and underground Hip-hop scene in Philadelphia, which produced stars like DJ Drama, Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, and The Roots. The records released by NAME between 1995 and 2000 include Mohammed Ali, Black Thought, Artist of the Yeah Featuring Poor Righteous Teachers and Schooly D, Twelve, Logic, and By Design by Grand Agent featuring Ozzie “Old Man” Jones. NAME toured throughout the United States and Canada. In 2000, Jones became the Producing Artistic Director of the Walt Whitman Arts Center in Camden, New Jersey, until 2007. Currently, he is developing an extensive series of plays on jazz called The Real Book. He has directed staged readings for Chasin’ the Bird and Kind of Blue. Jones has just completed a road-gang and cotton-field-hollers opera called Gwine Dig a Hole, and he recently starred in the film The Hail Mary, written and directed by Nnamdi Kanga. 

Josh Culbreath aka Supa Josh was born and raised in Philadelphia, where he started dancing at the age of ten. During his middle school years he joined a dance group called K.R.S. Ent., which won many talent shows and went on to perform on the TV show Showtime at the Apollo in New York. While dancing with K.R.S. Ent., Culbreath met B-boy Hannibal, owner and artistic director of 360 Flava, and began to train with him. Culbreath is currently a core member of Rennie Harris Puremovement.

Emily Pietruszka aka Lady Em is a Colorado native currently residing in New York City. She holds a BFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She began her street styles training as a core member of Rennie Harris Grassroots Project in Denver in 2015. She has been teaching in various contexts since graduation, ranging from the Front Range Community College of Thornton, Colorado, to the Ailey School in New York City.

Anthony Denaro aka B-boy YNOT explores the design, sustainability, history, and community of Hip-hop. Through a futurist lens, YNOT’s work manifests in dance, typography, music, and architecture. As a B-boy, he has traveled the world extensively, judging battles, teaching workshops, and building cultural awareness. In YNOT’s vision of the sustainability of Hip-hop, teaching and mentorship are paramount. Currently, YNOT teaches workshops internationally as well as virtually and in person through University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Arizona State University, and Texas Tech, where he facilitates breaking technique, stylized letterform design, and sound design for electronic music production. Alongside his dance and professorship, YNOT creates two- and three-dimensional visual works (physical and digital) that posit a possible future of the Hip-hop aesthetic.

Julie Urich aka Lady (Original Cast) was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and raised in Boulder, Colorado. She can't remember a time when she didn't dance, although she started her formal dance training at a relatively late age, taking jazz and ballet classes when she was 16. She quickly mastered the art of breaking and made quite a name for herself in the dance community. With an amazing career as a professional dancer under her belt, as well as being one of the most decorated female breakdancers in the world, she set her sights on the acting world. She starred in a feature film called B-Girl and appeared in other film projects and stage shows. She appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and alongside Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker in consecutive Gap campaigns. She has also been featured in commercials for Coca-Cola, Apple iPod, Walmart, Nike, Jolly Rancher, and others. She has performed on several live stages around the world, including the Victory Theatre on Broadway, the Kennedy Center in DC, and the Spoleto festival in Italy. She competed on MTV's Americas Best Dance Crew with the Beat Freaks and worked with legendary Hip-hop performing group the Groovaloos. Her other television and movie credits include Step Up 2, You Got Served, and So You Think You Can Dance. She has also performed alongside such artists as Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Fergie, Pink, Missy Elliot, Run DMC, LL Cool J, and Madonna, to name just a few. She is now studying for a bachelor’s degree in psychology with aspirations for a doctorate in sports psychology. She has a beautiful daughter named Izzy who is the light of her life.

James Colter aka Cricket (Original Cast) is a professional street dancer who has performed, taught, and lectured on the form internationally for over 22 years. In addition, he is a well-versed visual artist (sequential art, children’s book illustrations, etc.), choreographer, and artistic director. Colter has taught globally at numerous Hip-hop dance festivals including Bates Dance Festival and the Illadelph Legends Festival. He was a featured dancer in the Disney movie Step Up 2: The Street and has danced for various recording artists including, Boys II Men, KRS-1, Will Smith, Eve, Avril Lavigne, and Fall Out Boy, and he was a host of MTV Japan’s Dreamers television show. Cricket has worked with the legendary street dance pioneer Bill "Crutch Master" Shannon, urban tap dancer Tamango Van Cayseeleas, and London’s best-known urban theatrical wordsmith and curator Jonzi D. Moreover, Colter has produced and directed various dance pieces in Philadelphia, New York City, and London, including Heroes, a London-based Hip-hop theater show where he acted as director and principal costume designer. He is part of the Step-Fenz dance crew, a New York–based dance group that is known for its mix of B-boy and house dance. He is a founding member of Rennie Harris Puremovement (RHPM) and has worked with the company for over 16 years. He is an original cast member of Rennie Harris’s Bessie award–winning multidisciplinary Hip-hop theater presentation, Rome and Jewels. He has taught and performed around the globe and was the director of RHPM’s educational program. His artistic mission is to push the limits of the various movements that exist in Hip-hop and in other contemporary dance forms by blending various art forms in order to tell a viable story on the concert dance stage and rid the stigma that Hip-hop is merely an athletic form of dance that can only be performed in a showcase setting. He believes that, through Hip-hop, complex stories can be told and the boundaries of theater can be pushed by adding the urban Hip-hop aesthetic to costume design, set design, soundscapes, etc. Colter has recently founded his own company, Concept Kinetics, to accomplish his goal.

Angel Anderson is an artist, performer, and improviser. She is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a dual degree in dance and psychology. Her interests include street and club dance styles, African diasporic forms, contemporary, and improvisation. While in college, Anderson received the Outstanding Undergraduate Performance Award, the Dance Project Award, and the William McClellan Award. Some of her recent performance credits include Rennie Harris’s LIFTED, Danzel Thompson-Stout’s BEAT FREAKS, and The Undying and Resilient.


Evil Tracy The International Showoff (Original DJ) started under a local Philly legend, DJ Grand Master Ant, who used to rock house and block parties back in 1981. Ant would let Tracy and a friend carry crates and rap with his legendary Philly group Fatal Funk Force. Eventually, Tracy began DJing under his cousin DJ Kid Swift and later founded Action Figure Crew, which included his cousins DJ Kid Swift, DJ Aktive, and DJ Ghetto (Battle Champions) along with other legendary Philly DJs. To his credit, Tracy is in video and television programs such as Street Soldierz by On the Go Magazine. He has opened for several artists, including Busta Rhymes and Raekwon the Chef of Wu-Tang Clan. Tracy has toured briefly with Lyfe Jennings and did a couple of shows behind Melanie Fiona at two separate events in Philly. He has also toured with Rennie Harris Puremovement on three award-winning productions: Rome and Jewels, Illadelph Legends, and Facing Mekka, all of which are internationally acclaimed. Tracy was able to showcase his talents on Broadway and in London's West End. He was the star DJ for Illstyle & Peace Productions’ Hit the Breaks, a B-boy and tap dance show. Additionally, he has performed in the internationally acclaimed Steve Love production of Break! The Urban Funk Spectacular. Tracy is also the creator of his show Needle To Da'Groove, which toured briefly to three US cities.  As Evil Tracy The International Showoff himself says, "In black society, being a showoff is frowned upon. The term itself means someone is doing the most or being extra, over the top with whatever they're doing, wearing, or saying at the time to impress whoever. Simply put, I own it, I'm a showoff because when you think about it, every professional artist that you know gets paid to travel the world and show off their skill or knowledge. When you come to see artists perform, it's called a ‘show.’ When we are on our game, we often refer to it as going off on stage or wherever. I have to be honest and say, I like it when my family and friends are in the audience. It inspires me more because I'm literally showing off for them."

DJ Razor Ramon is a DJ, turntablist, and producer from Philadelphia. He has been in the Philly Hip-hop scene for over 30 years and has been influenced by DJs such as Grandmaster Flash, GrandMixer DXT, the late Jam Master Jay, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and DJ Cash Money. The award-winning turntablist is the 2001 Philadelphia City Paper Pitch Control DJ Battle Champion as well as the 2002 NBA All- Star Weekend DJ Battle Champion and the seven- time Power 99fm (Clear Channel) DJ Battle Champion. Ramon has also performed on stages throughout the United States and internationally, including Toronto, Venice, Monaco, London, 23 cities in the Netherlands, Auckland, six cities in Mexico, Beijing, Melbourne, and Sydney. Razor Ramon has performed with such artists and poets as Ursula Rucker, Mo Beasley, and Rich Medina; Hip-hop artists Grand Agent, Kenny Muhammad The Human Orchestra, Poor Righteous Teachers, DJ Cash Money, Supernatural, Medusa, Hezekiah, Boogaloo Sam (the creator of popping and boogaloo) & The Electric Boogaloos, the late Don Campbell (the creator of Campbell Locking), Crazy Legs, Pop Master Fabel. The Rock Steady Crew, Illstyle and Peace Productions Dance Theatre Company, Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble, and Rennie Harris Puremovement, to name a few. Ramon was part of one of the first Hip-hop acts to perform at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia (Rennie Harris’ Hip-hop Legends). He has commercially recorded music with Grand Agent, Mel Ink, Shawn Kelly, Boyz II Men, Wort und Totschlag (W.U.T.—German Hip hop artists), and NFL Films.  He also released two solo albums entitled Introducing the Turntablistic DJ Razor Ramon and For Beats Sake, Vol. 1.  DJ Razor Ramon is the recipient of the 2003 Philly DJ Appreciation Award for his years of dedicated service, and he continues to create music and perform in theaters, clubs, and lounges throughout Philadelphia and abroad, displaying his skills and passion for the art of turntablism.


Pamela Hobson (Original Lighting Designer) began her career at Howard University in 1982 in Washington, DC, and is the original lighting designer for Rome and Jewels and other repertory works. She was also the road manager for Rennie Harris Puremovement as well Lejá Dance Company, Patty Labelle, Invincible: A Glorious Tribute to Michael Jackson, created, produced, and directed by Darrin Ross for RossLive Entertainment, the Boys Choir of Harlem, and many other artists and companies. Hobson is the founder and director of Into the Light Productions in 1996 and is a veteran lighting designer who has shaped the industry for over 25 years. 

Peter Jakubowski is a freelance lighting designer, production manager, and clay artist. He has an MFA from Temple University. He has designed for companies all over the United States. He is resident designer for Koresh Dance Company, Nevada Ballet Theatre, and the Snowy Range Summer Dance Festival. He also is production manager for Choregus Productions. In 2012 he expanded the scope of his artistic career by opening Clay Arts Vegas, one of the leading clay studios in the western United States. His clay work explores historical and cultural forms, with nature-inspired finishes and textures. He has curated over 60 ceramic exhibitions. One of which is currently traveling to Auckland, New Zealand. His functional pieces can be used at several restaurants in Las Vegas.

Ryder Palmere was created in the East and refined in the West. He is a Renaissance man inspired by the lives and works of Jung, Klimt, Lynch, Morricone, and Bukowski. He wants two dogs.

Darrin Ross (Original Sound Designer/Composer) has recently completed the score and soundscape for Alvin Ailey American Dance theater's first two-act ballet, Lazarus. Ross has been collaborating with Rennie Harris for over 35 years. He started by producing and engineering songs with Jam On Productions in 1984. His work with Jam On Productions led to various television and record productions. Eventually, Ross founded IQ Records.  He also did sound design and composition for Suzan Lori Parks's Topdog/Underdog. Ross, over the years, has received numerous grants for his works from the Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, Meet the Composer, Dance Advance, and recently the Gross Foundation. He is the recipient of a 2001 New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for his music composition and soundscape for Rome and Jewels. Ross has worked with many established artists in the industry, including Jazzy Jeff, Newcleus, Doug E. Fresh, Freeway, Kim Waters, The Roots, Bahamadia Todd Terry, Joanna Gardner, The Intruders, and Mike Knox. His sound design and composition credits include Rennie Harris’s Funkedified,  Lifted, Heaven, Facing Mekka, and Rome and Jewels, Low, Prince ScareKrow and the Emerald City, The Kimmel Center Presents Philadanco:The Philadelphia Experiment, Same Spirit Different Movement, Impossible Izz Possible, Evolution, Champions of the Dance, Break! The Urban Funk Spectacular, King Michael, Fallen Crumbs from the Cake, Cool Heat Urban Beat, Break! and Skate, The Pennsylvania Ballet, The Memphis Ballet, The Colorado Ballet, Hot Mouth, Luv: American-Style, Maurice Hines's Hot Feet, The Kennedy Center Honors, Carols in Color, We Dance to Inspire, and numerous dance theater works.  Ross is the president of RossLive Entertainment.  He is currently touring his production Invincible: A Glorious Tribute to Michael Jackson and scoring an upcoming TV drama called The NC.

Don Miller (Donald Miller III) is a costume designer and premier clothing designer in Philadelphia. To his credit he is also a certified public accountant with a BS from Xavier University of Louisiana. He is the founder of Rock Paper Denim 1970, an inspirational apparel brand with an upscale urban prep look that is rooted in the music and culture of the 1970s. The distressed but polished aesthetic portrays the grit and grunt that the grind unselfishly gives along the journey. The mission of the company is to inspire people with a message of hope that is expressed through style and story. Rock Paper Denim is mainly an athletic casual brand with a range of unique clothing styles, but the firm’s belief is that one’s purpose is one’s fingerprint engrained on life’s surface.  The brand is designed to inspire individuals to pursue, maintain, and manifest their passion.

Rodney Hill, “Executive Director,” was born and raised in the tough streets of North Philadelphia, entering the Hip-hop scene in 1988. For more than a decade, Hill has blazed the stages in venues, nationally and abroad. He has been featured in many videos for such artists as Boys II Men, Will Smith, and Musiq Soulchild, to name just a few. He has also performed on TV shows such as R&B Divas: Los Angeles, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Soul Train, NBC’s NFL Under the Helmet, and BET’s Teen Summit. In addition, he has toured and performed with Rennie Harris Puremovement, R&B singer Brave Williams, Julian King, R&B group AAries, Mad Skillz, rapper Eve, R&B legend Teddy Pendergrass, Janet Jackson’s Dj Aktive, R&B singer Shanice Wilson, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, and Philly’s own The Roots. An accomplished dancer, choreographer, and teacher, Rodney Hill has performed and taught on faculty at the American Dance Festival and in universities and dance studios locally, nationally, and internationally in London, Santiago (Chile), Toronto, Bermuda, Monaco. Bogotá; Democratic Republic of Congo, East Asia, Egypt, England, Israel, and Palestine. In 2020, Hill graduated from Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, with an MFA in choreography. Hill's inspiration for dance comes from his community and family. He continues to educate and inspire others through his hard work, dedication, and commitment to Hip-hop and its culture. In January 2022, Hill was sworn in as Councilman for Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, a suburban community just outside North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he grew up.

MEET THE JUSTICE LEAGUE: Directors and Management

Rennie Harris Chief Executive Director/Choreographer [email protected]
Rodney Hill Executive Director/Booking [email protected]
Joshua Culbreath Assistant Director [email protected]
Emily Pietruszka Rehearsal Director [email protected]
Phil Cuttino Social Media and Advisory Director [email protected]
Maggie Waller Development Assistant [email protected]
Mika Lemoine Administrative Assistant [email protected]

Rennie Harris Puremovement would like to thank Joan Meyers Brown, Artistic Director and Founder of Philadelphia Dance Company; the Community Education Center (Philadelphia); and Carla Perlo, Executive Director of Dance Place Theater (Washington, DC) for their support. In addition, we’d like to thank those who supported the remounting of Rome and Jewels: Jeremy Alliger, Theresa Pelicata, Bonnie Cox, Jackie Lopez, and Cheryl Curcio. In addition, a special thank-you goes to Emily Harrison, Sheila McDaniel, Laura Faure, Beth Boone, Janice Marks, Teresa Eyring, Olga Garay, the Bracciale family, and the Kedhar family for their generous donations. A special shout-out goes to Moncell Durden, who got us to our goal in the last hour (thank you, sir!). And an extra-special thanks goes to Tina Hueges who made this happen. Thank you for all the hard work and positive energy that pushed all of us through to the other side. I remain in your debt. —Rennie Harris

Sponsored in part by Rennie Harris University, Rennie Harris Puremovement, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 

Production Credits
Joseph Levendusky, Production Manager
Daniel Clawson, Master Electrician
Becky Marsh, Asst. Electrician/Programmer
Andrew Andrews, Asst. Electrician
Rob Eckel, Electrician
Hannah Jope, Electrician
Gabe Karr, Electrician
Shelby Marsh, Electrician
Phillip Smith, Electrician
Jonah Yannis, Electrician
Jill Costello, Wardrobe
Lisa Coleman, Wardrobe
Taylor Hansen, Master Carpenter
Greg Hanawalt, Carpenter
Martha Keslar, Carpenter
Jack Riter, Carpenter
Wesley Scanlon, Carpenter

NEFA logoFunded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts

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