“Legacy” is based on the life of Stanley Tookie Williams, who helped found the notorious Crips street gang, and was executed by the state of California in 2005.  Stanley’s life took many turns, from founding the infamous Crips street gang to fervent anti-gang activism, authoring a number of books condemning the life of street gangs and steering children and adults alike away from them.  

His plea for clemency made him a national celebrity and turned his case into a talking point for discussions on the death penalty and race relations. Stanley and fellow teen Raymond Washington helped found the Los Angeles street gang known as the Crips in the late 1960s. The Crips grew in power throughout the 1970s and became known as one of America's most violent street gangs.

Stanley was convicted and sentenced to death in 1981 for four murders committed during two separate robberies in 1979 – all of which he vehemently proclaimed were not his doing, and did so to his dying day.


This piece tells such a powerful story, and will mirror the essence of Stanley’s life and untimely death in eliciting many vital and relevant questions, questions which affect our very humanity.  The only surety is that when his life was taken, he was sending out a message of hope and opportunity for those who don't believe there is any, and we will continue that dialogue.  It is a powerful and polarizing story, one that will make the audience question the very meaning of redemption and forgiveness.

This work is written for a 23-piece orchestra, utilizing both legitimate theatrical and operatic voice types, maintaining musical theatre accessibility, yet totally immersed in operatic traditions.


The world premiere of "Legacy", in concert form, is scheduled for Winter 2013. 


Stay tuned for updates!


 LEGACY is made possible, in part, by generous support from the MAP Fund.




 

  

 

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His self-professed bad behavior in prison led to more than six years of solitary confinement, during which, Stanley said, he realized the error of his ways and pledged to warn others about the perils of the gangster lifestyle. He wrote several books while in prison, including the Tookie Speaks Out Against Gang Violence book series for children, and a 2005 memoir, Blue Rage, Black Redemption, garnering multiple Nobel Prize nominations.

After years of claiming prosecutorial misconduct and racial discrimination (claims which, it turns out, were quite founded), Stanley lost his final appeal for a new trial in October 2005, and was scheduled for execution in December.  Many considered him redeemed because of his extensive activism, believing he was not the same person he was when he first entered prison.  Many asserted he was innocent of the crimes for which he received his death sentence.

Despite the public protests of celebrities like Jesse Jackson and movie star Jamie Foxx, the courts rejected Stanley's further appeals, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to grant clemency.  Shortly after midnight on December 13, 2005 Stanley Tookie Williams was executed via lethal injection midst debate over the death penalty and whether his anti-gang advocacy in prison represented genuine atonement.





 

  

 

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