Broadway Bound: Ph.D. Student Cassondra James Kellam

Cassondra James Kellam
Graduate Center ­student Cassondra James Kellam (Ph.D., Sociology) will be making her Broadway debut this fall in a new revival of Once on This Island, a musical set in Haiti that received eight Tony Award nominations for its original production in 1990.
Once on This Island explores themes of community, racial conflict, and rebuilding. Kellam will perform as one of nine Storytellers in the new production, which will begin previews on November 9 and officially open on December 3 at the Circle in the Square Theatre.
For Kellam, who toured with the Grammy-award winning artist Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles, and has performed with Alicia Keys, Gladys Knight, and Wynton Marsalis, getting cast in a Broadway show represents an opportunity to reach a new and wider audience.
“I’m starting to come out from the background, in terms of my own music and my creative interests,” she said. “And it feels great.”
Kellam appears regularly in New York venues, performing jazz, funk, the blues, R&B, gospel, and classical music. She has also performed as a stand-up comedian — and is getting ready to defend her dissertation next semester on the subject of stand-up comedy.
“For most of my life, my academic pursuits and my musical and creative pursuits have been worlds apart,” Kellam said. “A great advisor, Professor Jessie Daniels (GC/Hunter; Sociology and Critical Social Psychology), allowed me to see the possibility for these pursuits to benefit me in a holistic way. And now these worlds are coming closer together.”

Submitted on: SEP 6, 2017

Category: 365 Fifth Newsletter | GCstories | Sociology | Student News