“You Have to be a Testimony” – Theo and Phyllis Harris Discuss Life After Incarceration and the Redemptive Power of Music

December 6, 2015

Maggi Van Dorn talks with Theo and Phyllis Harris, stars of the Off Broadway show “Alive 55+ and Kickin"

“Every time I lift my eyes to the sky, I’m reminded of a time in my life
When all the dark clouds hung over me, I was lost inside, in search of a key.
I remember loved ones being so kind, saying things would get much better with time.
And I admit sometimes it did for a while, then I’d find myself back under the cloud.
But right in the midst of the rain, my heart was so filled with pain,
You came and rescued my soul, and then your love took control.
Right in the midst of the rain you taught me to smile again.
My life was awesomely changed right in the midst of the rain.”

In the fourth episode of our free podscast series “NYC Faith Leaders,” Maggi Van Dorn interviews Theo and Phyllis Harris, about their lives and art.  During Theo’s many years of incarceration, Phyllis struggled with raising a family.  In their shared love of singing, the two of them found the strength to keep their marriage together and give inspiration to countless others through their performances in “Alive 55+ and Kickin,” at the Dempsey Theater in Harlem.  The show, now in its third year, was produced by Vy Higginson, creator of the acclaimed gospel musical “Mama, I want to Sing.”  As described on the “Alive 55+ and Kickin'” website, the show is about “the healing and transformative power of story and song. With music ranging from gospel, to soul, to blues, to R&B, to pop, and Broadway, ALIVE! captures a wide spectrum of the total Black experience in sound.”

We hope you will not just listen to this series, but download the podcasts to hear while driving, jogging, or washing the dishes.  And subscribe in order to be alerted when new installments are available.  It’s a great way to learn about the faiths of our New York City neighbors.