Sheila Evans and Paul Robeson Jr., met at an authors Pavillion in Washington D.C. He was promoting his book “The Undiscovered Paul Robeson an Artist’s Journey” and she was promoting her audiobook, “Literature of the Harlem Renaissance.” Paul Jr., listened to the audio book and immediately liked it. He suggested that they work on a project together about his amazing father. They began discussions thinking about how to approach an audiobook about Paul Robeson and his many talents. Sheila suggested that for this project, they focus on Robeson as a stage actor. He had such great accomplishments in so many areas that she felt to narrow the field to one area would prove productive. Paul Jr. loved the idea and “Paul Robeson the Actor” began its journey from concept to reality. They collaborated on the text and Paul brought his father’s voice to the project via broadcasts and portions of several of his classic songs including “Ole Man River.” Sheila produced and edited the project with Ken Babb at Harvestworks Studios in NYC and worked closely with Engine Room Audio on the design and packaging of the final product. The cover is a genuine work of art by Frank Cardozo Nicholas. It is a portrait of Robeson as “The Emperor Jones.” The CD is a must for young actors interested in the African American historical journey behind today’s theatre artists. Robeson paved the way for the work that is taking center stage today.
Background - Sheila Evans and Paul Robeson Jr.:
Sheila Evans is an actress and educator currently teaching ''Acting for Animators'' and ‘Acting for Film’ at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. She is a lifetime member of the prestigious Actors Studio, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and Actors Equity.
Sheila narrated and recorded several children''s books for Troll Books, including "Let''s Tell Time," "Let''s Go to School," "Hugs All Around," and "Bubble Trouble Ghost." These recordings sparked her interest in the connection between good listening skills and learning.
Ms. Evans earned a Master of Science degree in Education (with honors) from the City College of New York. She wrote her thesis on ''listening'' and since that time has been committed to ''listening'' projects that teach and entertain. Her keen interest in ‘edutainment’ influenced her development and production of audiobooks. She contends, "While much of today''s technology is visual, listening is an important skill for learning and should be enhanced. Listening offers the bonus of mobility. Audiobooks allow you to listen and learn while doing other tasks. You can learn without being glued to a seat. As a teacher, I want to see the wonderful new audio technology incorporated into the learning agenda and listening skills improved. As an actress, I want the audio material to be captivating with high production values."
Sheila has appeared on stage, film, television soap operas and commercials. She was recently invited to perform her one woman show "A Lady in Love - the Essence of Lady Day in Cabaret," on the life of Billie Holiday in Provincetown, Massachusetts. While the show has dramatic content and contains 15 songs, it is also pleasantly educational in a very subtle way. She was invited to perform by Norris Church Mailer as a benefit for the Provincetown Repertory Theatre. Mailer, a board member of the theater company has a home in Provincetown with her husband, author Norman Mailer.
Sheila has traveled in Europe, Africa and Israel studying behavior from both a theatrical and educational perspective.
Paul Robeson Jr., the only child of Paul and Eslanda Robeson, served as his father’s personal representative for over 20 years, and, since his father’s death in 1976, is the owner and archivist of the extensive Paul Robeson and Eslanda Robeson Collections. An honor graduate of Cornell University in Electrical Engineering, he is also a member of the Cornell Athletic Hall of Fame.
After working as translator and publisher of Russian scientific journals for three decades, he has, since 1980, been an author, journalist and consultant. In addition to lecturing on his father’s legacy, he speaks on American and Russian society, Black culture and politics, cultural diversity, and world geopolitics. He has written articles for a variety of periodicals and newspapers on topics ranging from Black-Jewish relations to the resurgence of a new confederacy under the banner of the Republican Party.
Mr. Robeson has authored the first of a two-volume biography on his father, "Paul Robeson: An Artist’s Journey" published by John Wiley & Sons in March 2001 and is currently working on the second volume. He also wrote "Paul Robeson, Jr. Speaks to America: The Politics of Multiculturalism" published in 1993 by Rutgers University Press. His most recent book "A Black Way of Seeing - From Liberty to Freedom" was published spring of 2006 by Seven Stories Press.
He is Executive Director of the Paul Robeson Foundation whose mission is to collect, preserve and publicly disseminate the approximately 50,000 items contained in the Robeson Collections. Utilizing today’s cutting-edge digital technology Mr. Robeson guides and oversees the creation of The Paul Robeson Legacy Virtual Archive which will include 800 hours of film, concerts and public appearances in addition to vast amounts of photographs, correspondence, writings and memorabilia. This interactive database will ensure the Robeson legacy in the 21st century.
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