Bring the Beat Back

Bring the Beat Back follows a young man struggling to reconcile his sexuality with his faith. Our hero journeys towards self-acceptance and affirming spirituality as conservative religious authorities and an ostentatious gay subculture clash over music at the center of his world.

Tru Believers know the Musicship Mega-rhythmic will save them from the end of the world. But you can’t get on if you can’t get down and somebody done stole the beat.

  • Derek Lee McPhatter
  • Project Type:
    Stage Play
  • Genres:
    Queer, Black, Sci-Fi, Afrofuturistic, Music-theatre
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Polyphone Music Festival Featured Presentation
    Philadelphia, PA
    February 26, 2019
  • Hi-Arts Critical Breaks Residency
    New York New York
    November 17, 17
  • NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs
    New York, NY
    March 1, 2019
    Creative Engagement Grant
  • The Drama League
    New York New York
    April 5, 2017
    Next Stage Residency
  • JACK Concert Presentation
    Brooklyn NY
    April 15, 17
    Concert Presentation
  • Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
    Chicago IL
    March 5, 16
    Individual Artist Program Grant
Writer Biography - Derek Lee McPhatter

Recent plays include: This App is Not the Business, a corporate America cyberspace dramedy, and Bring the Beat Back, a queer, black, sci-fi, music-theatre experience. Derek recently completed a Tutterow Fellow at Chicago Dramatists where he developed Real Talk with Auntie B, a satire on American ambition, and also completed a residency at The National Black Theatre (Harlem) where he developed Serious Adverse Effects, a new play on technologies of healing. This will be Derek’s third season with the Lyric Opera of Chicago where he will serve as librettist for the 2019 EmpowerYouth! Project. His works have been presented by The Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), The Drama League, Hi-ARTS, Otherworld Theatre Company, JACK, and the inaugural seasons of two Obie award-winning festivals: The Fire This Time Festival and 48 Hours in Harlem.  Publications include Otherwise Oblivion, a featured play in the 2016 afro-futurism volume of Obsidian - Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora.
Derek received a Guy Hanks & Marvin Miller Screenwriting Fellowship at the University of Southern California, launching an active slate of film and television projects. He served as showrunner for the pilot for Hair Story, an experimental digital series in development with Open Television. He is a co-producer on Stephanie Jeter’s supernatural thriller – Searching for Isabelle, which has been an official selection at the 2018 American Black Film Festival, Bluestocking Film Festival, and the Montreal International Black Film Festival. He co-created She’s Out of Order, which received an Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Award at Los Angeles Webfest 2015. His work has been supported by grants and prizes from the Jerome Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, the Propeller Fund, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the United States Embassy in the United Kingdom, to name a few. 
Derek is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Morehouse College and a Master of Arts in Humanities from New York University. He is originally from Pickerington, Ohio and splits his time between Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

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Writer Statement

I write to activate alternative views of our past, present and future in pursuit of truths that will empower us all. I proceed from an expansive perspective on our shared experiences and take the human imagination seriously. My growing body of work often unfolds at intersections of class, gender, sexuality, technology and race. Informed by my subjectivity as a black gay man, I am a dramatist committed to generating new work that speaks directly to the diverse audience communities the American arts need to thrive in the 21st century.