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Broadway’s Ephraim Sykes is our 100th guest on ‘The Catalyst Sessions’ today

Bill DeYoung

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St. Petersburg's Ephraim Sykes (far left) as David Ruffin in Broadway's "Aint Too Proud: The Temptations Musical." Photo provided.

The Catalyst Sessions began in March, just after theaters, art galleries, museums, clubs and concert halls were forced to shut down.

The idea for our daily video interview show was always simple: Keeping our arts community connected, talking about the pandemic and how we were all faring while we couldn’t be together in the same room. Any kind of room. So we created a virtual room.

At the time, everybody suspected the quarantine might last a month, two on the outside.

Today marks the 100th episode of The Catalyst Sessions. We’ll stop doing these five-times-a-week interviews when St. Petersburg, and the rest of the country, is back with a full arts program. As of this moment, of course, the end is not in sight.

To commemorate the 100th program, today’s guest is very likely the most famous artist to call St. Petersburg his hometown. You can see Ephraim Sykes on Disney +, in the original Broadway cast of Hamilton (he plays George Eacker).

Last year, he was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of the great Motown star David Ruffin in Dominque Morriseau’s Ain’t Too Proud: The Temptations Musical.

And 2021 is likely to send this graduate of the Pinellas County Center For the Arts into the show business stratosphere: He will play Michael Jackson in MJ The Musical, with book from Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage.

In the interview, Sykes talks at great lengths about the PCCA and what it did for him. He chronicles his career, from dancing with the Ailey II company to starring on Broadway. There’s a lot about the history of Hamilton, the challenges of Ain’t Too Proud, and the daunting prospect of bringing the great Michael Jackson to life.

The interview streams at 7 p.m. on the Catalyst Facebook page, and will be available on our YouTube page beginning Friday.

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