Virginia Stage Company to Receive $20,000 Art Works Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for Public Works Virginia Project

Norfolk, VA—Virginia Stage Company has been approved for a $20,000 Art Works grant to support a world premiere theater production by Ronvé O'Daniel and Jevares Myrick, co-creators of contemporary hip-hop musical Once Upon A Rhyme: A Musical Tale.  Mr. O’Daniel and Mr. Myrick will write a hip-hop musical that will serve as both education and a celebration of the unique history of the Hampton Roads community.  This theater production is created through the Public Works Virginia (PWVA) program, which leverages the artistic process for individual and community transformation. Overall, the National Endowment for the Arts has approved 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million in the first round of fiscal year 2020 funding to support arts projects in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Ronvé O’Daniel is a New York-based songwriter, lyricist, composer, playwright, rapper, and actor. He is a recent participant in the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony Residency at Goodspeed.  He was also the recent recipient of Eugene O’Neill 2017 National Music Theater Conference’s Georgia Bogardus Holof Lyricist Award – given to only one lyricist every summer who exemplifies a promising career in musical theater writing. Additionally, Ronvé was featured as a performer and writer for Rafael Casal and Daveed Digg’s #BARS Workshop at The Public Theater. He received his BFA in Musical Theatre from Wright State University. As a recording hip-hop artist, he’s been featured in XXL Magazine,, and His current album Motivation Music is available on iTunes and You can also keep up with him at

Jevares C. Myrick (Music, Orchestrations, Arrangements) is a New York-based Producer, Composer, Singer, Actor, Dancer and choreographer. Raised in Marietta, GA he is an alumnus of the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts (Pebblebrook High School) and attended Wright State University on a full scholarship for Vocal Performance. Broadway credits include: The Book of Mormon (Swing, Understudy, and Dance Captain).  National Tour credits include The Book of Mormon Latter Day Tour (1st national) and the Jumamosi Tour (2nd national) as a swing, understudy, and dance Captain. Regional theatre credits include: Smokey Joes Café, All Night Strut, Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors, Grease, Ragtime, Sweet Charity, Aint Misbehavin’, Sophisticated Ladies, and many more. Television/film credits include: The Originals (Choreographer, and appeared on 3 episodes). He is a five time Suzi Bass Award Nominee (2 wins). Jevares is also an Ovation Award recipient for Best Male Vocalist. He has written and produced many shows for Six Flags Amusement parks across the U.S. and has produced and performed in many industries around the world. Jevares has also been featured in and

Public Works Virginia is a major initiative of Virginia Stage Company that seeks to engage the people of Hampton Roads by making them creators of theater rather than spectators. Working with community partner organizations across the seven cities, Public Works Virginia invites community members to attend classes, attend productions, and join in the creation of ambitious works of participatory theater.  From this current season and last, Public Works Virginia has been able to create 18 programs, employ 23 teaching artists, and provide nearly 5,000 tickets to communities across Hampton Roads.  Support is provided by the Norfolk Rotary Charities and the Batten Educational Achievement Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.

The Art Works funding category supports projects that focus on public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation; the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence; learning in the arts at all stages of life; and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life.

“The arts are at the heart of our communities, connecting people through shared experiences and artistic expression,” said Arts Endowment chairman Mary Anne Carter. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support projects like Virginia Stage Company. 

Public Works Director Patrick Mullins says, “Public Works Virginia is all about creating theatre with, for, and by the people of Hampton Roads. Creating this work with Ronvé and Jevares makes not just the process of making theatre about our amazing 757 communities, but it also centers our own stories as well.”

“We are thrilled to receive funding from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of our commissioned World Premiere musical rooted right here in the 757. PWVA is our most ambitious community engagement offering to date and to have the NEA’s support means a great deal,” says Virginia Stage Company’s Managing Director, David B. Byrd. 

The musical is slated to have its World Premiere at Virginia Stage Company as the culmination of this years Public Works Virginia Initiative. It builds on individual programs and partnerships conducted across the region this yearly fully produced presentation puts Hampton Roads artists, communities, and cultures onstage alongside professional theatre makers and marks the end of Summer, 2020, and kicks off VSC’s 42nd mainstage season. 

For more information on projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit