On Feb. 25, Broadway veteran Dwayne Clark brings "A Portrait of Ray" to Vanguard Theater in Montclair Montclair for seven performances, as part of the New Jersey Theater Alliance’s Stages Festival.

"A Portrait of Ray" takes audiences on a journey back to 1967 at the height of Ray Charles' career, and is set during a homecoming concert in Greenville, Florida.

Clark is the husband of Vanguard artistic director Janeece Freeman Clark. The two wrote the show in 2015, and Dwayne Clark will portray Charles in the production.

"There's something about the spirit of Ray that I connect to for some reason. My dad used to play his records when I was a boy growing up and I really didn't know what I was listening to back then, honestly," Dwayne Clark said in an announcement from the theater.  "Something about his journey, it's like when I put on the glasses something just happens to me."

The Saturday, Feb. 26 performance will honor Covenant House NJ and The Junior League of Montclair and Newark, and “Sleepout Montclair,” happening the following weekend.

On March 4, Vanguard celebrates the 40th anniversary of Toni’s Kitchen, with a special performance.

The closing performance on March 5 celebrates Montclair Brewery. In February, the Brewery continued its annual tradition of releasing a Black History Month- inspired craft beer, and the "Ray" audience will have a chance to taste it.

Tickets are limited to provide a COVID safe experience and are on sale. Attendees have the option to purchase tables for four or two, or single seats. Doors open one hour prior to curtain. Cocktails and light fare will be provided by chef June Williams.


Vanguard Theater Company presents "A Portrait of Ray" on Feb. 25 for seven performances as part of the New Jersey Theater Alliance’s Stages Festival.