The Doctor Reverend Ebenezer Abernathy’s Mellifluously Melodious and Medicative Freedom Revival is a political performance project that began in Syracuse, NY, during the long, cold winter of 2011 — a response to the general despair I had been feeling for some time about the state of the democratic experiment and what seemed (and seems) to be a powerful and intentional effort by the powerful to keep average citizens from thinking or acting within the political arena.
Grounded in theories about political and community-based performance and in Central New York’s rich history of freedom struggles and 19th century tent revivals, The DFR has become a collaborative, inclusive, and participatory political theater company comprised of about 30 residents of Syracuse and Central New York. At the heart of the group is The Sound of Freedom, a 20 person choir backed by a 9-piece rock/reggae/pop/gospel/salsa/musical theater band.
I’m Kevin Bott, aka, The Dr. Reverend Ebenezer Abernathy. I hail from The Land of Good Corn, also known as Manahawkin, NJ, and I grew up performing musical theater, enrolled in and dropped out of a couple of acting programs, and waited a lot of tables on Long Beach Island, in San Francisco, and in New York City. I have a PhD in educational theater from New York University, where I conceived of and then created — with four formerly incarcerated men – A Ritual for Return, an original rite-of-passage intended to ease the passage from incarceration to freedom. I’m the associate director of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life at Syracuse University where I also teach political theater. I live here in Syracuse with my wife, Aimee Brill, and our two boys.