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April 29, 2021

2021/22 Season Preview: Parable of the Sower


Parable of the Sower

“All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth is change.” — Octavia E. Butler

Based on Octavia E. Butler’s novel of the same name, Parable of the Sower is a triumphant, mesmerizing work of rare power and beauty that illuminates deep insights on gender, race, and the future of human civilization.

This opera brings together over 30 original anthems drawn from 200 years of Black music to recreate Butler’s Afrofuturist masterpiece live on stage. With music and lyrics composed by Toshi Reagon, whom Vibe Magazine called “one helluva rock’n’roller-coaster ride,” and Bernice Johnson Reagon, the iconic singer, scholar, activist, and founder of Sweet Honey In The Rock, this compelling work gives life to Butler’s acclaimed post-apocalyptic science fiction novel of the same name. This genre-defying work is filled with hope and human connection and features a powerhouse ensemble of 20 singers and musicians.

About Octavia E. Butler and the ‘Parable’ Series

Octavia E. Butler was a renowned African American author who received a MacArthur “Genius” Grant and PEN West Lifetime Achievement Award for her body of work. Born in Pasadena in 1947, she was raised by her mother and her grandmother. She was the author of several award-winning novels including Parable of the Sower (1993), which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Parable of the Talents (1995), winner of the Nebula Award for the best science fiction novel published that year. She was acclaimed for her lean prose, strong protagonists, and social observations in stories that range from the distant past to the far future. (

Listen to an archival broadcast with Octavia E. Butler in NPR’s recent feature:

Both novels are available for purchase through Literati Bookstore.

About the Artists

Toshi Reagon

Toshi Reagon is a one-woman celebration of all that’s dynamic, progressive, and uplifting in American music. Since first taking to the stage at age 17, this versatile singer-songwriter-guitarist has moved audiences of all kinds with her big-hearted, hold-nothing-back approach to rock, blues, R&B, country, folk, spirituals and funk.

Bernice Johnson Reagon

For more than a half-century,  Bernice Johnson Reagon has been a major cultural voice for freedom and justice; she sings, teaches, and speaks out against racism and organized inequities of all kinds. Reagon’s life and work supports the concept of community-based culture with an enlarged capacity for mutual respect: for self, for those who move among us who seem to be different than us, for our home, and for the environment — including the planet that sustains life as we know it.

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