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This is a long overdue THANK YOU LOVE NOTE, but admittedly, I needed time to process all of the great moments the June 23rd 2024 milestone provided at the infamous Celebrity Theatre located in the Claridge Hotel.  NJPAC, North2Shore and title sponsor Prudential presented Mary Cross’ Tribute to Phyllis Hyman as the Grand Finale of the North 2 Shore Festival in Atlantic City, NJ.

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North 2 Shore: A songstress returns to Atlantic City to pay tribute to the indelible Phyllis Hyman

By Tatianna Mott | Special to Mosaic

June 17, 2024 at 4:18 pm EDT

Soulful South Jersey singer Mary Cross is heading to the Celebrity Theatre in the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City to deliver the love in a pre-Heavenly birthday tribute to the unforgettable Phyllis Hyman. This sold-out special musical homage marks a significant return for Cross to the city where her career first blossomed.

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My view is unlike the audience …differs from what my sound team and bandmates experience.

What I am able to share, is based solely upon my personal encounters with texts, emails, chats, phone calls, audio messages, and other encouraging comments from social media. YOU all came from far and wide!  Sunday, I was amongst friends, family, and loved ones.  I was enveloped in LOVE abounding and given the grace and warmth in a safe haven to share my gift of song during this production in ode to an ICON.  As Producer, I created the arrangements for the 58 song repertoire from Phyllis Linda Hyman’s musical catalogue… in addition I added songs she may have sung in live performances on talk shows, theatre plays or movies…

 

This event wasn’t a concert – and it was far more than a performance or event.  It was a labor of love in ode to a great Woman who deserves to be celebrated and remembered for all she contributed to the music industry and humanity.  To be honesty, this life walk is complicated, emotional, challenging, and along the journey, every encounter is interwoven into the fabric of our lives (good, bad or indifferent).  Phyllis’ songs touch, encourage and soothe.  The lyrics she delivers  bring on a nostalgic vibe listeners can easily reminisce with…her voice causes one to feel both heard and understood. Phyllis was intentionally honest and vulnerable in delivering the interpretation of a song.  She sang about what she lived (and many things she hoped for).

In 4 hours we took the audience on a ride that started off nice and easy and went into overdrive at the end…and we still didn’t get to 2 of the 58 songs!  But the laughter, tears of JOY, accolades, thanks and the rousing applause confirmed that we accomplished what we set out to do…celebrate Phyllis!  We remembered. We honored. We marinated in the music and we had FUN

Over 200 beautiful images of Phyllis were flashing continuously on screen the entire evening. A number of Phyllis Hyman’s family members were present and they expressed their enjoyment and gratitude for a job well done!   The sentiments from the family are  beyond anything I could have asked…considering I never met Ms. Hyman nor attended any of her performances. 

A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales was donated to NAMI Philly (National Alliance of Mental Illness).  The donation was presented with David Hyman, Jr. alongside me…in memory of Phyllis Hyman.  NAMI Philly also added Ms. Hyman’s image on the website under the Memorial page – where another notable advocate, Naomi Judd is also mentioned.

..And what’s a celebration without desserts? In pre-birthday celebratory fashion, customized cookies with the image of Phyllis Hyman were distributed, along with cupcakes for everyone in attendance!    We had a time!  Although I do not plan to do another 4 hour tribute, I am glad I was able to do so during what was an amazing night!

There were so many people in attendance and I did not get to greet most…but I thank you for being there and the messages that keep pouring in!  Some of the greatest gifts I have ever received is knowing you believe in my potential, your willingness to support my dreams, encouraging me with words of edification, purchasing and wearing merchandise, and SPREADING THE WORD via text, posts, word of mouth etc. You guys have honored each of these things in abundance!  And I THANK YOU!

Exciting News!

Mary Cross Music is working on additional show dates in Maryland, Philadelphia, and North Jersey/NY regions for both the Phyllis Hyman Tribute and An Evening of Class, Jazz, and Soul.

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Shoutouts

My wonderful husband, Jeffrey Cross,  who has been on this crazy ride with me and donated tickets for seniors  to attend…all in addition to creating the beautiful Phyllis Hyman t-shirts!  (We are still accepting orders for merch on the website!)

My beloved son Jeffrey William Cross who helped register/check-in guests.

The Hyman family who thought it not robbery to attend a 4 hour concert…actively engaging and supporting me the entire length of the show!  And I am grateful for the kind, special love note I received days after the event.  I shall treasure the words my whole life.  #PRICELESS!!

Mr. Aaron McCargo, Jr. for being a GREAT friend and  introducing me – Camden Strong native!!!

Paige Washington (FlybyPoet) for the spoken word piece she penned and beautifully presented which consisted of a number of Phyllis’ song titles we performed that evening.

Reverend Georgiette Morgan Thomas, CEO & Founder of Philadelphia’s  American Hats, LLC (all hats I wore were created by AH, LLC!) Thank you sooo much!

Onsite IT Solutions, LLC for the generous contribution of tickets for seniors to attend.

Jamal Dickerson and The TRUMPET CHICS who always show up and show out when I ask them to bring the FIYAH!!!  Everyone was on their feet during their electrifying set!! OUTSTANDING JOB!

HONORABLE MENTION:

Those who sold bulk tickets: Warren Morton and Jacqueline & Kyle Stevens,  Carey, Martina, Scoodie Daille & Shi!!

 

Special shout out to Judah Dorrington and the Health and Human Services Division as well!

Yowanda Carstarphen and Trenace Clarke who served as hostesses and seated guests during the show.

My beautiful daughter Chantille E. Smith who wore many hats including making food trays, packing up my green room items, and so much more!  I love and appreciate you dearly!  And I had sweet Brenda in tow!  BONUS!

Designer Tee Ways – Tatiana created the black gown I wore and it was indeed a bedazzled show stopper!  Thank you for envisioning and creating a master piece with the high collar to honor Ms. Hyman!

Rita House for the beautiful baked cookies with the custom image of Phyllis Hyman.

2NspireU Team:

Dane Clarke, Daille Kettrell, Carey ‘Akono’ Muse, Joe ‘Scoodie’ Fisher, Lonnie Baldwin, Martina Grant, Michelle ‘Songbird’ Ray, Shianne LaDale, Max Illan, Will Allen and Ron Bass. 

The Sound team provided state-of-the-art audio at Celebrity Theatre: my brother Ed House and Chad Graham.  Each worked pain-stakingly to ensure that the show’s audio was OUTSTANDING.  Mission Accomplished!

C’ani Lewis…my baby who took great care of me as my glam squad for beauty needs;

Francesca for her valet assistance the entire length of my stay and was on glam duty as well.

My cousin Latanya who couldn’t attend but sent a lovely bouquet that arrived prior to show time.  THANK YOU COUSIN!

 

Jannie Shmanny who is the greatest social media poster a girl could ever have or want…and you hyped me up!!!  LOL 

 

JonAnthony who provided the welcoming address to open the show. Great JOB!

 

Curtis McNulty, Claridge Hotel  National staff member who  presented Judah and I with beautiful roses and my stay in the beautiful and spacious 2 room FRANK SINATRA SUITE!

Chef Craig (Leavander’s and the staff for taking care of the guests)

 

Vendors:

iCreate Videography

D’Mont Photography

EU  - Entertainment Unlimited (Ty Chappell)

Anyone I missed…please let me know so I can add you to this awesome love message!

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