Blues for an Alabama Sky
by Pearl Cleage
directed by D. Keith Best
October 20-22, 2016
7:30 pm Thursday – Saturday
Fine Arts Theatre, Hyman Fine Arts Center
It is the summer of 1930 in Harlem, New York. The creative euphoria of the Harlem Renaissance has given way to the harsher realities of the Great Depression. Young Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., is feeding the hungry and preaching an activist gospel at Abyssinian Baptist Church. Black Nationalist visionary Marcus Garvey has been discredited and deported. Birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger is opening a new family planning clinic on 126th Street, and the doctors at Harlem Hospital are scrambling to care for a population whose most deadly disease is poverty. The play brings together a rich cast of characters who reflect the conflicting currents of the time through their overlapping personalities and politics. Set in the Harlem apartment of Guy, a popular costume designer, and his friend, Angel, a recently fired Cotton Club back-up singer, the cast also includes Sam, a hard-working, jazz-loving doctor at Harlem Hospital; Delia, an equally dedicated member of the staff at the Sanger clinic; and Leland, a recent transplant from Tuskegee, who sees in Angel a memory of lost love and a reminder of those “Alabama skies where the stars are so thick it’s bright as day.” Invoking the image of African-American expatriate extraordinaire, Josephine Baker as both muse and myth, Cleage’s characters struggle, as Guy says, “to look beyond 125th Street” for the fulfillment of their dreams.
by Liza Lentini
directed by Dr. Dawn Larsen
February 15-18, 2017
7:30 pm Wednesday – Friday
Black Box Theatre, Performing Arts Center
An amiable, unexpected stranger arrives one afternoon to visit three specific women with his agenda in tow — but what is it exactly? Surrounded by secrets of past, present and future, imbedded in the aftershock of both war and the broken American Dream, Blue Bird takes its audience on a thoroughly absurd tour of this broad slice of life, both frightening and heroic, with an all too real message and an unforgettable twist.
This play contains mature subject matter and language.
Always a Bridesmaid
by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten
directed by Professor A. Glen Gourley
Thursday – Saturday, April 13-15, 2017, 7:30 pm
Fine Arts Theatre, Hyman Fine Arts Center
In this hilarious comedic romp, four friends have sworn to keep the promise they made on the night of their Senior Prom: to be in each other’s weddings … no matter what. More than thirty years later, these Southern friends-for-life are still making “the long walk” for each other, determined to honor that vow. Libby Ruth, the hopeful romantic with the perfect marriage, believes – in spite of all evidence to the contrary – that her friends can find the very same happiness. Headstrong Deedra’s “rock-solid” union hangs by a thread when she discovers her husband of many years has not only a wandering eye but the hands to match. Monette, flashy, high-spirited and self-involved, continues to test her friends’ love and patience with all-too-frequent trips down the aisle. And salt-of-the-earth, tree-hugging Charlie discovers – the hard way – that marital bliss is not the end of her rainbow and panics in outrageous style when the opportunity presents itself.
Hop on this marriage-go-round for a laugh-out-loud journey with these beleaguered bridesmaids as they navigate the choppy waters of love and matrimony. Libby Ruth, Deedra, Monette and Charlie are committed to the notion that careers, waistlines and even marriages may disappear, but real friendships last a lifetime. Forsaking all others, in sickness and in health, they repeatedly struggle to stage the perfect wedding in spite of fistfights at the altar, runaway brides and the mistaken, and unfortunate, release of a flock of white doves on the first day of hunting season. Always A Bridesmaid is the rollicking tale of four loyal and determined women who definitively answer the question, “Just how far are you willing to go to keep a promise to a friend?”
If you’ve ever elbowed a stranger out of the way to catch a bride’s bouquet, seriously questioned the mental stability of the duo saying “I do” or been forced to wear the world’s ugliest bridesmaid dress, this deliriously funny JONES HOPE WOOTEN COMEDY is definitely for you … and your dearly beloved!