The LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) play, a co-production of Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre (NBT) and The Classical Theatre of Harlem, runs from May 3 through May 23 at NBT
Hollywood actor Sharif Atkins leads the cast of the 50th anniversary production
WHAT: Fifty years after its world premiere, “Dutchman” by LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) heads to Harlem. Opening Night for the controversial play, which is directed by Carl Cofield, will be Saturday, May 3, at the National Black Theatre. Actor Sharif Atkins (“White Collar,” “Hawaii,” “ER”) will star as Clay in the production opposite Ambien Mitchell as Lula; Lorenzo Scott will play the Conductor. Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre and The Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH) are co-presenting the play in tribute to the late, great poet and playwright Baraka, who died on January 9. Performances run through May 23 at NBT. The cast and crew of the production, together with Harlem and theater notables, will be on hand to celebrate the opening of the show at a gala preceding the performance.
“Dutchman” is a classic political allegory on race relations that immediately preceded the 1960s Black Arts Movement, the artistic flank of the Black Power Movement of the 1960s, which Baraka helped to start in Harlem. The shocking one-act play won an Obie Award for Best American Play in 1964 and went on to receive the Hollywood treatment in 1967 with a film starring the late Al Freeman, Jr., and Shirley Knight. Fifty years later, with names like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis hitting the headlines, its themes of racial injustice and Black identity resonate just as strongly as ever.
WHO: Ty Jones, Producing Artistic Director, Classical Theatre of Harlem; David Roberts, Managing Director, Classical Theatre of Harlem; Jonathan McCrory, Director of Theatre Arts Program, National Black Theatre; Carl Cofield; “Dutchman” cast: Sharif Atkins, Ambien Mitchell and Lorenzo Scott; Harlem/theater notables, including Thelma Golden, The Studio Museum in Harlem and Voza Rivers, New Heritage Theatre Group/Impact Repertory Theatre/Harlem Arts Alliance
WHEN: Saturday, May 3 6:45 pm Press check-in
7:00 pm Reception
8:00 pm Performance
WHERE: National Black Theatre (2031 Fifth Avenue, Harlem)