Black women homesteaders spotlighted in Westport Playhouse reading
Published 6:56 am, Saturday, March 7, 2015
"Flyin' West" is the next Script in Hand playreading presentation at the Westport Country Playhouse.
The presentation, set for 7 p.m. Monday, March 9, is described as "a love story, an adventure, a thriller with a terrific villain and it has a great ending," by Anne Keefe, the production's director, in a publicity release. "It's also an uplifting story of courageous women."
"Flyin' West," written by Pearl Cleage, is part of the theater's series featuring women playwrights. She is an Atlanta-based writer of a dozen plays that also include "Blues for an Alabama Sky" and "Bourbon at the Border." Among her novels is "What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day."
The play is set in the aftermath of the Civil War, when many former slaves, anxious to leave the South, took advantage of the Homestead Act and went West to start new lives, according to publicity for the presentation. Many were black women who faced long odds to work their own land and make a living. "Flyin' West" tells the story of African-American female pioneers who settled together in the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kan.
The cast includes Leon Addison Brown, who will play Wil Parish. He appeared in the Westport Country Playhouse's 2002 production of "Master Harold ... and the Boys." His Broadway credits include "The Trip to Bountiful" and "Prelude to a Kiss." Britney Coleman, playing Minnie Dove Charles, was in playhouse productions of "Into the Woods" and "Sing for Your Shakespeare," and in New York's "Brush Up Your Shakespeare." Lynda Gravátt, as Miss Leah, performed at the playhouse in "A Raisin in the Sun," and a Script in Hand playreading of "Intimate Apparel." She was on Broadway in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "Doubt."
Rey Lucas, as Frank Charles, appeared on Broadway in "The Rainmaker." He was in Long Wharf Theatre's "Our Town" and Yale Repertory Theatre's "The Taming of the Shrew." Linda Powell, as Sophie Washington, was on Broadway in "On Golden Pond" and "The Trip to Bountiful." Her films include "American Gangster" and "Morning Glory." Nikki E. Walker, as Fannie Dove, appeared last fall in the playhouse production of "Intimate Apparel." She was in Broadway's "An American Plan," and on television's "Orange Is the New Black."
For more information or tickets, which cost $20, call the box office at 203-227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court. Tickets are available online at www.westportplayhouse.org.