The National Black Touring Circuit's Black History Month Play Festival will present "Zora Neale Hurston," written by Laurence Holder, starring Kim Brockington and directed by Wynn Handman from February 10 – 12 at the Castillo Theatre, 543 West 43rd Street.
The performance is part of the National Black Touring Circuit's Black History Month Play Festival exploring the lives of African American historical figures A. Philip Randolph, Zora Neale Hurston, Adam Clayton Powell and Congresswoman Barbara Jordan in theaters throughout New York City from February 3 – 26.
"Zora Neale Hurston" is a dramatic biography that examines the life of this famous writer anthropologist of the Harlem Renaissance. The play follows Hurston from the all Black town of Eatonville, Florida to becoming the first Black graduate from Barnard College in New York City and ultimately into her personal journey as a writer, exploring Black folklore and anthropology. Brockington, whose credits include "Guiding Light," "The West Wing" and "Law & Order," starred as Hurston in the acclaimed PBS "American Masters" special on the famed writer and anthropologist. On Friday, February 10, Dr. Brenda Greene, professor of English and executive director of the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College and the National Black Writers Conference, will conduct a presentation on Hurston.
The Black History Month Play Festival showcases a different biographical play each week, featuring three performances. In addition, there will be post-play discussions focusing on issues these African American politicians faced during their lifetimes. The Black History Month Play Festival is produced by Woodie King, Jr., the producer/director of the National Black Touring Circuit and Kim Weston Moran, associate producer. "These plays remind us that it's important to honor the determination and accomplishments of these African American political heroes," said King. "Each of them had a major role in changing and impacting American history and culture."
"Adam" will be held February 17 – 19 at the Dwyer Cultural Center, 258 St. Nicholas Avenue. Starring Timothy Simonson, written by Peter Deanda and directed by Shauneille Perry, "Adam" is a dramatization of the words and thoughts of the Reverend and Honorable Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. It is a dramatic, historical play that is set in Bimini, the House of Representatives and Abyssinian Baptist Church. "Adam" follows the handsome and charismatic Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. on his political journey as the Congressman who represented Harlem between 1945 and 1971. Simonson won an Audelco Award for performing as the legendary political activist.
"I, Barbara Jordan" will be held February 24-26 at the National Black Theatre, 2031 Fifth Avenue. Starring Toni SeaWright, "I, Barbara Jordan," written by Celeste Bedford Walker, was originally commissioned by The Alley Theatre. The play celebrates the remarkable life and career of the eminent Texas orator, legislator and teacher, who was Texas' first African-American woman state senator. Jordan, the first African American woman from the South to be elected to Congress (serving from 1973 to 1979), also became the first African-American woman to deliver the keynote address at a Democratic National Convention in 1976. Seawright, the first African American Miss Mississippi, has been featured on Nickelodeon, the Broadway production "Street Corner Symphony" and the national touring company of "The Wiz" with Stephanie Mills. On Saturday, February 25, political activist Dr. Lenora Fulani will have a presentation on Jordan.
Already, "The Good Fight: A. Philip Randolph" was held February 3 – 5 at the National Black Theatre, 2031 Fifth Avenue. Starring Ralph McCain, "The Good Fight" was written by Al Boswell and uses Randolph's words and deeds to tell his story. He fought to ban discrimination in the armed forces and led 250,000 in the historic march on Washington. "The Good Fight," directed by Justin Lord, was originally commissioned by the A. Philip Randolph Institute. On, Saturday, February 4, renowned poet, playwright and author Amiri Baraka had a presentation on Randolph.
The Black History Month Play Festival performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm and Sundays at 3:00pm. Tickets are $20. For more information call (212) 279-4200.
The National Black Touring Circuit was founded in 1974, by Woodie King, Jr. to make existing Black theatre productions available to a larger audience by presenting to the Black communities at large, to colleges, to Black art centers, and to resident professional theatres. The program is funded by NYSCA, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, Mary Duke Biddle Foundation and Contracted Booking Fees.