World Premiere of THE UNBLEACHED AMERICAN Wraps Stoneham Theatre's 14th Season, Beg. Tonight

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Stoneham Theatre is proud to announce the World Premiere of The Unbleached American, by Michael Aman, as its final show in Season 14.

The Unbleached American tells the story of Ernest Hogan, the "father of ragtime" and the first African American to perform on Broadway. Beloved by his fans and wealthy beyond his wildest dreams, Hogan was also an infamous writer of "coon songs" that many considered offensive to his own race. The Unbleached American imagines the relationship between Ernest and the woman sent to care for him at the end of his life.

"This remarkable play explores a part of our country's history that I knew absolutely nothing about," Producing Artistic Director Weylin Symes shared. "I was immediately captivated by the tremendous success and talent of Ernest Hogan as well as the infamy that came to surround him." "For me, Michael's play asks us to think about how future generations may judge our present actions," Symes added, "and how profoundly perceptions can shift in the course of a generation." Symes, who will direct the production, is also excited to have cast actor Johnny Lee Davenport as Hogan.

Davenport has a history with The Unbleached American as he did a reading of the play in 2008. "I was intrigued by this play because here was a man who was the first Black man to perform on Broadway, the author of a song (All Coons Look Alike to Me) that, in the early 1900's sold over a million copies, and who affected the perception of Black people all over the world, and I had never heard of him," Davenport stated.

Although The Unbleached American is somewhat of a historical piece, Davenport feels there is relevance today. "I think too often we, as a country, justify prejudices that function only to preserve the image that we have created of ourselves," Davenport shared. "There is a truth in the Ernest Hogan story that warrants deeper contemplation. Anything that stimulates thought is timeless and always relevant."

Audiences will have to wait to see Davenport portray Hogan in The Unbleached American, as it will make its World Premiere in April 2014 at Stoneham Theatre. Stoneham Theatre's complete Season 14 line-up includes: Seminar by Theresa Rebeck: September 12 - September 29, 2013; Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde: October 24 - November 10, 2013; Miracle on 34th Street: November 29 - December 29, 2013; Something's Afoot: February 27 - March 23, 2014; The Unbleached American: April 10 - April 27, 2014; and The Secret Garden: May 15 - June 8, 2014.

For more information or to become a Stoneham Theatre Member, please call the Box Office at (781) 279-2200, or visit www.stonehamtheatre.org. Memberships are currently on sale. Single tickets go on sale July 1, 2013.

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