FLY to Open Cincinnati Playhouse's 2013-14 Season, 9/7-10/5
The inspiring story of World War II's heroic Tuskegee Airmen is brought to vivid life in FLY by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan. The play opens the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park's Robert S. Marx Theatre season from Sept. 7 through Oct. 5.
The Tuskegee Airmen were ordinary men who soared in extraordinary times, against seemingly insurmountable odds. FLY provides a fast-paced, visual and visceral immersion into the hopes, fears and triumphs of America's first black military pilots.
The play inventively combines live action and video projections with the emotionally-charged expressions of a tap dancer. Called the Tap Griot, the role is a choreographed illumination of feelings that the Tuskegee pilots were forced to suppress. The role will be portrayed by dancer, entertainer and musician Omar Edwards, a past winner of Star Search whose credits include the Broadway production of Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk and the international tour of Black and Blue. He creates all of his own tap choreography for the show.
"FLY brings to life an important and, to some, a lesser-known story in American history," Playhouse Artistic Director Blake Robison said."As Americans, we remain inspired by the bravery and courage of our armed forces. Confronting challenges, overcoming the odds, standing up for what's right - that's what our country is all about. I hope that Cincinnati families will take this opportunity to share and learn together. FLY makes the greatest generation come to life for all generations."
FLY originally was commissioned by Lincoln Center Education as a student show. The expanded version was workshopped at the Vineyard Theater, had its world premiere in October 2009 at New Jersey's Crossroads Theatre Company and was subsequently produced at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. The show is recommended for audiences ages 10 and older.
In addition to Edwards, the cast for FLY features Greg Brostrom as Capt. O'Hurley, Eddie R. Brown III as W.W., Will Cobbs as Oscar, Cary Donaldson as Bomber Pilot Reynolds/Instructor/Col. Snopes, David Pegram as Chet Simpkins, Timothy Sekk as Bomber Co-Pilot Shaw/Staff Sargeant/Barman and Terrell Donnell Sledge as J. Allen. All are appearing at The Playhouse for the first time.
Ricardo Khan, the co-playwright for FLY, also will direct the production. Hope Clarke is the choreographer. The design team includes Beowulf Boritt (set designer), Toni-Leslie James (costume designer), Rui Rita and Jake DeGroot (co-lighting designers), John Gromada (sound designer/composer) and Clint Allen (projection designer). Jenifer Morrow is the production stage manager and Denise Marie Cardarelli and Andrea L. Shell are the Second Stage managers.
The production is sponsored by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation. The design sponsor is Huntington Bank, artist sponsor is The Morse and Betty Johnson Charitable Foundation and additional support is provided by The Louise Taft Semple Foundation.
Prices for FLY range from $30 to $75, depending on seat location. Prices are subject to change, and patrons are encouraged to buy early for the best seats at the best prices. Child, teen and student tickets are $25 each. Previews are at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7; 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10; and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11. The official opening night is Thursday, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m.