Keith David Injured; Ebony Rep Postpones PAUL ROBESON Opening
Ebony Repertory Theatre released a statement today about the decision to postpone their prodution of PAUL ROBESON.
They wrote: "Due to an injury to lead actor Keith David, the opening performance of PAUL ROBESON by Phillip Hayes Dean has been postponed. A new performance schedule will be announced shortly. Mr. David looks forward to returning to the stage immediately after his prescribed rest. The Ebony Repertory Theatre family and the Company of PAUL ROBESON are wishing Mr. David a speedy recovery."
PAUL ROBESON was scheduled to open on Friday, March 14 at 8:00 p.m. at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center.
Writer Phillip Hayes Dean's (Drama Desk-winner for The Sty of the Blind Pig) powerful and moving play PAUL ROBESON will mark the playwright's Los Angeles directorial debut. Two-time Emmy Award-winner Keith David (Fox's new series Enlisted) will star in this one-man play accompanied by pianist/musical director Byron J. Smith (working with numerous artists including Wynton Marsalis, Barbra Streisand, Bebe Winnans).
A powerful chronicle of the life of Paul Robeson, Phillip Hayes Dean's play takes us from his childhood in New Jersey to his adult life around the world. An All-American athlete and a lawyer with Columbia Law School credentials, Robeson faces the racism prevalent in society in the early part of the twentieth century. He strives to rise above, and it is his triumph in that struggle that turns Robeson into a modern day hero.
Realizing the racist system would not allow him to practice as a lawyer, Robeson turns to singing, something he had learned well in the church choir. His singing leads to acting and his acting, with all the accolades due a master, leads him around the world. But every place he visits he sees the strains of racism in its many forms. The more he sees, the more he speaks out, using his influence and stature to try and enlighten those around him. After some time in Europe, he returns to the United States to perform and speak out about the injustices in the country he loves. Confronting racism again, he sticks to his values, adhering to no party line, but is accused of being a Communist, an agitator and much more. He is blacklisted and his passport is revoked, but he goes on speaking out whenever he can.
For eight years Robeson fights to clear his name. Finally, the social climate begins to change and toward the end of his life, Robeson's passport is reinstated along with some of the glory and respect he earned along the way. There is still far to go, but Paul Robeson remains a beacon to those struggling to make this world a better place.
In addition to director Phillip Hayes Dean, the creative team for PAUL ROBESON includes scenic design by Edward E. Haynes, Jr., costume design by Wendell C. Carmichael, lighting design by Dan Weingarten, sound design by Bob Blackburn and choreography by Keith Young. The production stage manager is David Blackwell.
Phillip Hayes Dean's PAUL ROBESON originally opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1978, later transferring to the Booth Theatre, starring James Earl Jones and directed by Lloyd Richards with original staging by Charles Nelson Reilly. The one-man play had two revivals on Broadway - 1988 at the John Golden Theatre and in 1995 at the Longacre Theatre. Both productions starred Avery Brooks and were directed by Harold Scott.
Ebony Repertory Theatre, now in its sixth year, is the resident company and operator of the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, which is located at 4718 West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90016. For more information, visit ebonyrep.org.