Photo Flash: First Look at Ford Theatre's FLY
The play follows four courageous heroes hailing from Chicago, Harlem, rural Iowa and the Caribbean as they train to fly combat aircraft. In spite of the overt racism they encounter, the men form a lasting brotherhood and fly with distinction, paving the way for the desegregation of the American military and the later Civil Rights Movement. The production inventively combines live action, video footage and the inspirational "Tap Griot," a dancing storyteller who expresses the anger, fear and triumph that the officers cannot.
"Fly" Co-author and Director Ricardo Khan returns to Ford's Theatre for the first time since the 1991 production of "Black Eagles." Khan was a member of the Broadway producing team for "It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues" (Tony nomination, 1999) and Associate Director for "Hot Feet." His regional credits include productions for Hartford Stage, Oregon Shakespeare and the Kennedy Center. Khan is Founding Director of Crossroads Theatre Company (Tony for Outstanding Regional Theatre, 1999); Artist-In-Residence for the Lincoln Center Institute, Lincoln Center; and founder of the World Theatre Lab, an international writers-collective based in London, New York and Johannesburg. He also serves as an Associate Artist at the Vineyard Playhouse.
The cast for Fly includes Eric Berryman, Mark Hairston, Damian Thompson and Christopher Wilson as Tuskegee Airmen W.W., Oscar, J. Allen and Chet. The production also features Omar Edwards as the Tap Griot (Broadway's "Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk"), and Matt Bassett, James Konicek (Ford's "1776," "Parade," "LiberTy Smith," "State of the Union"), Clark Young and Kahlil X. Daniel.
Scenic Designer Beowulf Boritt's designs include large cloud-draped hanging panels that showcase multi-media projections including, among other things, historic images and World War II aerial footage. Projections are designed by Clint Allen ("The Heavens Are Hung In Black"). The "Fly" design team also includes Costume Design by Toni-Leslie James (Black Pearl Sings!), Lighting Design by Rui Rita ("A Christmas Carol," "Meet John Doe," "Trying"), Original Music and Sound Design by John Gromada ("Necessary Sacrifices," "Sabrina Fair"), Choreography by Hope Clarke, Fight Direction by Rick Sordelet and Dialects by Leigh Wilson Smiley. The production team also includes Production Stage Manager Brandon Prendergast and Assistant Stage Manager Kate Kilbane.
Washington, D.C. native Dr. Roscoe Brown, Jr. serves as Production Advisor for "Fly." As squadron commander of the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group during World War II, Brown flew 68 long-range missions from August of 1944 to March of 1945. For his service, Brown received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The Lincoln Legacy Project is a multi-year effort to create dialogue in our nation's capital around the issues of tolerance, equality and acceptance. Each fall, beginning with the Washington premiere of the musical "Parade" in 2011, town-hall-style meetings, panel discussions, scholar talkbacks, in-depth student workshops and staged readings will augment an evocative mainstage production. Through a diversity of programming, The Lincoln Legacy Project is designed to encourage people of differing viewpoints to engage in meaningful and respectful dialogue about tolerance and understanding.
For more information on the 2012 programming schedule for The Lincoln Legacy Project, visit http://www.fords.org/lincoln-legacy-project.
Omar Edwards as the Tap Griot