Out of the Box Theatre Company to Present DEEP ARE THE ROOTS, 5/4-8
During the week of May 4th through 8th, Out of the Box, a Manhattan Equity theater company, will meet the topic of race relations head on with the production of Deep Are the Roots, a play highlighting segregation in the Deep South, post-World War II.
Deep Are the Roots will be performed at the West End Theatre at 263 West 86th Street, New York, NY. The performances will be Wednesday through Friday, 8 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Written by Arnaud d'Usseau and James Gow, Deep Are the Roots, originally opened on Broadway in 1945 and ran 477 performances.
Decorated African-American U.S. Army lieutenant Brett Charles comes home from the war and attempts to re-enter his small southern community in the Deep South at the end of World War II. Having been in command overseas - respected and treated as an equal - Brett resists being "put in his place" as a young African American in his segregated homeland. Although a daughter of a conservative U.S. Senator, Alice Langdon, believes in Brett and hopes and encourages him to go to college in the north, Brett wants to stay in his hometown, looking to make a difference. Brett and Genevra, Alice's younger sister, fall in love as the play's story unfolds, dividing the family with those who still support and go along with segregation and those looking to stand up to it.
"The play tackles both interracial love and the state of race relations decades ago, an issue our country is still tackling today. There is still relevancy in this piece of work," said Arthur French, the director of the play, who worked extensively with the Negro Ensemble Company and was a supporting character in the 1976 film Car Wash. His recent film credits include 2 Days in New York and Red Hook Summer.
Deep Are the Roots' playwrights, Arnaud d'Usseau and James Gow, often worked together, having produced Tomorrow The World, a thriller, and The Legend of Sarah, a comedy.
D'Usseau appeared before the McCarthy committee in 1953 and was blacklisted as a Communist sympathizer. He refused to testify before the Committee and eventually moved to Europe, writing screenplays under pseudonyms. He returned to the United States and taught at New York University. Gow was also a screenwriter, producing Moonlight in Hawaii, Bunker Bean, Murder on a Bridle Path, and I Dream Too Much.
The production's music, under the direction of Lin Snider, will consist of a small ensemble singing familiar popular songs from the south with piano, banjo, and guitar. Some of the songs will be "Oh, Susanna," "Tennesee Waltz" and "Carolina in the Morning."
The cast for this Equity Showcase production includes Jessica Bonder (Genevra Langdon), Damien Bosco* (Deputy Bob Izay), Jocelyn Druyan* (Alice Langdon), Kelly Gilmore (Roy Maxwell), James Harter* (Senator Langdon), Grant Machan* (Howard Merrick), Gloria Sauvé* (Bella Campbell), Augustus Wilson (Brett Campbell), Cooki Winborn* (Honey), and David Lloyd Walters* (Sheriff Serkin). The six musical performers include Susan Case,* Eric Benjamin Gordon (banjo), Colleen Kennedy,* William Lyon Lee, Aaron Scott*, and Sally Sherwood,* with musical director Lin Snider* on piano.
*Appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association
Photo Credit: Piotr Olszewski