THE FINAL VERSION World Premiere Set for Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 12/12-1/19
During its 40th anniversary season, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe will present the world premiere of acclaimed writer Ishmael Reed's new play "The Final Version". The play follows Lee Ransom, a writer who struggles with tensions between Communist ideology and commercial success from the 1930s through the 1960s. Ishmael Reed's poetry, prose and plays have been honored with fellowships from the MacArthur and Guggenheim Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts; his work has also been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Awards. "The Final Version" stars Rome Neal as Lee RansoM. Neal, who has been recognized with an Obie and multiple Audelco awards for his theatrical work, also directs the production.
The play is set in 1939 and 1965. Lee Ransom is an African-American writer who has been sponsored by the American Communist Party. When the Party founders in the late 1930s, Ransom compromises his ideological stance by cutting radical Communist characters from the manuscript of his novel, a move that wins him a publishing contract and material success. In 1965, a publisher asks to release the original novel. Ransom fights with his conscience and with the two excised characters about whether to accept the new publishing deal. The Final Version" explores the complex intersections between racial identity and liberal ideology, and examines how New York City's leftist culture has changed since the 1930s.
"The Final Version" opens Thursday, December 12 and runs most Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons through January 19 (23 total performances) at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (236 East 3rd Street, between Avenues B and C in Manhattan). Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances start at 7PM; Sunday performances start at 3pm. Admission is $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and $18 for students and seniors at the door. Tickets and directions are available at www.nuyorican.org or by calling 212-780-9386.