James Duke Walker Leads The Cast Of Controversial Cop Drama SPLIT SECOND At New Vibe Lounge
James Duke Walker, who won a string of acting awards for his film debut in the independent short thriller Roadside Assistance, will play the leading role of NYPD police office Val Johnson in the staged reading production of Dennis McIntyre's controversial police drama Split Second which comes to the New Vibe Lounge, Rockville Centre on Sunday November 17 at 7pm.
The reading will be directed by award winning playwright and producer David Heron.
McIntyre's hit play, which was also produced Off Broadway by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1985, follows the events that unfold after Johnson shoots and kills a young white man during an altercation after trying to arrest him for stealing a car. Following the incident, Johnson must decide what explanation he will offer to those closest to him including his wife, his police captain and his father- a retired police officer himself.
Two time Oscar winner Denzel Washington played the role of Johnson at Los Angeles' New Mayfair Theatre in 1985 alongside a star studded cast that included Alfre Woodard as his wife and John Amos- of television's Good Times and Roots fame- as his father.
In addition to Roadside Assistance, the fast rising Walker has also appeared onstage in Stephen Bracco's Bro at Manhattan Repertory Theatre as well as on television in the Independent Discovery channel's Diabolical. He will shortly be seen in Amazon's Emmy award winning series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Gabrielle C Archer was last seen on stage in Judy Tate's In the Parlour at the National Museum of Women in The Arts in Washington DC. Her other credits include Untamed at the Black Spectrum Theatre and Against His Will and Not About Eve both at the New Vibe Lounge.
Michael Green is an actor as well as Artistic Director of Harlem's Shades of Truth Theatre. He has received critical praise for his ongoing performances as Dr.Martin Luther King Jr in Jeff Stetson's The Meeting, presented at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and at venues across the Tri-State area and nationally. Other credits include Esther Armahs' Savior at The Dwyer Cultural Center and Romulus Linney's A Lesson Before Dying at The New Repertory Theatre in Boston.
Chris Cornwell is an actor and musician last seen on stage in A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Colonial Theatre of Rhode Island. He has also appeared in Chasing The New White Whale at La Mama Experimental Theatre, Cry Eden at The Access Theatre and in Erika Phoebus' play Kiss It Make It Better at the New Ohio Theatre.
Fleurette Harris recently appeared as Mama Rochester in the New Vibe Lounge production of Karl O'Brian Williams' Not About Eve. Other credits at The Vibe include Mary, the Mother of Jesus in The Rope and The Cross and in the Ensemble of Against His Will.
Osodnu Thambo's most recent stage appearance was as John the Disciple in The Rope and The Cross at The Vibe. His other credits include The Life and Death of Kenyan Phillips at Webster Hall as well as the web series Crow Hill.
For leading man Walker- a former construction worker turned actor- inhabiting a role that was once famously played by one of his icons has already elevated the experience of Split Second to another level.
"The truth is that for an entire generation of younger actors- and especially actors of color- Denzel is, quite simply, the gold standard," he says. "He has blazed a trail for us all that allows us to see what can be possible in terms of career achievement. So admiring him as I do, to have the opportunity this early in my career to play a character that he once created feels very special indeed."
Walker is also fascinated by how much Split Second still resonates today, nearly forty years after its first performances.
"I read this script now and it feels like it was written yesterday. Here we are still talking about police handling of these difficult situations. It's remarkably sad that things have not got better since this play was first done. If anything, they've got worse. I think audiences may find it disturbing, but considering where we are, that's probably a good thing."
The performance will be preceded by cocktails from 6 to 7pm. An audience talk back with the artists, as well as a Caribbean cuisine buffet reception courtesy of Golden Krust Caribbean Restaurant, will follow the show.
The New Vibe Lounge is located at 60 North Park Avenue, Rockville Center Long Island, 11570. Opening hours are Thursdays 4pm to 12 midnight and Fridays and Saturdays from 4pm to 4am.
Tickets for Split Second are available at splitsecondtheplay.eventbrite.com. For further information contact 424 256 6574.