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NORTHBOUND Goes from Stage to Free Screen Showing May 15


Following a successful run at Theater for the New City, Northbound, a play mixing real figures from the era of slavery and emancipation with a fictional story, is back this time on the screen.

Northbound, written and directed by Marvalee Peart, is being presented on screen May 15, 2017 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., between 9th and 10th Street, in Manhattan.

Admission is FREE, but reservations are required. For reservations, contact

The play, presents a sprawling story with a cast of roughly 20 and characters such as Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Stephen A. Douglas in their own words.

It takes us back to a time of heroes, horrors and a war of words, showing us those committed to freedom and those passionately pushing to preserve the atrocity of slavery.

"The cast and I look back on the Northbound experience with profound satisfaction," Peart said of the show. "It was a splendid moment in time in which an extraordinarily talented group of individuals came together to create something unforgettable."

Audiences reacted positively, which prompted the decision to present a condensed version of the show on film.

"There truly has been something unforgettable about Northbound," Peart continued regarding the decision to present a version for the screen. "So much so, we've decided to bring the stage to the screen."

The play, along with the one night presentation of this special screening, shows us the story of two slaves - Annabelle played by Jessica Davis and Tongo played by Chris Bones -who devise a plan to escape a plantation, mixing real speeches and characters with a fictional story.

At the heart of Northbound is a love story between a young woman innocently being courted by a restless young slave and the conflicted son of a brutal slavemaster who commands a young girls every thought and desire.

We see the beginning of what could be a beautiful courtship between our heroine Annabelle and Tongo, well versed in the history of his people, against the abusive relationship between a young Collin Tully. And we see his unbreakable sense of entitlement: sexually, emotionally, mentally and physically.

We see this story play out against the larger canvas of the country, in an epic tale including a tense chase sequence of several runaways pursued by a relentless slave-catcher Robert Steele played Jim Saxton.

High society southern belle played by Paolina Weber, Annette Fox, and Kristin Nemecek discuss the art of slavery as though they were discussing the right to bear arms.

We hear a poignant retelling of a three-day-long auction of 450 slaves at a massive racetrack in Georgia, the horrors of slavery as described meticulously by Fred Douglass (Charles Dentu-Nkrumah) as well as advocates of slavery represented by senator Stephen Douglas (Mick Cross).

"The speeches gave me the idea to write the script. I wanted to put these speeches together," Peart said. "Share it with a world that has long forgotten how barbaric and inhumane a chapter man can commit to the pages of history."

Lincoln played by John Staton delivers powerful speeches such as the famous "A house divided cannot stand." Lincol'n's speech eerily prescient after the recent, divisive election.

"I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free," he says. "I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided."

The final act has us following an intense patrol scout, bringing slave -hunter face to face with the slave he hunted, captured and returned to his master weeks earlier. This time our runaway is determined to evade the slave catcher's whip, shackles and gun.

"After the smoke has settled, an Egyptian soldier emerges, carrying the lifeless body of our hero Tongo through the halls of what appears to be a palace," Peart said. "A pharaoh and queen are sitting upon their throne. Africa was a different world."

The play's positive reaction from audiences prompted a decision to bring it back in a version for screen.

Northbound, written and directed by Marvalee Peart, starring Jessica Davis, Christopher Bones and Matthew Courson screens Monday, May 15, 2017 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., between 9th and 10th Streets.

Tkts are Free. Reservations required by emailing

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