Tampa Civil Rights Drama WHEN THE RIGHTEOUS TRIUMPH Makes World Premiere At Stageworks Theatre

The drama will be performed weekends from March 17 - April 2, 2023.

By: Mar. 22, 2023
Tampa Civil Rights Drama WHEN THE RIGHTEOUS TRIUMPH Makes World Premiere At Stageworks Theatre

Tampa's civil rights history takes center stage with the world premiere of "When the Righteous Triumph" at Stageworks Theatre. The drama will be performed weekends from March 17 - April 2, 2023.

Stageworks commissioned the play by Tampa playwright, Mark. E. Leib, about Tampa's civil rights lunch counter protests that took place at the F.W. Woolworth Department Store on the corner of North Franklin and East Polk Streets. Starting on February 29, 1960, dozens of students from Blake and Middleton High Schools attempted to be served at the all-white lunch counter. The protests lasted for three days and were followed by tense negotiations between Reverend A. Leon Lowry of the local NAACP, and downtown store owners. The protests were non-violent, thanks in part to the relationship between Tampa's Black leaders and then-mayor Julian B. Lane. But the opposition to them led to gunfire at a Tampa elementary school, a cross burning near Blake High School and an assassination attempt on Reverend Lowry and his wife.

The play centers around local heroes of the Tampa civil rights movement, including Reverend Lowry, Clarence Fort, who spearheaded the lunch counter sit-ins as president of the NAACP Youth Council, attorney Cody Fowler, who led negotiations between the Black community and white store owners, and Joseph Dasher, whose large protests threatened the NAACP's efforts.

Leib conducted exhaustive research and interviews with multiple local residents who were involved in the movement. He also discovered Tampa's connection to well-known civil rights events and personalities, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"When the Righteous Triumph" highlights Stageworks' ongoing commitment to supporting and performing new and original works by local artists.

"I think every theatre has a responsibility to support local playwrights," said Karla Hartley, Stageworks Theatre's Producing Artistic Director. "As a Tampa native, I have a great interest in sharing the story of our city. This play is an important look at a time in history when two communities were able to come together to solve a very serious problem. Tampa has a rich Civil Rights history and we want to make sure people know about it."

Added playwright Leib, "Stageworks has for many years shown itself to be attentive to human rights issues, and Karla Hartley was enthusiastic about 'Righteous' from the start. It's an amazing story that should never be forgotten. I'm honored that Stageworks commissioned me to tell it. "

Leib is an accomplished playwright, novelist, and USF professor whose work has been produced throughout Tampa Bay and Sarasota, as well as in New York and Chicago. In recent years, Stageworks has performed a number of his plays as staged readings including "Flower Child" and "You're Golden" and produced his full-length drama, "The Funny Thing is I Still Love This Place" in 2016.

"When the Righteous Triumph" is the third productions of Stageworks' milestone 40th Anniversary season. Performances take place on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Post-show discussions will be held after select performances with local lunch counter participants and civil rights leaders.

Tickets are available for purchase online by visiting www.StageworksTheatre.org. Season passes with three separate options, as well as several monthly memberships are also available Stageworks is located in the Channel District at 1120 East Kennedy Blvd, Suite 151, Tampa.

Stageworks is grateful to the law firm Cody Fowler founded, Fowler, White, Burnett - Attorneys at Law for their sponsorship of "When the Righteous Triumph" along with Cynthia Gandee Zinober and Peter Zinober, who marched for racial equality in the 60s.

Stageworks is Tampa's longest-running professional theatre company. Its mission is to ignite the human spirit and be a catalyst in eradicating intolerance through performing arts and education. In addition to a full season of performances, Stageworks provides acting and improvisation classes and workshops. Its partnership with Academy Prep brings drumming classes to students at three campuses to support their overall learning, and the theatre company has also provided its drumming and arts education curriculum to students in the juvenile justice system. Over the years, Stageworks has been honored with numerous local and regional awards for best theatre company, best actor, and best director. To learn more, visit Click Here or get social with us on Facebook and Instagram.

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