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Arena Stage to Host Outdoor Performances of FANNIE LOU HAMER, SPEAK ON IT!

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This free, limited engagement runs October 23 – October 30, 2020.

Arena Stage to Host Outdoor Performances of FANNIE LOU HAMER, SPEAK ON IT!

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, in partnership with District Wharf and the Southwest Business Improvement District, has announced the production of Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak On It!. This 50-minute call to action is a captivating look at the impassioned freedom fighter who became one of the most powerful female voices of the civil and voting rights movements. Two-time Helen Hayes award-winner E. Faye Butler (Arena's Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, Ain't Misbehavin') takes on the title role as Fannie Lou Hamer. This abridged version of Cheryl L. West's (Arena's Akeelah and the Bee, Pullman Porter Blues) play Fannie, shines a light on the importance of exercising your right to vote in the 2020 election. Directed by Henry Godinez with musical arrangements by Felton Offard, Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak On It! runs October 23 - October 30, 2020 at Transit Pier Floating Stage at The Wharf (970 Wharf St. SW).

Admission is free and ticketed. Social distancing and masks are required. Each performance will be limited to 40 patrons with a limit of four tickets per group. Once seated, audience members will be asked to remain in their seats throughout the performance. All seats will be arranged with social distancing guidelines in place. Tickets will be available to the general public as of 4 p.m. on October 15.

Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak On It! features excerpts of Hamer's famed speeches and is infused with powerful spirituals, civil rights anthems and relevant political action.

"Fannie Lou Hamer is an unsung American hero. A giant leader of the voting and civil rights movements, she fought back at every turn for the rights of women and Black people. E. Faye Butler brings her to life with her luscious voice and I am so excited to have Fannie Lou Hamer: Speak On It! in Southwest Washington," shares Artistic Director Molly Smith.

During each performance, the League of Women Voters will be onsite to answer questions and provide voter registration information.

"Cheryl West's beautiful words and Felton Offard's arrangements will surely inspire all who hear them to action-vote! Fannie Lou Hamer battled through vicious attacks to vote to protect this right for all people-honor her actions by voting in November!" continued Smith.

Arena Stage is taking numerous steps to ensure the safety of artists, staff and audience members. Heightened cleaning procedures and sanitizing stations will be in place. Temperature checks will be required for all artists, staff and audience members. Masks will be mandatory. For a full performance schedule and more, visit here.

Arena Stage has successfully collaborated with the Government of the District of Columbia and Actors' Equity Association (AEA) to develop safety protocols for this production. Arena Stage extends special thanks to Mayor Bowser, DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency and DC Health for their guidance and support, along with DC Federation of Musicians AFM Local 161-710.

Fannie Lou Hamer, Speak On It! was commissioned and developed by Goodman Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre.


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