Booker T. Washington's 'Character Building' Adapted As Musical at American Ensemble Theatre

American Ensemble Theater announces a full production of a one-man musical for school and adult audiences adapted for the stage by Martin Blank: Character Building by Booker T. Washington. Performances are Saturdays, February 3, 10, 17, and 24 at 1 pm at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 7th St., SE, Washington, DC 20003. All tickets are pay what you will, and 100 percent benefits Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and their tuition assistance program, which allows low-income and homeless children the opportunity to make art! For tickets, call CHAW at (202) 547-6839. More information is online at

"This one-man musical is adapted from talks Dr. Washington gave his students at Tuskegee University," stated AET Artistic Director Martin Blank. "What Dr. Washington gives is timeless wisdom for people of any age about how to have a productive life. AET is excited to present Character Building as part of Black History Month and to benefit CHAW, which does amazing community-based work, including bringing arts education to young people."

Dr. Booker T. Washington (author) (April 5, 1856 - November 14, 1915) was an American educator, orator, author, and advisor to presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the dominant leader in the African-American community. He was from the last generation of African-American leaders born into slavery and became the leading voice of the former slaves and their descendants. His base was the Tuskegee Institute, a historically African-American college in Alabama. To address education needs, Washington enlisted his philanthropic network to build thousands of public schools for African-American children in the South.

Martin Blank (playwright/adaptor) is the author of ten plays, most recently, the spy thriller The Law of Return, which was produced Off-Broadway. He has served as Artistic Associate for the American Place Theatre, New York City, as well as Literary Manager, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Founding Artistic Director, Theater J. He attended the University of Maryland and the Yale School of Drama.

Greg Burgess (Booker T. Washington) is a member of Chesapeake Shakespeare Company's Resident Acting Troupe and was recently seen as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. His other roles include Aaron in Titus Andronicus, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, and Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Next up is the CSC production of The Winter's Tale. Greg's training includes: The Martin Blank Studio, The Shakespeare Theater, and Howard University.

Scott Farquhar (music director/pianist) is a freelance music professional and actor. He is the resident music director for Chesapeake Shakespeare Company and has also worked with Vagabond Players, Prometheus Radio Theatre, McDonogh School, and many others. Several recordings of his piano music are available on iTunes, and sheet music is available from Sheet Music Plus. He earned a bachelor's degree in music composition from Towson University and recently earned a master's in nonprofit management from Notre Dame of Maryland University.

American Ensemble Theater's mission is to present an eclectic mix of American plays with low-cost tickets. To seek out and perform what the playwright intended. To create a safe and joyous ensemble in which theater artists can thrive. In sum, to serve a play, its artists, and the public. Artistic Director and playwright Martin Blank served as Artistic Associate for American Place Theatre in New York City, as well as Literary Manager for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and founding Artistic Director of Theater J. Info at

The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) is a community-based, not-for-profit organization founded in 1972. The Workshop facility includes a dance studio (which doubles as a recital hall), paint studio, black box theater, art gallery, complete ceramics/pottery studio, a photography darkroom (the only "open" darkroom in DC), private music instruction studios, and business offices. The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is located in a racially and economically diverse neighborhood. Students, artists, faculty, audiences, and staff come from diverse communities throughout the Washington area-and especially from Capitol Hill. CHAW is continually evolving to meet the needs of the community.

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