Photo Flash: TURN ME LOOSE Begins Rehearsals at Arena Stage
Arena Stage presents the D.C.-area premiere of Turn Me Loose, Gretchen Law's intimate, no-holds-barred drama about the extraordinary and explosive life of Dick Gregory, who spent his later years in the nation's capital. Turn Me Loose chronicles Gregory's rise as the first Black comedian to expose audiences to racial comedy; in confronting bigotry head-on with biting humor and charm, Gregory turned activism into an art form. "Scorchingly funny and brilliant" (The New York Times), Turn Me Loose, directed by John Gould Rubin, runs September 6-October 14, 2018 in the Kreeger Theater.
As previously announced, Obie Award-winner and former stand-up comedian Edwin Lee Gibson will portray comedian-activist Dick Gregory. Gibson's 90-plus professional theater credits include off-Broadway's Battlefield by Peter Brook, Love and Information by Caryl Churchill and The Seven. Making his Arena debut, John Carlin joins the cast as Stand-up Comic/Emcee/Interviewer/Gospel Singer/Heckler/Cabbie, reprising the roles he originated.
"Dick Gregory's impact is more than being a socially conscious comedian," says Molly Smith. "He put his heart where his mouth was and used a talent for comedy as a platform for action - and change. He lived in our town and it's a joy to present a play about him."
"Dick Gregory - uniquely - sacrificed an extremely successful and lucrative career for activism," shares Rubin. "There are any number of prominent figures who use their celebrity in favor of a cause, but very few who relinquish fame and money for their beliefs. For this alone, he was a hero. I created this show when he was still alive to re-discover a hero living among us. Now, of course, to re-discover a hero. And he pursued injustice wherever his experience and imagination led him, so that, ultimately, he wielded his activism on behalf of a wide array of progressive issues, especially racial injustice. He was deeply intelligent, acutely attuned to the truth, unbendingly faithful to his beliefs and ridiculously funny. A hero by any standard."