Photo Flash: TURN ME LOOSE Celebrates Opening Night at Arena Stage

Arena Stage's 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 recently celebrated opening night. Check out the photos below!

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.

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/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."

Tickets may be purchased online at arenastage.org by phone at 202-488-3300 or at the Sales Office at 1101 Sixth St., SW, D.C.

Photo Credit: Cameron Whitman

Photo Flash: TURN ME LOOSE Celebrates Opening Night at Arena Stage
Executive Director Edgar Dobie, Director John Gould Rubin, Edwin Lee Gibson (Dick Gregory), Artistic Director Molly Smith, John Carlin (Stand-up Comic/Emcee/Interviewer/Heckler/Cabbie) and Playwright Gretchen Law

Photo Flash: TURN ME LOOSE Celebrates Opening Night at Arena Stage
Free Benjamin, Paula Cenac Gregory, Edwin Lee Gibson (Dick Gregory), Lillian Gregory, John Carlin (Stand-up Comic/Emcee/Interviewer/Heckler/Cabbie), AyAnna Gregory and Miss Gregory

Photo Flash: TURN ME LOOSE Celebrates Opening Night at Arena Stage
Executive Director Edgar Dobie, Producer Brian Moreland, Artistic Director Molly Smith and Kenan Scott II

Photo Flash: TURN ME LOOSE Celebrates Opening Night at Arena Stage
Christian Gregory, Lillian Gregory and Edwin Lee Gibson (Dick Gregory)

Photo Flash: TURN ME LOOSE Celebrates Opening Night at Arena Stage
Edwin Lee Gibson (Dick Gregory) and Lillian Gregory

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