Howard University Presents "A Soldier's Play"

Howard University | 9/23/2010, 4:32 p.m.


Howard University's Department of Theatre Arts presents A Soldier's Play, written by Charles Fuller, directed by Emmy Award Winning Actor Al Freeman, Jr. A Soldier's Play will be performed in the Ira Aldridge Theater, October 6 - 9, 13 - 16, 2010 at 7:30pm; October 9, 16, 2010 at 2:30pm. A 60th Anniversary Gala Night Reception is scheduled for October 9, 2010 at 6:30pm.

A Soldier's Play is the story of America in the era of World War II. The country is beginning to rebound from The Grand Depression of the 30s, the War in Europe rages on and our American armies continue to fight on two fronts.

Louisiana, 1944, a black Master Sergeant, Vernon C. Waters, is found shot to death. Initially, the suspects are the Ku Klux Klan; later, two white officers stationed at the base fall under suspicion. Capt. Richard Davenport, a tough black military lawyer is sent to conduct an investigation to find out the truth. While statutory segregation prevailed in the Jim Crow South and Armed Forces, the all-black U.S. Army regiment eager to fight for justice and their country in World War II was refused battle overseas by the white military hierarchy.

In a time and place where a black officer is unprecedented and bitterly resented, Davenport must combat the many discriminatory obstacles placed before him to dissuade his in depth review of the case. A Soldier's Play explores the microcosm and legacy of segregation and how its viral effects could be said to still resonate in the era of Obama. James E. Cheek, Jr., will portray the poignant role of Sergeant Vernon C. Waters. Cheek is the son of former Howard University President, Dr. James E. Cheek, Sr.

60th Anniversary Season activities include a special symposium The Politics of Black Identity in the Age of Obama, presented in conjunction with the production, September 28th, 3:30-5:30pm, Andrew Rankin Chapel on Howard University's campus. Pulitzer prizewinning playwright Charles H. Fuller, Jr. will be in attendance to jump start the round table discussion on some of the many themes of A Soldier's Play, to include Institutional, Statutory and Intercultural Racism, the theory of Eugenics in the 20th Century, and the state of the Black WWII Soldier.

Eminent writers and scholars Dr. Daryl Harris, Chair, Political Science Dept., Dr. Jules Harrell, Psychology Dept., Professor Lorenzo Morris, Political Science and Dr. Greg Carr, Chair Afro-American Studies Dept., will serve as panelists.

Award winning Actor and Director Al Freeman, Jr., is a Professor in the Acting program at Howard University. He is mostly recognized for his portrayal of Police Captain Ed Hall on the ABC soap opera, One Life to Live, a role he played from 1972 to 1985, with recurring roles in 1988 and 2000. He won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for that role, the first African-American actor to be so honored.

He was also a director of One Life to Live, and was one of the first, if not the first, African-American to direct a soap opera. Freeman has made appearances in many films, such as My Sweet Charlie, Finian's Rainbow, and Malcolm X, and television series such as The Cosby Show, Law & Order, Homicide: Life on the Street and The Edge of Night. After leaving One Life to Live, Freeman appeared in the motion picture Down in the Delta.

His Broadway theatre credits include Look to the Lilies, Blues for Mister Charlie, and Medea. His portrayal of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad in the motion picture Malcolm X earned him the 1995 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. He had previously played Malcolm X in the 1979 miniseries, Roots: The Next Generations.

A SOLDIER'S PLAY previews October 5, 2010 at 7:30pm. Opening/Press Night is October 6, 2010 at 7:30pm. Performances are scheduled for October 6-9, 13-16, 2010 at 7:30pm, October 9, 16, 2010 at 2:30pm. Tickets are $15.00 general admission and $10.00 for students/senior citizens. Tickets may be purchased at the Ira Aldridge Theater Box Office or by calling (202) 806-7700. The Gala Night Reception and Show, October 9 at 6:30pm, $20.00 ticket. Additional information about A SOLDIER'S PLAY can be obtained by calling (202) 806-7050.

WHERE: Howard University, Ira Aldridge Theater
DATES: October 6-9, 13-16, 2010 at 7:30pm, October 9, 16, 2010 at 2:30pm
DIRECTOR: Al Freeman, Jr.
GUEST ARTIST: James E. Cheek, Jr.
DESIGNERS: Set Designer, Michael C. Stepowany; Light Designer, George Epting; Costume Designer, Reggie Ray; Sound Designer, TW Starnes; Props Artisan; Greg Jackson

PERFORMANCE AND TICKET PRICES: $15.00 general admission; $10.00 students and senior citizens (with valid ID)
GALA NIGHT RECEPTION & SHOW: $20.00 general admission (October 9, 2010 - 6:30pm)

GROUPS: Discount rates are available for Groups of 20 or more, contact Denise Saunders Thompson at (202) 806-7050.
ACCESSIBILITY: Accessible seating available by reservation
LOCATION: 2455 6th Street, NW (located next door to Cramton Auditorium on Howard University's campus)
INFORMATION: Tickets (202) 806-7700; Department of Theatre Arts (202) 806-7050; Fax (202) 806-9193
WEBSITE: www.howard.edu/collegefinearts/theatre
EMAIL: ddsaunders@howard.edu