Around this time last year I was asked to support a small Off Broadway production called Black Man Rising, the stellar play is written by James Chapman. When Lawrence Floyd, a fellow acting colleague, who was cast in the show asked me to contribute I wasn't familiar with the plot, theme or other cast members in the show. Lawrence is a professional actor who is serious about honing his craft, I knew he wouldn't be part of a half-ass production, so I was happy to donate. As a gift I received to complimentary tickets to the show.
I asked my girlfriend Catherine to attend with me. It was a hot and sticky New York City day and the air conditioning (AC) in the theatre's hallway wasn't working. There was a long line of people waiting to see the play. We all were profusely sweating. It was a long wait because another performance was wrapping up in the same theatre. I was a bit peeved, but told myself "I should be used to this, ish happens all the time in theatre world." It was a relief to get into the theatre because the AC was working. It was a packed house, not one empty seat. Production staff had to bring in a few extra chairs to squeeze some folks in.
Like many Off Broadway theatres, it was a small black-box stage. There was no set, just a few blocks. It was plain, but the stage didn't need the immaculate set dressings that come with big budgets and wealthy investors. The actors brought the drama and engaged me from the first line spoken and had me on the edge of my seat until the end of the play. Kudos go out to the director who let each actor shine in his own unique way, yet bring sustenance to their role. I don't want to give the story away, but Black Man Rising is a dynamic play that looks at the lives of Black men and puts you in the middle of their struggles, heartbreak, and triumphs. It's a history lesson on the Black man; you see where he has been and follow him on a journey to where is going.
The play was a hit and received great acclaim and won four awards from the Audience Development Committee, Inc. (AUDELCO). AUDELCO was established in 1973 by the late Vivian Robinson to honor excellence in New York African American Theatre through presentation of Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition Awards. Black Man Rising reinforces why I love theatre and do what I can to be a part of it whether I'm on the stage or behind the scenes.
It is with pleasure and excitement that I report that the production is back in NYC for a second run beginning July 22, 2009 and ending August 1, 2009. Tickets are only $18, that's a steal. To purchase tickets got to http://www.theatremania.com/ and for more information on Black Man Rising, visit the website at http://www.blackmanrisingtheshow.com/. After the NYC the production wraps, the production will move to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for the National Black Theatre Festival.
This play will be talked about for years to come, so don't miss the movement, be a part of it.