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John Brown (Gordon Goodman)
and J. E.B. Stuart (William
Boise Holmes as John Copeland
and Starletta DuPois as his
mother, Delilah Copeland.
T The Journals
I of Osborne P.
I Anderson I
? Theatre - Milton
I Rhodes Center
? for the Arts
I Tues, Aug. 4 8 p.m.
I Wed, Aug. 5 3 p.m.
I Wed, Aug. 5 8 p.m. '
I Thurs, Aug. 6 3 p.m.
NBTF favorite Ted Lange is back with another one of
his dynamic historical plays.
Festival audiences will be among the first to see
"The Journals of Osborne P. Anderson." Lange, the writer
and director, debuted the play, via his Torrance, Calif.-based
Lange Productions, just two months ago in Los Angeles.
Critics and theater-goers agreed that Lange has hit another
one out of the ballpark with "Osborne," which spodights one
of American history's most contentious episodes: abolitionist
John Browns bloody attempt to incite a slave revolt, an act
many credit with sparking the Civil War.
Lange is a history buff who does painstaking research,
including site visits, before he puts pen to paper. His previous
plays include "Lady Patriot," about Elizabeth Van Lew, a
slave in the household of Confederate President Jefferson
Davis who spied for the Union; and "George Washingtons Boy'
which revolves around the relationship between the nation's first
president and his favorite slave, Billy Lee.
"1 call myself a footnote historian," Lange recendy told the
entertainment site AXS. "What I've been doing for the last
seven years is finding these African-American heroes who
have participated in American history but are usually just a
footnote because the historians are white and they kind of
brush over them. They don't give them what I believe is their
due regarding their participation in American history."
Lange relied heavily on the writings of Osborne Perry
Anderson, the only black among Brown's group of insurgents
who escaped the gallows, for the play, which begins with
Brown, a white preacher who believed that slavery should
have ended 100 years earlier with the American Revoludon,
seizing weapons and the inhabitants of a Harpers Ferry, Va?
farmhouse. His plan is to go from house to house, fomenting
a revolution among slaves as he collects weapons and kills or
holds hostage anyone who stands in his way. Lewis William
Washington, the great-grand nephew of George Washington,
was among Brown's hostages and a key witness in Brown's
Lange's riveting play takes the audience from the revolt to
the courtroom to Browns ultimate fate. The play premiered
with an ensemble cast that included Bruce Cervi (Lewis
Washington), Adam Clark (Shields Green), Steve Ducey
(Hazlet-Understudy), Jason Galloway (Albert Hazlett),
Kareem Grimes (Dangerfield Newby), Gordon Goodman
(John Brown), J.D. Hall (Frederick Douglass), Boise Holmes
(John Anthony Copeland), Thomas Anthony Jones (Osborne
P. Anderson), Daniel Kucan (John Avis), Drew McAuliffe
(Judge Richard Parker), Paul Messinger (James Doyle/Lawson
Botts), Jeff Murray (Lewis Washington - understudy),
Chrystee Pharris (Harriet Newby), Michael Proctor (John
Wilkes Booth), William Reinbold (Jeb Stuart/George Sterns)
and Stephen Spiegel (Silas Soule, Drury Doyle). NBTF
favorite Starletta DuPois, best known for her work in films
like "Waiting to Exhale," is also one of the players, masterfully
portraying John Copeland's mother, Delilah.
Lange, of course, is best known as an actor. His role as
"Love Boat" bartender Isaac Washington propelled him to
international stardom. These days, he is making a name for
himself behind the scenes In addition to his award-winning
plays, he has authored several books and directed episodes
of popular sitcoms like "Dharma and Greg," "Moesha"
and "Eve." ?