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Award winning Director with 50 years of work in theater, Arthur French, believes that a 71 year old play, DEEP ARE THE ROOTS, is still relevant today when it comes to race relations.
Out of the Box Theatre Company is set to produce
Deep Are the Roots, directed by French
May 4th through 8th, West End Theatre
April, 2016…Arthur French is a recipient of 2015 prestigious Paul Robeson Citation Award. The award, established in honor of the late actor and Civil Rights activist Paul Robeson, is meant to recognize individuals and organizations that best exemplify the principles by which Robeson lived his life; namely, a dedication to freedom of expression and respect for human dignity regardless of race or nationality.
French is also the recipient of a 1997 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence and a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actor, with which he was presented for his performance in Two Trains Running at the Signature Theater Company in 2006.
Arthur French initially thought the story in Deep Are the Roots, the play he is directing for a Out of The Box Theatre, was just an old chestnut. He changed his mind.
“This play tackles race relations in post-World War II and was written 71 years ago, yet it is not an old chestnut which was my original thought. Race relations is just as relevant now as it was when this play opened on Broadway. We are still tackling issues surrounding race in our country and this play serves as a reminder of that, crystallizing how it still remains a dominant challenge today,” said Arthur French.
During the week of May 4th through 8th, Out of The Box, will meet the topic of race relations head on with the production of Deep Are the Roots, a play highlighting segregation in the Deep South, post-World War II.
Deep Are the Roots will be performed at the West End Theater at 263 West 86th Street, New York, NY. The performances will be Wednesday through Friday, 8 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Deep Are the Roots, written by Arnaud d’Usseau and James Gow, made its Broadway debut in 1945 under direction of Elia Kazan and ran 477 performances.
Decorated African-American U.S. Army lieutenant Brett Charles comes home and attempts to re-enter his small community in the Deep South at the end of World War II. Having been in command overseas – respected and treated as an equal – Brett resists being “put in his place” in his segregated hometown. Although a daughter of a conservative U.S. Senator, Alice Langdon, believes in Brett and hopes and encourages him to go to college in the north, Brett wants to stay in his hometown, looking to make a difference. Brett and Genevra, Alice’s younger sister, fall in love as the play’s story unfolds, dividing the family with those who still support and go along with segregation and those looking to stand up to it.
Deep Are the Roots’ playwrights, Arnaud d’Usseau and James Gow, often worked together, having produced Tomorrow The World, a thriller, and The Legend of Sarah, a comedy.
D’Usseau appeared before the McCarthy committee in 1953 and was blacklisted as a Communist sympathizer. He refused to testify before the Committee and eventually moved to Europe, writing screenplays under pseudonyms. He returned to the United States and taught at New York University. Gow was also a screenwriter, producing Moonlight in Hawaii, Bunker Bean, Murder on a Bridle Path, and I Dream Too Much.
The production’s music, under the direction of Lin Snider, will consist of a small ensemble singing familiar popular songs from the south with piano, banjo, and guitar. Some of the songs will be “Oh, Susanna,” “Tennesee Waltz” and “Carolina in the Morning.”
The cast for this Equity Showcase production includes Jessica Bonder (Genevra Langdon), Damien Bosco* (Deputy Bob Izay), Jocelyn Druyan* (Alice Langdon),
Jeffrey Feller (Deputy Chuck Warren), Kelly Gilmore (Roy Maxwell), James Harter* (Senator Langdon), Grant Machan* (Howard Merrick), Gloria Sauvé* (Bella Campbell), David Lloyd Walters* (Sheriff Serkin), Augustus Wilson (Brett Campbell), Cooki Winborn* (Honey), . The six musical performers include Susan Case,* Eric Benjamin Gordon (banjo), Colleen Kennedy,* William Lyon Lee, Aaron Scott*, and Sally Sherwood,* with musical director Lin Snider* on piano. Stage Manager: Grace Peñaranda*.
*Appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association
Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2530393, or by calling Out of the Box office at 347-609-3212.