Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division escort the Little Rock Nine students into the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.

AART's New Season

African American Repertory Theatre has three titles for the remainder of its 2011-'12 season.

published Monday, November 14, 2011

The fourth season for DeSoto's African American Repertory Theater has already begun, with the recent production of August Wilson's Two Trains Running. Now, we have the three titles for the remainder of the season, and they're all in 2012.

The shows, which are performed at the Corner Theatre in DeSoto, include two regional premieres and a revival that will star AART co-founder and award-winning actress Irma P. Hall.

Here's the lowdown (description is by AART):

Free Man of Color 
by Charles Smith

Feb. 3-26, 2012 (regional premiere)

Following its 2004 Chicago world premiere, Free Man of Color won the Jeff Award for Best New Work. It is a powerful historical drama, based on the true story of John Newton Templeton, a freed slave who became the first Black to attend Ohio University. Helped and mentored by the university president, Templeton graduated in 1828, 35 years before the end of slavery. The play portrays an increasingly independent, strong-minded Black man struggling to define himself in the arena of race, culture, and the tension between education and assimilation in America. (Not to be confused with John Guare's 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist A Free Man of Color.)


Jar the Floor by Cheryl West 

March 23-April 15, 2012

Starring Irma P. Hall

A quartet of black women spanning four generations makes up this heartwarming dramatic comedy. The four, plus the Caucasian friend of the youngest, come together to celebrate the matriarch's 90th birthday. It's a wild party, one that is a lovable lunatic glance at the exhilarating challenge of growing old amidst the exasperating trials of growing up.


Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals and adapted for the stage by Eisa Davis

May 25-June 10, 2012 (regional premiere)

Melba Pattillo was 15 when she and eight other black students integrated the prestigious Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957. They became known as the "Little Rock Nine." Melba's story shows surprising strength for a young girl. She wanted access to the lunch counter at the five-and-dime, to the "whites only" ladies rooms, to public water fountains, to the auditorium so she could see Elvis Presley, and, most of all, to a good education. Her memoir, Warriors Don't Cry, is a chilling account of the tumultuous year that changed her life and our nation's history. The stage play is a searing one-woman, one-hour adaptation of the Melba Pattillo Beals memoir by Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Eisa Davis.


For more info on subscriptions and tickets, visit www.aareptheater.comThanks For Reading

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AART's New Season
African American Repertory Theatre has three titles for the remainder of its 2011-'12 season.
by Mark Lowry

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