Midwest Theatre Collaboration rings in THE GREAT WHITE HOPE in an effort to pardon Jack Johnson (Cleveland/Akron) — Karamu , The Great White Hope — AAPEX

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Midwest Theatre Collaboration rings in THE GREAT WHITE HOPE in an effort to pardon Jack Johnson (Cleveland/Akron)

Jack Johnson

Midwest Theatre Collaboration rings in THE GREAT WHITE HOPE during a time of "hope and accountability" and pardon possibilities for Jack Johnson.

Three Ohio theatres are the only theatres throughout the country producing "The Great White Hope" during the 2009/2010 season in a collaborative effort; Karamu House and Ensemble Theatre (Cleveland) and Weathervane Play House (Akron). The play was first produced at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C. in 1967 and moved to Broadway. It had a revival in the year 2000 at the Arena, celebrating the theatre's 40th anniversary. It was last staged at Karamu House in 1975, under the direction of the late Lucia Colombi, with Karamu alum James Pickens Jr., as Scipio.

By Howard Sackler

February 12 – March 7, 2010 (Karamu Jelliffe)
April 1 – 4/18, 2010 (Weathervane Playhouse, Akron)

Set in the early 1900s, The Great White Hope is loosely based on the life of African American boxer Jack Johnson, renamed Jack Jefferson in the story. After becoming the first Negro heavyweight champion of the world in 1908, the play follows his tumultuous career and explores the nature of racism and racial conflict in American society. In collaboration with Weathervane Playhouse and Ensemble Theatre comes one of the most dynamic plays ever written for the American stage. The Great White Hope won the Pulitzer Prize, Tony and Drama Desk Award for Best Drama. Once it closes at Karamu, the production and cast moves to Weathervane Playhouse.

The collaborative theatres has cast Anthony E. Nickerson-El as Jack Jeffries, last seen on the Karamu stage as Mister in Karamu's 2006 production of "King Hedley II" and Equity actress Ursula Cataan as Ellie Bachman. Ms. Cataan was recently seen in "The Clean House" at the Cleveland Play House. Cleveland Jewish News did a feature on her in 2008. ttp://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/articles/2008/09/19/features/arts/earts0919.txt

IN THE NEWS CNN: Pardon for black boxer jailed for interracial dating waits on Obama http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/10/19/boxer.pardon/index.html Mon October 19, 2009
By Alan Silverleib CNN
Jack Johnson's 1910 defeat of Jim Jeffries, the"Great White Hope," sparked riots.

CBS News: Congress Approves Jack Johnson Pardon First Black Heavyweight Champion Imprisoned in 1913 for Relationship with White Woman http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/07/30/sportsline/main5197355.shtml. Jack Johnson, a native of Galveston, Texas, won the 1908 world heavyweighttitle after police in Australia stopped his 14-round match against the severely battered Canadian world champion, Tommy Burns- leading to a search for a "Great White Hope" who could beat Johnson.

Terrence Spivey
Karamu House
2355 East 89th
Cleveland, OH 44106

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