Theater Preview: THE BALLAD OF EMMETT TILL (Online Reading by Fountain Theatre’s Original Cast)

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by Tony Frankel on August 12, 2020

in Theater-Los Angeles,Virtual

ORIGINAL CAST OF THE BALLAD OF EMMETT TILL
REUNITES FOR ONLINE READING
ON 65TH ANNIVERSARY OF TILL’S MURDER
 

The original director and cast of the Fountain Theatre’s 2010 brilliant, moving production of The Ballad of Emmett Till by Ifa Bayeza will reunite for a live-streamed reading of the play on FridayAug. 28, which marks the 65th anniversary of Till’s murder. The reading will take place at 4 pm PT / 7 pm ET at Fountain Theatre. Tickets are $20.00.

In August, 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi when he was accused of whistling at Carolyn Bryant, a white woman who was a cashier at a grocery store. Four days later, Bryant’s husband Roy and his half-brother J.W. Milam kidnapped Till, beat him and shot him in the head. The men were tried for murder, but an all-white, male jury acquitted them. Till’s murder and open casket funeral galvanized the emerging Civil Rights movement. Bryant recanted her story in 2017, admitting that the court testimony she gave more than six decades prior was false and stating “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.”

Part history, part mystery and part ghost story, Bayeza’s lyrical integration of past, present, fact and legend turns Emmett’s story into a soaring work of music, poetic language and riveting theatricality. It was truly one of my favorite theatregoing experiences of the last decade. Bernard K. AddisonRico EAndersonLorenz ArnellAdenrele Ojo and Karen Malina White will reprise their roles for the online reading, with Shirley Jo Finney again at the helm.

“As America is now being challenged to face its racist history, I can think of no project more worthy,” says Fountain Artistic Director Stephen Sachs. “In addition to being the 65th anniversary of the murder, Aug. 28 also marks the 57th Anniversary of the historic March on Washington in 1963, and a 2020 march on Washington is being planned this year, on that date, as well.”

photos of original show by Ed Krieger

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