Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck joins Tom for her weekly review of a regional theater production. Today, she spotlights the new production of Flyin' West now running at Arena Players in Baltimore, the oldest continuously operating African-American community theater in the United States.
Flyin’ West is a historical drama by playwright Pearl Cleage that premiered in Atlanta in 1992 and has been widely produced ever since. It's set in Nicodemus, Kansas in 1898, and tells a story from a little-known chapter in African American history. In the decades following the Civil War, many former slaves and their descendants took advantage of the federal Homestead Act, which opened up vast tracts of Western lands for people willing to settle in undeveloped and often difficult regions of the country. In the play, we meet a small group of African-American women who show great strength as they confront their harsh new environment, threats of domestic violence, and the enduring challenge of racism.
Directed at Arena Players by Rosiland Cauthen, Flyin' West features performances by Isaiah Evans, Keyonna LeShawn Hill, Yakima Rich, Paul Jon West, Lisa Wooten and Rosey Young.
Flyin' West continues at Arena Players through Sunday, March 24. Ticket info here.