Kenny Leon, who directed the award-winning revival of A Raisin in the Sun, will direct the Oct. 6 reading of Clare Coss' play, which is being presented by the Culture Project at the Judson Memorial Church in Manhattan. Show time is 8 PM.
The evening will also boast stage veteran Kathleen Chalfant (Angels in America, Wit) and Linda Powell (On Golden Pond; Wilder, Wilder, Wilder) as well as a special appearance by the Middle Collegiate Church Gospel Choir. Proceeds from the reading will benefit Middle Collegiate Church's social justice programs.
The play, which concerns the brutal 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi, is a "sobering and gripping story of race relations in the Jim Crow south, and offers reflections on bigotry and the need to heal the divided soul of our country that are all too relevant today," according to press notes.
Till, according to Culture Project, was 14 when he "rode south to visit his cousins in the Mississippi Delta, at that time a rigidly segregated police state. White supremacists ruled, with fear and anger paramount. Accused of wolf-whistling at Carolyn Bryant, a 21 year old white woman storekeeper, he was abducted three days later at midnight from his great uncle's home. Tortured, murdered, and thrown in the Tallahatchie River weighted down by a hundred pound cotton gin fan, his murderers were later acquitted of any crime. After Emmett's mother insisted on an open casket so the world could witness the horrors inflicted on her son, a floodlight of attention gave new inspiration to the Civil Rights Movement. Three months later in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks said Emmett Till was on her mind when she refused to move to the back of the bus."
The Judson Memorial Church is located at 55 Washington Square South (corner of Thompson Street). Tickets, priced $15 (students with valid ID), $30 (general admission) and $150 (patron ticket, includes reception with the cast), are available by visiting www.cultureproject.org or by calling (212) 352-3101.