For some reason this time of year always seems to be brimming with politics. Of course, the spillover from the election has already hit Broadway with Gore Vidal's The Best Man. Now it makes its way to smaller theatres, as the New Federal Theatre presents Jay Broad's Conflict of Interest playing at the Henry Street Settlement's Harry De Jur Playhouse Oct. 27-Nov. 30. The production officially opens on Nov. 2.
Conflict of Interest, about a U.S. President who tries to remove an African-American Supreme Court Justice stars Al Freeman, Jr., Ellen Holly and Earle Hyman. Freeman, Jr. (Blues for Mr. Charlie , "Malcolm X") portrays the Supreme Court Justice Joe Balding. Holly, probably most known for her role as Carla on the soap "One Life To Live," plays his wife. Hyman, of "The Cosby Show" fame, who most recently played in the Alley Theatre's premiere of Edward Albee's The Play About the Baby in Houston, will play a U.S. Senator.
Conflict had its debut at DC's Arena Stage in the 1971-72 season. It was that production that NFT founder and artistic director Woodie King, Jr., saw and decided, almost 30 years later, to bring back. Playwright-director Jay Broad told Playbill On-Line that when approached by King with the idea of the revival, he actually hadn't read it in over 15 years. However, he noted, "How little the actual thinking, about how government and politics work, has changed [since the '70s]. He added "It's probably more extreme today, in terms of what people would do to stay in power ."
Performances of Conflict can be seen at the Harry De Jur, 466 Grand Street (near Pitt St.) on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, through Nov. 30. For tickets call (212) 279-4200 or visit the NFT Homepage.
-- by Ernio Hernandez