African American author James Baldwin left a legacy of important works behind him. But Baldwin's life itself was turbulent. Even as he grew to know great men like Richard Wright, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the writer of "Go Tell It on the Mountain," The Amen Corner and Blues for Mr. Charlie struggled with issues of identity and acceptance as a black homosexual.
Actor Reggie Montgomery, whose memorable performances include roles in The Green Bird, Spunk and The Colored Museum, portrays Baldwin in Wesley Brown's play with music A Prophet Among Them, opening June 25 at Off-Broadway's Blue Heron Arts Center.
In A Prophet Among Them, Audelco Award-winner Brown reimagines Baldwin's life and revisiting its major events. Characters from Baldwin's novels confront him as does his father, the ghosts of Henry James and Harriet Beecher Stowe, civil rights activists and even his friends, including playwright Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun).
Also in the cast are Harvy Blanks (Tabletop), Dina Comolli, Perri Gaffney and Tom Titone.
Marie Thomas directs. Choreography is by Hope Clark with musical direction by Terrence Kennedy. Designing A Prophet Among Them are Jason Sturm (sets and lighting), Chan Alcindor (costumes) and Samuel C. Tressler (sound).
Performances began June 21 for a run through July 15. Tickets are $19. The Blue Heron Arts Center is located at 123 East 24th Street. For reservations, call (212) 332-0027.
— By Christine Ehren