PASADENA, CA -- Tony Colitti, Michelle Davison, Ariyan Johnson, Tina Lifford, Darryl Alan Reed and Michele Shay have been cast in Pearl Cleage's Flyin' West, opening Jan. 17, 1999 at the Pasadena Playhouse, announced director Shirley Jo Finney. Previews for the play begin Jan. 8, 1999.
Finney's creative team includes Gary Wissmann (set), Victor EnYun Tan (lights), Dana Woods (costumes), Mitchell Greenhill (original music & sound), Ed DeShae (production stage manager) and Elizabeth Kingl (stage manager).
Cleage's play is set in 1898 and deals with a group of female pioneers who settle together in the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas. "Surviving long, cold winters, standing up to threats to their town, four women redefine the western archetype as they fight for a new way of life in a better America," said a company spokesperson.
Cleage added, "The characters...are from the 1890s, but they're dealing with things that are still important to me as a black woman in the 1990s. As I researched various journals and diaries, it was empowering to me to sense the unbroken legacy of struggle black women have endured. I was amazed by how many groups of women went west without any men, bravely moving away from everything that was familiar to them, ready to start a new life."
A columnist for the Atlanta Tribune, Cleage is also an artistic associate of Just Us Theatre Company in Atlanta and her new book, "What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day," is currently on the New York Times bestseller list. Cleage's West flies through Feb. 21, 1999 at the Playhouse, 39 S. El Molino Ave. Call (800) 233-3123. For on-line information, contact www.pasadenaplayhouse.org.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent