Frank S. Jenkins' new play Driving While Black in Beverly Hills will have its world premiere at the Matrix Theatre on Feb. 17, directed by Lynn Hamilton. The run is through March 25.
Set in 1970, Jenkins' play is about Anthony Nash, a man who has beaten the odds. An African-American, he's worked his way out of the ghetto and into The American Dream, with a top-level Federal job, a hilltop home in Beverly Hills, a college-educated wife, son and daughter. Yes, Anthony Nash had it all—until the day he was stopped by the police, dragged out of his car, handcuffed, verbally abused and thrown into jail. His crime? He was Driving while Black in Beverly Hills.
Hamilton's cast is headed by Felton Perry as Nash and Lillian Lehman as Ceila Nash. Also featured are Alex Dean, Brian White, Gilbert Glenn Brown, John Wesley, James Kier and Al LeBrun.
Jenkins has authored four books of poetry. His debut collection, "I Didn't Start out to be a Poet," was later turned into a stage play by East West Players under the title My World. A member of Blacksmyth's, the Mark Taper Forum's playwright development program, Jenkins' first play, Nobody, about the legendary vaudevillian Bert Williams, was mounted at the Harmon Theatre.
Hamilton is making her directorial debut. She currently plays the recurring role of Judge Fulton on ABC's "The Practice."Matrix Theatre is located at 7657 Melrose Ave. For tickets and information call (323) 655- TKTS.
— By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent