Though this year's Performing Arts Festival in Bermuda offers only one theatrical event, it has some estimable star-power: Ruby Dee, Arthur French and Ella Joyce. They're all starring in Ron Milner's comedy of upper-middle class black life, Checkmates, running Jan. 20-22.
Dee, now readying her solo, Nerve, for Off-Broadway, starred in Checkmates' Broadway mounting in 1988. She was also the original Ruth in A Raisin in the Sun, Lutiebelle in husband Ossie Davis' Purlie Victorious, Lena in Fugard's Boesman And Lena, and Mary Tyrone in an Ace Award-winning television production of Long Day's Journey Into Night. Augmenting her numerous film and televison credits, Dee has also written children's books, one of which received the 1989 Literary Guild Award.
French appeared in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Death of a Salesman, Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death and The Iceman Cometh. Joyce, from Two Trains Running, is best known for playing Eleanor on TV's "Roc." Cedric Pendleton rounds out the cast.
Milner's other plays include Who's Got His Own, What The Wine Sellers Buy and Jazz Set.
Also at the festival will be a variety of dance and music events from Britain, Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere. All theatrical performances take place at City Hall Theatre in Hamilton. -- By David Lefkowitz