Author James Baldwin is the subject of the New Federal Theatre production, Howard Simon's James Baldwin: A Soul of Fire, which has extended its run a week until May 7. The play opened Off-Broadway at the Henry Street Settlement on April 6. Simon died soon after, before he could see his play had received several positive notices.
Charles Reese stars as Baldwin, the African-American novelist, essayist, playwright and activist whose many works include "Giovanni's Room," "The Fire Next Time" and "Go Tell It on the Mountain." The play is set in 1963 at a meeting between Baldwin and then Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy -- an occasion that actually took place. Together, the two, along with Lorraine Hansberry, Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne, were to discuss race relations, an issue then very much in the air and on the Kennedy administration's agenda.
Also in the cast is Forrest McClendon.
Tickets are $25. The Henry Street Settlement is located at 466 Grand Street in Manhattan. For information, call (212) 353-1176.
--By Robert Simonson