Two of America's literary icons—Zelda Fitzgerald and Richard Wright—connect in Willard Simms' Exiles From Paradise, which opens Jan. 19 for a six-week run at The American Renegade Theatre in NoHo. The cast includes Tommy Hicks, Elizabeth Karr, Joshua Campbell and E.P. McKnight. Simms directs.
Simms' provocative drama pits Fitzgerald and Wright (author of "Native Son") in the America of the 20s and 30s. Both are Southerners, and both are struggling to escape discrimination, stereotyping and demonization.
Simms has worked as a playwright and/or director at the Denver Center Theatre, the Long Wharf Theatre, New Orleans Rep, Edinburgh Arts Theatre and the American Jewish Theatre. He is the author of eleven published plays.
Simms and his partner, Rania Pallad, recently formed The Theatre of Will, a non-profit, educational production company, to foster the integration of arts, history and education throughout southern California. The company's inaugural season at American Renegade will offer dramatizations of charismatic figures from American history who have played a defining role in influencing the direction of world culture.
American Renegade Theatre is located at 11136 Magnolia Blvd. For tickets and information call (818) 763-1834. — By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent