Tony Award winner Cleavant Derricks and the company of the play-with-music Pullman Porter Blues — seen earlier this fall in Seattle — began the second leg of the co-production with Seattle Repertory Theatre Nov. 23 at Arena Stage in Washington, DC.
Pullman Porter Blues is a commission of Seattle Rep's New Play Program. It is the first of the organization's commissions to debut on the main stage (it played Seattle Sept. 27-Oct. 28). Its DC run, at Arena Stage's Mead Center for American Theater's Kreeger Theater, continues to Jan. 6, 2013.
Derricks (Dreamgirls, Brooklyn) leads a cast that also includes E. Faye Butler, Emily Chisholm, James Patrick Hill, Lamar Lofton, Felicia Loud, Larry Marshall, Warner Miller, Richard Ziman, musical director/arranger Jmichael and Seattle musical icon Chic Street Man.
Here's how Pullman Porter Blues is billed: "It's 1937, and three generations of porters are hard at work on the luxurious Panama Limited train. Midwest blues songs flavor their journey from Chicago to New Orleans as the porters confront dark secrets from their past and tough truths about their future together. This captivating coming of age story is woven with iconic blues music and features a live band."
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.