Obie Award winner and former stand-up comedian Edwin Lee Gibson will portray comedian-activist Dick Gregory, who spent his later years in the nation's capital. John Carlin is cast as Stand-up Comic/Emcee/Interviewer/Gospel Singer/Heckler/Cabbie.
John Gould Rubin will direct the production, chronicling Gregory’s rise as the first Black comedian to expose audiences to racial comedy.
“Dick Gregory’s impact is more than being a socially conscious comedian,” says Artistic Director Molly Smith. “He put his heart where his mouth was and used a talent for comedy as a platform for action—and change. He lived in our town and it’s a joy to present a play about him.”
“Dick Gregory—uniquely—sacrificed an extremely successful and lucrative career for activism,” adds Rubin. “There are any number of prominent figures who use their celebrity in favor of a cause, but very few who relinquish fame and money for their beliefs. For this alone, he was a hero. I created this show when he was still alive to re-discover a hero living among us. Now, of course, to re-discover a hero. And he pursued injustice wherever his experience and imagination led him, so that, ultimately, he wielded his activism on behalf of a wide array of progressive issues, especially racial injustice. He was deeply intelligent, acutely attuned to the truth, unbendingly faithful to his beliefs and ridiculously funny. A hero by any standard.”
The production will also have scenic design by Christopher Barreca, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Stephen Strawbridge, sound design by Leon Rothenberg, and casting by Jack Doulin and Victor Vazquez. The stage manager is Erin Cass, and the assistant stage manager is Christi B Spann.
Turn Me Loose is presented in association with John Legend, Get Lifted Film Company, Mike Jackson, The Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, Beth Hubbard, The Private Theatre, Eric Falkenstein, SimonSays Entertainment, Jamie Cesa, and Jana Babatunde-Bey.