Walcott's play was given a 1971 production by the Negro Ensemble Company. The work won an Obie Award as Distinguished Foreign Play. The story, according to a press spokesman, concerns an old man who "experiences a messianic vision to save all the peoples stolen and then lost in the Americas. His quest for a new world leads him on a mystic journey back to Africa, where he assumes the mantle of a great warrior chief with the power to put the western world itself on trial."
De Shields stopped the show each night in The Full Monty with his roof-raising song, "Big Black Man." He was nominated for a Tony Award for his work. His previous nomination was for 1997's Play On!. Other Broadway credits include The Wiz, Ain't Misbehavin' and 1984's André De Shields' Haarlem Nocturne, a revue which he conceived, wrote, directed, composed, choreographed and performed.
The West Indian Walcott is the author of several dozen plays, though in New York City he is perhaps best known for his ill-fated collaboration with Paul Simon, the musical The Capeman.
CTH's 2003-04 season began July 11 with a new staging of Shakespeare's Macbeth with Obie Award-winner Ty Jones. It ran through Aug. 3 at the CTH Courtyard Theater (645 St. Nicholas Avenue near 141st Street).
The remainder of the season features Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children Feb. 6-29, and Euripides' Trojan Women, April 2-25. For information, call (212) 868-4444.