Queens College Theatre Dept. Explores Civil Rights Era in Freedom High May 9-20

News   Queens College Theatre Dept. Explores Civil Rights Era in Freedom High May 9-20
Adam Kraar's Freedom High, a new play that touches on New Yorkers' work in the Civil Rights movement, will be seen at two venues in Queens in a production by the theatre department of Queens College.

The staging directed by Susan Einhorn plays May 9-20, appearing first at Queens College in Flushing and then for two days at Queens Theatre in the Park.

"Inspired by actual events, Freedom High takes place in June 1964, when three Civil Rights workers (Andrew Goodman, a 20-year-old theatre student at Queens College among them), were murdered by white racists in Mississippi," according to production notes. "The play focuses on a week when black Civil Rights veterans trained hundreds of white volunteers to register blacks in Mississippi to vote – a week that was transformed by news of the disappearance of the three Civil Rights workers."

Rita Schwerner, the wife of murdered Civil Rights worker Mickey Schwerner, graduated from Queens College. After Mickey's disappearance, she became a fierce voice demanding a federal investigation. Rita Schwerner is among the characters portrayed in Freedom High.

Freedom High's cast features Farin Schlussel, Marvin Duverne, Joel Bernard, Marsha Reid, Ugo Eze, Elyse Price, Nick Radu, Jaysmar Bastien, Dominick Magnotta, Matthew Wood, Sonia Martins, Matthew Pimble, Jenna Guercio, Nick Riznyk, Monica Barczak and Amanda Shafran.

The creative team includes set designer Meghan E. Healey, lighting designer Anjeanette Stokes and costume designer Alexandra Ruiz. Adam Kraar's plays include New World Rhapsody (Manhattan Theatre Club commission); The Spirit House (finalist, Humana Festival; premiered at Performance Network); and The Princess of President Street (Illinois Theatre Center). His plays have been produced and/or developed by Primary Stages, New York Stage and Film, Public Theater, Ensemble Studio and Theatreworks U.S.A. He earned an M.F.A. from Columbia University, and was awarded playwriting fellowships from the William Inge Center for the Arts and Manhattan Theatre Club. He grew up in India, Thailand, Singapore and the U.S.

Susan Einhorn has directed over 65 productions, including more than 35 premieres at such theatres as Promenade, Playwrights Horizons, Vineyard, Primary Stages, Theater for the New City, Pittsburgh Public, Syracuse Stage, Arena Stage and Milwaukee Rep. Most recently, she directed the New York premiere of the Saylor/McClatchy opera of Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Descending.

Freedom High is being produced by the Queens College Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance and Queens Theatre in the Park.

Performances of Freedom High at Queens College's Little Theatre are on May 9 at 7 PM, May 10 at 7 PM, May 11 at 8 PM, May 12 at 2 PM & 8 PM, and May 13 at 3 PM.

Performances will also be held at Queens Theatre in the Park on May 19 at 8 PM and May 20 at 3 PM.

Tickets are $14 ($12 for senior citizens or with a Queens College ID) and can be purchased by calling the Queens College theatre box office at (718) 793-8080.

Tickets are also on sale at the door one hour before the start of all performances. For tickets and info on Queens Theatre in the Park performances, call (718) 760-0064.


The Little Theatre is located on the Queens College campus, at the corner of Kissena Blvd. and the LIE (exit 24) in Flushing, part of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts.

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