Ruby Dee will star in a new play written specifically for the actress by her husband Ossie Davis. The work, entitled A Last Dance for Sybil, will premiere at the St. Clement's Theatre, Nov. 6.
The New Federal Theatre production, directed by Edward Smith, will open at the midtown Manhattan venue Nov. 21.
In A Last Dance for Sybil, a man who comes from money falls in love with a woman whose family has struggled to make it by. The drama that deals with power, economic freedom and family also features an ensemble cast that includes Herb Downer (The Merchant of Venice, Paul Robeson), Craig Allen Edwards, Arthur French (Mule Bone, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom), Earle Hyman (Tony nominated for The Lady from Dubuque and known on TV's "The Cosby Show" as Cliff's father Russell Huxtable), Ben Hammer (The Gathering), Larkin Malloy, Katherine Puma (Pudd'nhead Wilson), Alice Spivak (Chaim's Love Song) and Count Stovall (Inacent Black).
Dee has appeared in a number of Broadway productions including Checkmates, Purlie Victorious, A Raisin in the Sun and The Smile of the World. Other credits include Saint Lucy's Eyes, Boesman and Lena and her own play, My One Good Nerve.
Davis is perhaps best known as an actor on stage in A Raisin in the Sun and his Tony nominated turn in Jamaica, as well as in films like "No Way Out," "Joe Versus the Volcano" and "Grumpy Old Men." He also has appeared in many Spike Lee films including "School Daze," "Do the Right Thing," "Jungle Fever" and "Malcolm X" — in which he reads one of the two famous eulogies he presented in real life (the other being Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.). From the pen of Davis has come the Broadway play Purlie Victorious, the subsequent musical version, Purlie, and film version "Gone Are the Days!". Robert Joel Schwartz designs sets for the New Federal Theatre production. Shirley Pendergast handles lighting design. Tony Award-winning director Lloyd Richards — director of Broadway's Seven Guitars, Two Trains Running, The Piano Lesson, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Fences, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom by playwright August Wilson and Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun — serves as supervising director.
For tickets to A Last Dance for Sybil, at St. Clement's, 423 West 46 Street, call (212) 279-4200.
— by Ernio Hernandez