Claude Brown's classic autobiography, Manchild in the Promised Land, next fills Off-Broadway's American Place Theatre (following the closing of the well-received Waste April 2). Opening April 17, the one-man dramatization began performances April 3 for a run through May 21.
"Manchild in the Promised Land," first published in 1965, shocked readers unfamiliar with the harsh existence of youths growing up in the Harlem ghetto of the 1950's. With its vivid depictions of pimps, prostitutes, heroin addicts and hardened juvenile criminals, "Manchild" traces the adolescence of Sonny, who gets his education at reform school, but returns to selling drugs and stealing when he comes home. Able to break the cycle by immersing himself in African and African American culture, he finds that little has changed in his neighborhood, where his brother has become the criminal he once was. Wynn Handman and Joseph Edward adapted the autobiography.
Co-adaptor Edward performs 19 different characters in the piece. Last seen on the American Place Theatre stage in Zora Neale Hurston, he won an Audelco Awards for his plays, FLY. Other credits include A Raisin in the Sun, Lost Creek Township and a recent appearance on "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit."
Tickets $35-$20. The American Place Theatre is located at 111 West 46th Street. For tickets call (212) 239-6200.
-- By Christine Ehren