Prof’s play on Ida B. to debut

NEW ORLEANS (February 15, 2019) – A Los Angeles freshman and Dallas junior will star as the young and older 19th-century black journalist Ida B. Wells in the play “Ida B. ‘n the Lynching Tree” for the next two weekends in Cook Theatre.

The production will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at the same time the next weekend, Feb. 22-23. Matinees will be held on both Sundays. Tickets are $5 for students; $10 for senior citizens and DU faculty; and $15 for the general public.

Destinii Wells of Los Angeles will play the younger Wells and Alexandria Loffon of Dallas will play the older Wells in the play written by Carolyn Nur Wistrand of the English program and directed by Dillard alumna Cherelle Palmer.

It is the second theater production of the spring semester, following the theatre program’s collaboration with the Russian theatre company Moscow Nights to perform “24 Hours in the Life of Pontius Pilate.”

Wistrand’s play tells the true story of how Ida B. Wells, a journalist from the South, documented the Memphis lynchings of Tommie Moss, Calvin McDowell and Henry Steward, she said.

Wells was an investigative journalist, educator and early leader in the civil rights movement. Born into slavery in Mississippi, she helped found the NAACP and co-owned a newspaper, the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight.

Other members of the cast include:

  • Seniors Leah Rouege’ and Dominique Lee, both of New Orleans.
  • Juniors Kayla Banks of Houston; Zachary Westbrook of Memphis; and Jacques-Deshawn Chandler and Ninyaka White, both of Mobile.
  • Sophomores Sterling Miller of Minneapolis, Minn., and Kasey King and Jada Williams, both of New Orleans.
  • Freshmen Brytanni Davis and Jalen Carr both of Houston, Duron Dunbar of Metairie and Brianna Wyatt of Houston.

A 150th-anniversary production also is in the works, according to Cortheal Clark, chair of the School of Humanities and program coordinator for theatre, but he did not provide details.

The theatre also produced “Romeo and Juliet” last fall.