August Wilson play ‘Joe Turner’s Come and Gone’ to open tonight


NEW ORLEANS (Feb. 7, 2020) – Dillard University will present the August Wilson play, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” over the next two weekends in the Samuel Dubois Cook Theatre in honor of Black History Month.

Theatre productions are scheduled tonight through Sunday, Feb. 9, and next weekend, Feb. 14-16. Sunday matinees are set for 3 p.m., with other performances scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

The play, set in August 1911 in a Pittsburgh boarding house, is the second installment of playwright August Wilson’s decade-by-decade chronicle of the African-American experience, “The Pittsburgh Cycle.” The play chronicles the struggles and lives in the second decade of the 20th century, portraying former slaves living in the North dealing with racism and discrimination.

Starring as the principal characters are Duron Dunbar and Nia Garrett as Seth and Bertha Holly, owners of the boardinghouse and Elvin Stewart as root-worker Bynum Walker.

Other cast members include Ryan Browder as peddler Rutherford Selig; Jacques Chandler as resident Jeremy Furlow; Zachary Paige-Westbrook as resident Herald Loomis; Destinii Wells-Kimball as his daughter, Zonia Loomis; Courtney Edwards as resident Mattie Campbell; Atlantis Clay as Reuben Mercer, a boy who lives next door; Brianna Wyatt as resident Molly Cunningham; and Olivia Johnson, as Martha Loomis Pentecost, Herald Loomis’ wife.

Assistant Professor Ray Vrazel, director, said the program’s spring production is appropriate for Black History Month and the theatre’s 85th season because it “illuminates the enormous challenges faced by a resilient and courageous people.”

“This is a play that will open your mind and heart to an aspect of American history seldom told,” Vrazel said.

Ninyak White is assistant director for the production, and Naila Dabon is stage manager.

For more information, call (504) 816-4857.

(Taiyler Mitchell contributed to this report.)