January 31, 2011/ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE High-resolution photos available
Lorraine Hansberry Theatre artistic director Steven Anthony Jones to
direct UNCSA’s World War II mystery drama “A Soldier’s Play” February
WINSTON-SALEM – Amid the backdrop of World War II, African-American soldiers at Fort Neal, Louisiana wait for their chance to fight. A single spotlight illuminates Sergeant Waters, an African-American, stumbling drunk onto the scene. A shot pierces the silence and as the unknown gunman flees the scene, Waters falls dead. So opens the latest venture to run at University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), the powerful “A Soldier’s Play” by Charles Fuller, beginning February 17 and running through February 26.
As the African-American Captain Davenport descends to conduct the murder investigation, he clashes with his fellow white officers over who has ultimate authority. The resulting tensions in this murder mystery force the audience to confront their own prejudices and highlight the power struggles in racially segregated World War II America. After debuting in November 1981 at the Negro Ensemble Company, “A Soldier’s Play” ran for 468 performances and won the 1982 Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Award. The play was turned into the film “A Soldier’s Story” in 1984, starred Denzel Washington and Adolph Caesar, and was nominated for three Academy Awards.
Guest director Steven Anthony Jones appeared in the inaugural production with Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and Adolph Caesar. A Cleveland native, he will be the new Artistic Director of the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in San Francisco as of March 2011. A 22-year company member of San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre, he has also acted at Karamu House and the Marines Memorial Theatre, and with the Negro Ensemble Company. Jones will direct a cast of students from the School of Drama in collaboration with students from the School of Design and Production.
Opening night, February 17, will be a benefit in support of the Larry Leon Hamlin and Sylvia Sprinkle Hamlin/Winston-Salem Urban League Endowed Scholarship. Tickets that evening are $50 and include a post-show champagne and dessert reception with the actors and Mr. Jones. For more information, please call the Office of Advancement at 336-770-3330.
Performances will be at the Catawba Theatre in Performance Place on the UNCSA campus at 1533 South Main St., Winston-Salem at 8:00 p.m. February 17-19 and 23-26, and at 2:00 p.m. February 20 and 26. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors/students, plus a $1 facility usage fee. Call the UNCSA Box Office at 336-721-1945 for reservations, or visit www.uncsa.edu/performances to purchase tickets online.
A portrait of Steven Anthony Jones, UNCSA’s guest director for A Soldier’s Play. Photo by G. Allen Aycock.
Captain Davenport (Gabe Brown; R) stresses to Captain Taylor (Christian Daly; L) the importance of his authority on the assigned case in UNCSA’s A Soldier’s Play. Photo by G. Allen Aycock.
Please be advised that there is strong language used in the production and adult situations.
The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. Internationally renowned conductor John Mauceri has been chancellor of UNCSA since 2006. UNCSA is located at 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.