Muhammad Ali and Stepin Fetchit in an undated photo.
Muhammad Ali, Stepin Fetchit (undated photo)

True Colors Theatre Company has scheduled three shows – all heavy-hitters – for its 2015-16 season, including the Atlanta premiere of Will Power’s Fetch Clay, Make Man, a dramatic telling of the real-life meeting between Stepin Fetchit and Muhammad Ali.

Before we go there, however, here’s a reminder that the current season isn’t over quite yet. The company’s Spring Play Reading Series runs Tuesday-Thursday at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s (Theatrical Outfit), 84 Luckie St. N.W. Details HERE or at 404.532.1901. All three readings start at 7 p.m.

On Tuesday, it’s Sunset Baby by Dominique Morisseau (Detroit ’67), directed by Synchronicity Theatre’s Rachel May and described as “an energetic, daring look at the point where the personal and political collide.”

On Wednesday, it’s The Box by Marcus Gardley (Every Tongue Confess), directed by Kamilah Forbes of New York’s Hi-ARTS and inspired by Gardley’s own experience with police harassment.

And on Thursday, it’s Exit Strategy by Chicago playwright Ike Holter, directed by True Colors co-founder and artistic director Kenny Leon, about tensions surrounding a Chicago public high school slated for closure.

The current season concludes with Chasin’ Dem Blues (July 7-Aug. 2), written and directed by Kevin Ramsey. It explores bluesman Willie Dixon’s belief that “blues is the roots, everything else is the fruits” through the untold story of Paramount Records. The cast: Jeremy Cohen, Theodis Ealey, Maiesha McQueen and Brad Raymond. Details HERE.

True Colors, founded in 2002 by Leon and managing director Jane Bishop, strives to be an important voice in the American discussion of diversity including plays and playwrights from various times, cultures and perspectives.

Here’s the 2015-16 lineup:

Fetch-Clay-Make-Man_150FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN. Oct. 27-Nov. 22. By Will Power. Directed by Jasmine Guy. In the days leading to one of Cassius Clay’s most-anticipated fights, the heavyweight boxing champ (born in 1942) forms an unlikely friendship with the polarizing Hollywood star Stepin Fetchit, real name Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry (1902-1985). Fetch Clay, Make Man, True Colors says, explores the improbable bond between two drastically different and influential cultural icons in the mid-1960s.

AmericanBuffalo_150AMERICAN BUFFALO. Feb. 9-March 6, 2016. By David Mamet. Directed by frequent True Colors collaborator John Dillon (Race). Winner of the 1977 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for best American play. This is the piece that put Mamet on the map. Set in an urban junk shop, three small-time crooks make plans to rob a man of his coin collection. As the night goes on, however, motivations and loyalties begin to shift. Note: It’s Mamet; expect adult language.

SMARTPeople_150SMART PEOPLE. July 12-Aug. 2, 2016. By Lydia Diamond (Stick Fly, The Bluest Eye). Directed by Leon. This 2014 script looks at whether our beliefs and prejudices are hard-wired into us through the intellectual travels of four Harvard-based characters – a doctor, an actress, a psychologist and a neurobiologist — all studying the human brain’s response to class, friendship, love and identity.

Tickets for all three (and season subscriptions) go on sale July 1 at Ticket Alternative (877.725.8849) or via the True Colors website.

All three shows will be performed at the Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road S.W., True Colors’ frequent home.


About Kathy Janich

Kathy Janich is a longtime arts journalist who has been seeing, working in or writing about the performing arts for most of her life. She's a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, Americans for the Arts and the National Arts Marketing Project. Full disclosure: She’s also an artistic associate at Synchronicity Theatre.

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