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jessica goldstein | Rosenwald Film

D.C. theater presents Tuskegee Airmen show, “Fly”

A new theatrical production opens tonight at Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C. “Fly” tells the story of the famous African American Air Force unit from Tuskegee that flew missions during World War II despite facing discrimination in the U.S. According to Jessica Goldstein’s Backstage column in the Washington Post, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, D.C. native Roscoe Brown, consulted on the project. Brown, who was also on the set of George Lucas’s Red Tails, helped the actors get the language and mannerisms of the period right.

Three Tuskegee pilots in Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945
Photo credit: Toni Frissell Collection, Library of Congress

The Tuskegee Airmen were featured on this blog last January, when Red Tails was playing in theaters. In 1941, the Rosenwald Fund appropriated a large sum of money to build a training field for in Tuskegee for the new group of African American pilots. Eleanor Roosevelt, a member of the Rosenwald Fund’s board, took a well-publicized flight with one of the pilots to help endorse their skill and potential. More details can be found in our previous blog post.

Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C.
Photo credit: Robert Goodwin (flickr)

For those who don’t know, Ford’s Theatre is where President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth in 1865. “Fly” is part of a multi-year series of productions at the historic theater that promote tolerance and understanding called the Lincoln Legacy Project.

By Michael Rose

Theatrical production of Rosenwald fellow’s famous novel premieres in D.C.

A theatrical production of Ralph Ellison’s seminal 1952 novel, Invisible Man premieres tonight at the Studio Theatre in Washington D.C. Ellison began working on Invisible Man in 1945, with the resources provided to him by a Rosenwald Fellowship. This is the second staging of Oren Jacoby’s theatrical adaptation of the novel, which had never before been adapted in any form. The Studio Theatre’s show features the same director and star as the early 2012 premiere production at the Court Theater at the University of Chicago. Jessica Goldstein describes the most striking feature of the stage design in today’s Washington Post, the 650 light bulbs that light up the eponymous character’s underground dwelling. Information about the schedule and tickets can be found on the Studio Theatre’s website.

Ralph Ellison, 1961
United States Information Agency via Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons