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The Paul Robeson Theatre Festival

Set in Los Angeles in 1946, three black and Latina female washroom attendants wrestle with the decision to unionize, bucking racism, sexism, and class discrimination at the Pacific Electric Railway subway terminal.
harlem to central avenue

Harlem to Central Avenue

Join Co- Founders
Danny Glover & Ben Guillory

Opening Night
Meet & Greet, Award Ceremony, Refreshments
World Premiere Play Reading of

“Birdland Blue”
Randy Ross Phd

While performing at New York City’s jazz club, Birdland, on a night in the summer of 1959, the notorious bandleader Miles Davis who had delicately mastered the incompatible goals of artistic excellence and “living high on a hog,” struggles to keep his fragile musical, social, economic, and psychological worlds from crumbling.

Friday August 25 2017 at 6:00pm

A festival of fourteen, ten-minute plays all framed by jazz music
and spoken word poetry.

Plays and Playwrights:

"Corked" by Julie Taiwo Oni

Dewey "Pigmeat" Markham has been on the road for two decades, one of the last Black comedy actors to perform in blackface. Before a Los Angeles performance, an interaction with a young fan forces him to question his affinity for burnt cork.

"Dirty Blues at the Downbeat Club" by Cyndey Davis

Five women, including blues singer Alberta Hunter, finally hit the Central Avenue music scene at The Downbeat Club in 1948 after years of performing in Chicago and New York and developing a strong following. Now they must compete with big Hollywood stars like Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, Fats Waller and Ella Fitzgerald to get patrons and decide that the dirty blues will be their bait to reel in the clientele.

"Grinning Skull" by Sikivu Hutchinson

Set in Los Angeles in 1946, three black and Latina female washroom attendants wrestle with the decision to unionize, bucking racism, sexism, and class discrimination at the Pacific Electric Railway subway terminal.

"Loyalty Oath" by Melvin Ishmael Johnson

July 1951, Eugene O’Neill, Paul Robeson and Eslanda ‘Essie’ Robeson meet Film Producer and educator Kenneth MacGowan at a Restaurant near the famous Dunbar Hotel on Central Avenue in Los Angeles to discuss the pressure put on MacGowan by UCLA to sign a Loyalty Oath stating that he is not a member of the communist party.

"Niggerati Manor's, Rent Party" by Johl Smilowski

New York City, Harlem, Late Summer, 1925 - Douglas can’t make rent,
so Thurman, Hurston and Hughes throw a “rent party”!

"No Room at the Jim Crow Inn" by Christina Cottles

Forced to make some hard decisions, a Louisiana couple traveling across country to Los Angeles run into more Jim Crow indignities that threaten their
relationship as husband and wife.

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"Ode to a Cauliflower" by Uriah Carr

Aunt Zora, a vacationing New Yorker, teaches black pride to her L.A. kin
through the aid of an overturned bowl of caviar.

“Packing” by Levy Lee Simon

1940, Gail and Austin, are moving from Harlem to Central Avenue to look for better opportunities; to the chagrin of Gail’s parents who want her daughter to stay in Harlem. The question of this light hearted comedy is who will prevail?

"She of Dancing Feet" by Paula Neiman

It’s 1929, and Lauren, a young Central Avenue dancer, is caught between the love/passion shared with Russell (the publisher of an underground radical advocacy newsletter) and secrets lodged deep regarding her true identity.

"Soapbox and Pies" by George Corbin

The foremost Black influential orator of the Harlem Renaissance, a Socialist and Atheist, is challenged by a worthy adversary – “Mama Pie”.

"Tarzan, Get Those Niggers" by Tony Rayner

A black father in 1947 Los Angeles, must come to terms with his son's resolute decision that he can accomplish more for his people as a writer than as a
medical doctor.

"The Corner" by Mel Donaldson

1941, Central Avenue, a black journalist brings a young Dorothy Dandridge to meet with well-known jazz pianist and arranger, Phil Moore. The three argue
and weigh the connection between the Harlem Renaissance and
black cultural expressions in Los Angeles.

"The Protest" by Albert Cowart Jr.

Tempers flare when Fellow artists are forced to confront unemployment
when racial tensions occur on an early 1940's television studios.

"The Straws that Broke the Camel's Back" by Kurt Maxey

Jazz singer Billie Holiday gives notice to the orchestral genius Artie Shaw that
she will be leaving as a member of his band.

Saturday August 26 2017 - 2:00pm & 7:00pm
Sunday August 27 2017 - 3:00pm

The Los Angeles Theatre Center
514 Spring St. Los Angeles CA 90013

$35.00 Opening Night
$35.00 One Performance
$25.00 Group Sales (10 or more)
Early Bird Bargain
$50.00 Ticket for Opening Night & One Performance
(Purchase by August 18th)

To Buy Tickets:
(866) 811-4111

Additional Questions Call or Email
(213) 489-7402