January 22, 2014 at 8:23 AM
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Ricardo Khan and L. Kenneth Richardson, who co-founded Crossroads Theatre Company in 1978 as young Rutgers graduates, will reunite for the first time in 25 years at a special kickoff event for “Legacy Month” on Sunday, Feb. 9, celebrating the theater’s history and enduring contributions to black theater and the American cultural landscape.
Subsequent events will include a staged reading of Repairing a Nation, a new play by Obie Award-winner Nikkole Salter, and Richard Wesley’s Playbook, a celebration of the playwright/screenwriter’s work with performances, video and testimonials. Each event is a fundraiser comprising a reception at 12 noon followed by an on-stage program at 2 p.m. There also will be a silent auction of luxury and historic items, as well as raffles. Tickets to the combined reception and onstage presentation for each event are $75; or $25 for the presentation only.
Khan and Richardson, who last worked together in 1988 when the theater was still located in a former factory building on Memorial Parkway, will reflect on their early conversations and plans for the theater in an onstage dialogue beginning at 2 p.m. following the noon reception. Crossroads’ first board president, Dr. Cheryl A. Wall, Rutgers Board of Governors Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English, will moderate the program
“Lee and Rick were visionaries who were instrumental in developing the careers of so many theater artists,” said Crossroads’ Producing Artistic Director Marshall Jones III. “We are pleased to re-visit their pioneering days as young theater professionals, who galvanized a whole generation of artists, including myself. Their spirit will always be a part of the fabric of Crossroads.”
Repairing a Nation will be presented as a staged reading at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16, also preceded by a noon reception with the writer. Salter’s play looks at the economic calamity that caused the 1921 Tulsa, Okla., race riots and explores the question of financial restitution.
Richard Wesley’s Playbook will be presented at 2 p.m., Sunday, March 2, also preceded by a noon reception with Wesley.
Since its founding by Khan and Richardson, who graduated from Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts, Crossroads has been “dedicated to creating and producing professional theater of the highest standards of artistic excellence.” According to its mission, its work celebrates the culture, history, spirit and voices of the entire African Diaspora, and presents “honest and positive portrayals of people of color from around the world.”
Over the years, Crossroads has provided an artistic home to such artists as George C. Wolfe, Ntozake Shange, Mbongeni Ngema, Vernel Bagneris, Ruby Dee and the late Ossie Davis, Guy Davis and, in April this year, to Walter Mosely, for the development and production of new works for theater.
It is one of a diminishing number of theaters dedicated to the production of and support of black theater, and the only black theater company to be honored with the Tony Award as Best Regional Theater in America (1999).
Crossroads has produced the world premieres of Wolfe’s The Colored Museum and Spunk; Shange’s The Love Space Demands; Ngema’s Sheila’s Day and Bagneris’ And Further Mo’. Crossroads’ production of Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues moved to Broadway. Productions, including Black Eagles and Flyin’ West, have gone to such venues as Ford’s Theatre and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Public Theater in New York.
“We hope ‘Legacy Month’ will become an annual event celebrating Crossroads’ contributions to the American theater landscape and the artists whose works and performances have enlightened, educated and entertained thousands of people over the past 36 years,” said Jones.
For more information about the events, go to crossroadstheatrecompany.org or call 732-545-8100.
CROSSROADS THEATRE COMPANY
7 LIVINGSTON AVE., NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ
Founders’ Day with Ricardo Khan and L. Kenneth Richardson: Sunday, February 9. Reception with co-founders at noon; onstage dialogue at 2 p.m.
Repairing a Nation: Sunday, February 16, noon. Reception with author, 2 p.m. staged reading.
Richard Wesley’s Playbook: Sunday, March 2, noon reception with author, 2 p.m. stage program.
Tickets: $75 including reception and stage event; $25 for stage event only.
Purchase online at www.CrossroadsTheatreCompany.org or call 732-545-8100.
Location: Crossroads Theatre, 7 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901