Black Theatre Troupe brings 'A Soldier's Play' to Phoenix

Black Theatre Troupe begins the new year with the thought-provoking and compelling drama, A Soldier's Play, February 4 - 20, 2022 at the Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center, 1333 E. Washington St., Phoenix.

Set on a US Army installation in the segregation-era South, this Pulitzer Prize winning drama by Charles Fuller examines and evaluates the causes of oppression of African Americans and the obstacles to their advancement. It examines the complex social issues and systemic racism in the U.S. Army during World War II and the search for the meaning and definition of Blackness in America.

A Soldier’s Play takes place at a U.S. Army base in Louisiana in 1944, when the military was still racially segregated. The drama opens with the murder of a Black sergeant, and the story centers on an investigation of the killing by Capt. Richard Davenport, a Black army officer.

A Soldier's Play won the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the New York Critics' Circle Award for Best American Play. The original production was done off-Broadway in 1981 and earned the Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play. Samuel L. Jackson and Denzel Washington were among the cast, and the recent Broadway revival in 2020 was honored with two Tony Awards.

A Sneak Peek at Broadway’s A Soldier’s Play, Starring David Alan Grier and Blair

It was the basis for a 1984 feature film adaptation, A Soldier's Story, for which playwright Fuller wrote the screenplay. Howard E. Rollins Jr. played Capt. Davenport and the film earned three Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture.

A Soldier's Play will be directed by the acclaimed playwright, stage director and producer Mark Clayton Southers. Residing in Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District, Southers is the founder and producing artistic director of the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company where he has produced well over 160 full length and one-act plays, including August Wilson’s complete ten-play Pittsburgh Century Cycle. He has directed nine of Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle plays in fourteen separate productions across the United States.

About Charles Fuller

Black man wearing a scarfPlaywright Charles FullerSupplied

Born in Philadelphia, Charles Fuller achieved critical notice in 1969 with The Village: A Party and later wrote plays for the Henry Street Settlement Theatre and the Negro Ensemble Company in New York. His 1975 play The Brownsville Raid won him critical acclaim, and followed shortly thereafter with winning an Obie Award for Zoomanand the Sign in 1980. His next work, A Soldier's Play, was a critical success, winning the 1982 Pulitzer Prize, Best American Play, New York Critics and Edgar Awards. He later adapted the script into the 1984 film A Soldier's Story. Directed by Norman Jewison, the film and his screenplay were nominated for Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and a Writers Guild of America Award.

Fuller has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has also written short fiction, a novella for young readers (Snatch: The Adventures of David and Me in Old New York), screenplays for CBS, Showtime, NBC and PBS, and has worked as a motion picture producer. He is a member of the Dramatist Guild and Writers Guild of America, East. His play One Night…, commissioned by Cherry Lane Theatre, played in 2013 in New York City.

About Black Theatre Troupe

Founded by Helen K. Mason in 1970 as a space for underserved artists to share the Black experience, Black Theatre Troupe began performing small plays, poetry readings, and musical performances in a community center in Phoenix’s historic multi-cultural Eastlake Park. The Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center is now the company’s permanent home, a state-of-the-art facility located at Washington and 14th Streets in downtown Phoenix – exactly two blocks from where it all began. It features a 150-seat theatre, rehearsal space, costume shop and administrative offices. The Black Theatre Troupe’s main-stage productions and educational outreach programs serve constituents from seniors to young adults and children.
Recognized as one of the longest, continuously operating Black theatre companies in the United States, Black Theatre Troupe has become one of Phoenix’s major cultural attractions, providing training, employment and performance opportunities for multi-ethnic and underserved artists for over 50 years. Black Theatre Troupe's productions and educational outreach programs broaden and enhance relationships within the community, from seniors and young adults to children, fostering understanding outside the Black community and bridging divisions which have too often separated people of color from the majority population.

Since its debut production in 1970 of Lonnie Elder’s nationally acclaimed drama of social and political consciousness, Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, Black Theatre Troupe has gained a national reputation for producing powerful works with an emphasis on Black playwrights and is dedicated to delivering some of the country's most courageous theater, while illuminating our shared humanity.

Schedule of Performances

Friday, February 4, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, February 5, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, February 6, 2022 at 2:30 pm

Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 2:00 pm

Friday, February 11, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, February 12, 2022 at 2:00 pm

Saturday, February 12, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, February 13, 2022 at 2:30 pm

Friday, February 18, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, February 19, 2022 at 2:00 pm

Saturday, February 19, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, February 20, 2022 at 2:30 pm

Tickets for A SOLDIER'S PLAY are $44 and are on sale at or by calling 602-258-8128.

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