Last Sunday’s matinee of The Fortress of Solitude at The Public Theater was quite a special affair for cast member André De Shields, who plays Barrett Rude Senior in the world premiere musical that features a book by Itamar Moses and music and lyrics by Michael Friedman.
In the audience were seven of his classmates from Baltimore City College in northeast Baltimore, Maryland’s oldest public high school and third oldest in the nation, which celebrated 175 years this month.
The graduates of the class of ’64, who were joined by a few spouses, daughters and a brother, had traveled from Oakland, Philadelphia, Virginia, Boston and Baltimore for an impromptu reunion, experienced The Fortress of Solitude, then headed en masse to West Bank Cafe for a divine dinner.
The Fortress of Solitude, conceived and directed by Daniel Aukin, began preview performances on Tuesday, September 30 and runs through Sunday, November 2, with an official press opening on Wednesday, October 22. Co-production with Dallas Theater Center.
The complete cast of The Fortress of Solitude features Ken Barnett (Abraham Ebdus); Kyle Beltran (Mingus); Adam Chanler-Berat (Dylan); André De Shields (Senior); Carla Duren (Marilla); Rebecca Naomi Jones (Lala, Abby); Jahi Kearse (Raf, Henry, Desmond, Jared); Kevin Mambo (Junior); Malaiyka Reid (Swing); Stephane Duret (Swing); David Rossmer (Arthur); Conor Ryan (Radio Guy, Mike, Gabe); Kristen Sieh (Rachel Ebdus); Britton Smith (Subtle Distinction); Brian Tyree Henry (Robert) Akron Watson (Subtle Distinction); Alison Whitehurst (Skater Girl, Liza); and Juson Williams (Subtle Distinction).
Based on the nationally best-selling novel of the same name by 2005 MacArthur Fellow Jonathan Lethem, this soaring new musical The Fortress of Solitude features a dynamite creative team including composer/lyricist Michael Friedman (Love’s Labour’s Lost, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and bookwriter Itamar Moses.
The Fortress of Solitude is the extraordinary coming-of-age story about 1970s Brooklyn and beyond – of black and white, soul and rap, block parties and blackouts, friendship and betrayal, comic books and 45s. And the story of what would happen if two teenagers obsessed with superheroes believed that maybe, just maybe, they could fly.
The Fortress of Solitude features scenic design by Eugene Lee, costume design by Jessica Pabst, lighting design by Tyler Micoleau, sound design by Robert Kaplowitz, projection design by Jeff Sugg, and hair and wig design by Leah Loukas.
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Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York.
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