NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Jefferson Performing Arts Society will present “FLY,” a stage play written by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Kahn, about the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. It makes its Louisiana premiere over the weekends of February 4-6 and 11-13 at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center in Metairie.
The production is directed by New Orleans native Tommye Myrick, recipient of the 2020 Big Easy Lifetime Achievement in Theater. Ms. Myrick was also the winner of the 1992 Big Easy Entertainment Award for Best Drama and Best Director for August Wilson’s “Fences” at Le Petit Theatre, and the 1999 Big Easy Best Director award for “Flyin’ West” at Southern Rep Theatre. She is the former Artistic Director of Southern University and Assistant Director of the Center for African and African American Studies and the former Executive Director of the New Orleans African American Museum.
“FLY” tells the story of the 332nd Fighter Group of the United States Army Air Forces known as the “Tuskegee Airmen.” It traces the experiences of four black servicemen – three Americans and one from the West Indies – as they train for battle against German aircrafts, as told through the eyes of one survivor as he attends the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Using the 1940s military experience as a microcosm of race relations in America, the play illustrates how these men fought racism at home while battling fascism overseas, and how their successes led to greater equality in the armed forces, and ultimately engendered the Civil Rights Movement.
“FLY” combines live action video, military marches, actual combat footage and vibrant sound effects and lighting, all contributing to a stellar 90-minute, no-intermission presentation.
“America has much to learn from these voiceless brave souls who fought to keep America free. Despite a system of government that denied them full citizenship, they heeded the call to arms to defend and protect this country. Their sacrifice and courage must never be forgotten, omitted or diminished.” — Tommye Myrick, Director
“The play is about lifting yourself off the ground, from what holds you down, reaching for your dream and elevating yourself to that place in the mind and the heart that’s the sky.” — Ricardo Kahn, Co-Writer
“FLY” runs for two weekends in February: Friday through Sunday, February 4-6 and 11-13. Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2:00 p.m.
For a full schedule, directions to the Jefferson Performing Arts Center, and ticket information, visit www.jpas.org or call the box office at 504-885-2000. School day performances are also available. The all-local cast and artistic team is comprised of Greater New Orleans area actors, crew, and designers.