February 19, 2008 |

Flight uses music, dance and song to tell tales

Charlayne Woodard's magical play with music, Flight, runs March 13 – April 6 on City Theatre's 272-seat mainstage.

Charlayne Woodard

Featuring a cast of five and a percussionist, Flight will be directed by Liesl Tommy, a South African native who now lives and works in New York City, and features Avery Sommers, who starred in City Theatre's hit production of Crowns, and Carnegie Mellon grad Taifa Harris, who last performed at City Theatre in Valley Song. Also featured are DeWanda Wise and accomplished Pittsburgh-based actors Kevin Brown and Joshua Elijah Reese.

Flight is set in 1858 in Savannah, Georgia where Oh Beah, Nate, Mercy, Ezra, and Alma are enslaved on a plantation. As the play begins, Li'l Jim has climbed into a tree, distraught because that day his mother was sold as punishment for teaching him to read. To comfort the hiding boy, the community tells him stories.

As each story begins, a magical ring of light appears onstage and the company members become the tale's characters, whether god, human, or animal. Using music, dance and song, the universal wisdom and humor of these fables will be an inspiration for the whole family. Flight is suitable for audiences age 8 and above.

Ms. Woodard is a stage and screen actress and author of three solo plays, including Pretty Fire (LA Drama Critics and NAACP Awards for Best Play and Best Playwright). On Broadway she was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk awards for her role in the original company of Ain't Misbehavin' and received an Obie Award for her performance in In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks.

Ms. Woodard has appeared in many movies, including John Sayle's Sunshine State and M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable. She also plays Sister Peg on Law &Order: SVU and appears often on ER.

Flight is choreographed by Oronde Sharif, artistic director of the Shona Sharif African Drum and Dance Ensemble. The percussionist is George Jones, co-leader of the Pittsburgh-based Latin jazz quintet, Salsamba.

Tickets are available at 412-431-CITY (2489) or City TheatreCompany.org.

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