Black History Month: Edward Lewis Theater Festival

Main Library

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  • Edward Lewis

As part of The City Library’s commemoration of Black History Month, this year’s Edward Lewis Theater Festival will include readings from groundbreaking new plays, including several musical numbers, as well as video presentations at the start of each day’s events. The Festival will take place over the course of two afternoons, Saturday, Feb 8 (2–4pm) and Sunday, Feb 9 (1–3pm).

The readings will be excerpts from each of the plays, except for Contribution, which is a short play and will be performed in its entirety. There will be musical numbers from Once on This Island

The festival is named in honor of Edward Lewis, founder of Radical Hospitality Theater (formerly People Productions), and a pioneer in the development of African-American theater in Utah and California.

This event is sponsored by Radical Hospitality Theater


Once on This Island, book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, music by Stephen Flaherty
excerpts performed by The Grand Theatre
A retelling of The Little Mermaid by the composers of the Broadway musical Ragtime. A young girl ask "Where do I belong?" and sets off on a life changing quest to find out. Her sassy guides on the journey lead her through trails to unexpected paths of her own heart.

4000 Miles by Amy Herzog
excerpts performed by Salt Lake Acting Company
After suffering a major loss while he was on a cross-country bike trip 21 year old Leo seeks solace from his feisty 91 year old grandmother Vera in her West Village apartment. Over the course of a single month these unlikely roommates infuriate, bewilder and ultimately reach each other.

Contribution by Ted Shine
the complete work will be performed by Radical Hospitality Theatre
An African American grandmother sends her grandchild off to join a sit-in. At first it appears that she is a “good darkie” who stays aloof from such demonstrations but the hilarious and arresting climax of the play reveals she has her own method of helping in the struggle for her peoples’ rights.

Sunset Baby by Dominique Morisseau
excerpts performed by Radical Hospitality Theatre
When a former black revolutionary and political prisoner decides to connect with his estranged daughter he discovers that fatherhood might be the most challenging revolution of all. Sunset baby is an energized, vibrant look at the point where the personal and political collide.

The Mountaintop by Katori Hall
excerpts performed by the Good Company Theatre
On the eve of his assassination Dr. Martin Luther King Jr becomes enchanted by an enigmatic maid who brings coffee to his hotel room. Tired after delivering what would become his final speech, King let’s down his guard when the young woman offers him one of her cigarettes. Their subsequent conversation reveals complicated and moving truths about his life, legacy and the tomorrow that awaits him.

Fences by August Wilson
excerpts performed by the Good Company Theatre
Struggling to make ends meet working as a garbage man in 1950s Pittsburgh, Troy Maxson harbors relentless nostalgia for his former life as a negro baseball league star. He allows his festering bitterness about being excluded from the major leagues at the prime of his athletic career to affect every aspect of his life. When his son shows promise as a football player it's almost too much for Troy to handle.

Radical Hospitality Theater, the Festival’s organizing company, is a performing arts company that examines the multifaceted issues at the heart of the contemporary Utah experience. The name is taken from a passage in the book Radical Hospitality: The Benedict’s Way of Love by Father Daniel Homon and Lonni Pratt. "Radical Hospitality: The active desire to invite, welcome, receive and care for those who are strangers."

Location: Main Library Auditorium

Contact Information: 801-524-8200