by Tayo Aluko
Sunday, Feb. 07, 2010 at 2:12 PM
Award-Winning one-man play about African American Actor, singer and civil rights activist is playing in North Hollywood as part of Black History Month tour.
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AWARD-WINNING PAUL ROBESON PLAY COMING TO NOHO ACTORS CENTER, FEBRUARY 19-21 2010
“Before Barack Obama there was Martin Luther King, and before King, there was Paul Robeson”
Thus starts a review of CALL MR. ROBESON at an international Fringe Festival in Brighton, UK, at which the play picked up TWO AWARDS. Call Mr. Robeson is being performed at NoHo Actors’ Center between February 19 and 21, 2010, as part of a West Coast Black History Month tour, generously supported by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, of which Paul Robeson was made an honorary member in 1943.
The review continues:
Tayo Aluko's portrayal of Robeson is spot on. This is ... a thrilling, moving and marvellously entertaining musical drama. Aluko's singing of Robeson songs like Ol' Man River and Steal Away is totally soulful and convincing – just like this show!" ***** Bill Smith, Latest 7 Magazine, (Brighton, UK) June 2008
Written and performed by British Nigerian actor/singer, Tayo Aluko, Call Mr. Robeson is a roller coaster journey through Robeson’s remarkable and eventful life, and highlights how his radical activism caused him to be disowned and disremembered, even by the leaders and descendants of the civil rights movement. It features some of his famous songs and speeches, including a dramatic rendition of Ol’ Man River and a spectacularly defiant testimony in front of the Senate House Un-American Activities Committee.
Aluko, who is based in Liverpool, England, is almost ashamed to admit that he was 33 years old when he first found out about Paul Robeson, who was born in Princeton, NJ in 1898, and died in Philadelphia in January 1976. After reading Robeson’s biography, he says, he decided “that Robeson’s story needed to be told, not just because it was so remarkable, but because it is so inspiring. I am thrilled by the reception the story has received in UK, America and Africa.”
Live accompaniment will be provided on piano by Los Angeles based pianist, organist and arranger Mr. Mark Henley, who plays piano and organ at various churches in the LA area, including New Hope Presbyterian, Home Assembly and Jacob’s Ladder Church. He is also the choice accompanist for several visiting gospel artistes.
Call Mr. Robeson was last seen at the DC Arts Center in Washington, DC, where it was previewed in the Washington Post and was selected as a “TOP PICK” by the DC Theater Scene reviewer, who described it as “An invigorating and rich story for novice and scholar alike. Aluko seems to almost channel Robeson's fury as he takes the stand for justice and equity. A must-see experience, a treasure of a show”.
The Philadelphia Inquirer described as: “[A] fine evocation of one of America's great talents and most controversial social activists.. Aluko's nicely paced tour through Robeson's career and life ... does honor to Robeson the performer and intellectual.”
Other enthusiastic comments from audience members have included:
“I saw the original Broadway performances of various classics, Death of a Salesman with Lee Cobb, Streetcar Named Desire with Brando, Member of the Wedding with Ethel Waters, All My Sons and others. With that, I cannot remember ever having been so moved in a theater as I was during your Robeson performance.” Fred Hirsch, San Jose, CA
“-- your performance was truly remarkable! Thanks so much for sharing this great and important artistic and historical piece with us. My kids and niece and nephew (11-13) were enthralled and remembered a lot of the key points of Robeson's life. I hope it will not be too long until you grace the Nigerian stage with another wonderful performance.”
Sandra Obiago, Lagos, Nigeria
What: Call Mr. Robeson. A life, with songs. Written and Performed by Tayo Aluko,
with Mark Henley, Piano.
Where: NoHo Actors’ Centre 5215 Lankershim Blvd. - North Hollywood Los Angeles, CA 91601-3110
When: Fri Feb 19th, 8pm; Sat Feb 20th, 8pm; Sun Feb 21st, 3pm and 8pm
75 minutes, no intermission. Ages 11+
For more information
About Tayo Aluko and Friends, visit: www.callmrrobeson.com
Tel: 1-800-838-3006. Order online at brownpapertickets.com
Photos available on request