The Florida A&M University Essential Theatre will be debuting two shows for the fall season in the Charles Winter Wood Theatre.
The Essential Theatre will open its curtains with “Blues for an Alabama Sky” on Oct. 21. Roy Wood Jr., a correspondent of the “Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and a FAMU graduate, will have a comedy appearance Nov. 7.
“Blues for an Alabama Sky” revolves around the main character, Guy, who dreams of being a fashion designer, Angel is looking for a new beau, and, across the hall, Delia wants to open a family clinic with her husband. They all have big dreams but empty pockets.
Xerron Mingo, a senior theatre student from Miramar, Fla., has been rehearsing to play Guy and spoke about the different aspects in the play that the audience will enjoy.
“It touches some very sensitive topics as far as religion and homosexuality,” Mingo said. “It touches people not having jobs back in the Harlem Renaissance time. It touches a lot about Negroes having standards, low standards.”
Beth Turner is an adjunct professor of theatre at FAMU and director of the play. She loves “Blues for an Alabama Sky” and chose to direct it for this season. With this play, she would like to bring the Harlem Renaissance to the Tallahassee community.
“I really want them to both get a sense of the time period and what it was like to be in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance and at the end of the Harlem Renaissance,” Turner said. “One of the characters said, ‘Let the good times roll,’ but the good times were starting to roll a little more slowly and with a little more difficulty.”
The second show will be an evening of comedy with Roy Wood Jr. Wood is currently working as the opening act for Wendy Williams’ “Sit Down” Tour.
Wood returns to “the Hill” to talk about his comical views on body odor, religion, race, and other uncomfortable issues.
“I will do some exploration on the state of affairs in our society, some politics,” Wood said. “I’m just here to tell jokes about some of the things we can all relate to.”
Wood was happy to know that FAMU was always supportive of him as a stand-up comedian.
“It wasn’t like they were jumping on board because I was on Comedy Central,” Wood said. “There has definitely always been some appreciation for me from the FAMU family.”
Having the comedy show was just one part of the process of developing the selections for the season and was explained by Kimberly Harding, associate professor of theatre at FAMU.
“We have to weigh what’s happening on the university,” Harding said. “We have to weigh opportunities for the students in all kinds of ways. And we have to weigh things the director and the creative staff might enjoy doing themselves. Oh, and the budget! Don’t forget that.”
Preview performances for “Blues for an Alabama Sky” will be on Oct. 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. with an $8 general admissions fee. Regular performances will be Oct. 23-25.
Tickets for regular performances will be $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens and FAMU employees, $8 for students and children and free for FAMU students. There is a $5 fee for FAMU students for Wood’s performance.
For more information, visit www.famu.edu/essentialtheatre or call 850.561.2425.