Shades Repertory Seeks $35,000 to Fund National Tour of Play About Drive for Voter Freedom in 1960s Mississippi

BY GEORGE J. DACRE

With a deadline of April 19, the Haverstraw-based theatre group Shades Rep is going to the Internet with Kickstart and doing advertising in the Rockand County Times, educational journals and theater publications to raise the funds to present a national tour of “Freedom Summer,” written by Stony Point resident William Tucker.

With music by Nyack resident Sam Wayman, the play hopes to gain a national audience including schools and colleges. A cast of 30 heads up the play which is currently being performed at libraries, schools and community theaters in suburban New York.

“Freedom Summer” is the story of how 700 college students joined activist Robert Moses and others in a quest to get black people registered to vote in Mississippi. It is the story of the murder of three of the activists and beatings and jailings of many others. The author, William Tucker, was one of the student volunteers who eventually succeeded in breaking the back of the then Jim Crow society.

The play has been presented at the Shades Theatre in Haverstraw, at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, Dominican College in Orangeburg, Elmwood Playhouse in Nyack, Finkelstein Memorial Library in Spring Valley and the Brecht Forum in Manhattan.

Shades has set a goal of having the play performed in Washington, DC and has a performance scheduled for the annual Thurgood Marshall Birthday Celebration in Washington in June. The group is offering trips to see the play, listing on programs, autographed DVDs, CDs and scripts, performances by Sam Wayman and his band, and for a donation of $10,000 a performance of the play at the venue of the donors choice anywhere in the US.

For information, contact freedomsummer50.org or Shades Rep at 845-405-3561.

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