CPS Presents American Place Theatre's 'Black Boy' on May 9


Tarantino Smith stars in the American Place Theatre production of “Black Boy,” based on Richard Wright’s novel, in a CPS Meet the Arts Series presentation on May 9.

Community Performance Series will present the American Place Theatre production of "Black Boy," based on the acclaimed novel by Richard Wright, on Friday, May 9.

School-aged audiences are invited to attend at 10 a.m., by advanced reservation. The general public is invited to attend at 6 p.m. Both showings will take place in the Proscenium Theater, located in SUNY Potsdam's new Performing Arts Center. The show is ideal for grades 8 to adult. 

Having premiered at the Kennedy Center, this Literature to Life original was adapted for the stage in 2005 and marked as one of the first on American Place Theatre's roster to tour nationally. The autobiographical journey focuses on author Richard Wright's hunger for knowledge and the fight to claim his basic human rights during the Jim Crow South era. A tour de force actor, Tarantino Smith, recreates upwards of 15 characters from author Richard Wright's past in this one-man show.

Following the public performance, an interactive community discussion will take place with Literature to Life Master Teaching Artist Margot Fitzsimmons. Audience members are also invited to attend an art showcase project in the Performing Arts Center lobby, where performance-related works created by Norwood-Norfolk Central School students will be on display.

The project, "From Stage to Page and Back Again," is a part of an educational outreach initiative led by CPS, in collaboration with SUNY Potsdam's Rebecca V. Sheard Literacy Center, faculty and local public school teachers.

"This is a creative endeavor that began as a way for CPS to supplement academic and arts-based resources in our local schools. In a time when public schools are struggling, we felt that by aligning our theatrical performances with novels students are already studying in school, we could add another layer to their understanding of the complex subject matter," said CPS Executive Director Amy Flack.

"This project has grown exponentially in the three years since its inception. We are very proud of the collaborative opportunity that we have created for local teachers, students and colleagues from across the North Country. In addition to the performance, audiences will truly enjoy experiencing the student artwork that will be on display," said Meg Watson, the educational coordinator for CPS.

Tickets for the public performance are $5 for students and $10 for adults. Tickets can be purchased by calling the CPS Box Office at (315) 267-2277, or visiting person Monday through Friday, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tickets can also be reserved at www.cpspotsdam.org, or at Northern Music & Video in downtown Potsdam. Reservations for the school-day performance can still be made by contacting Meg Watson at (315) 267-2612.

CPS is a college-community partnership presenting world-class performing artists and arts education opportunities in Northern New York. This rich mixture of programming links communities, classrooms and audiences of all ages and preserves access to the performing arts for future generations. For more information, visit www.cpspotsdam.org.

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of only three arts campuses in the entire SUNY system. SUNY Potsdam's arts curriculum offers the full palette: music, theatre, dance, fine arts and creative writing. No matter the discipline, people from all backgrounds can find their creative compass at Potsdam, with myriad arts immersion experiences available for both campus and community.