Hansberry Sands Theatre season opener fills audiences with thrills, triumph and memories

Returns to the stage on September 28, 29 at 8:00pm and Sunday September 30

By Marrian Efua

Kerric Stephens, Abney, Terrance “T DOT” Kingsby. (Photo by Marrian Efua)

Hansberry-Sands Theatre Company opened their 32nd season with Ceremonies in Dark Old Men. A classic of American theater is the poignant story of a family in 1960’s Harlem.

In timeless prose, Lonne Elder III explores the discontent of a generation that has grown old before its time, and the determination of the next generation to avoid such a fate. In the play, Russell B. Parker, played by Abney, is a prodigal father and failed barber who exists on memories and “ceremonies” for survival. He spends his time recounting atmospheric tales of his life in Vaudeville and tells, in darkly comic detail, about his days on the chain gang. Just beneath the surface of Elder’s work lie the terrors of day-today life in a racist society– never directly mentioned, but always simmering unforgettably.

Adele Parker, played by Tina Nixon, has been supporting her father Russell and her two brothers Theo, Kerric Stephens, and Bobby, Tarence Spencer, since the death of her mother. She’s sick of it and her ultimatum: Start making some money or move out. Theo and Bobby develop an alternative to Adele’s ultimatum.

Led on by Theo, Russell is drawn into Theo’s great scheme with the vaguely sinister assistance of Blue Haven; Terrance “T DOT” Kingsby, who speaks for a shadowy group called the Decolonization Association – along with Russell’s good friend Mr. Jenkins played by Michael Carter. This cast is rounded out with the role of Russell’s “girl” portrayed by Lashawnda Reynolds.

Ceremonies in Dark Old Men thrilled audiences its opening weekend as it reminded them of the very real quest of pursuing the American Dream of a better life and the struggles that accompanies it. The power of that understated irony is the force that drives the play. Ceremonies… is directed by Chicagoland native, debrah neal.

Ceremonies in Dark Old Men will return to the stage for its final weekend run Friday and Saturday September 28, 29 at 8:00pm and Sunday September 30 at 4:00pm.

The production will be staged in Vogel Hall, 123 E. State Street, located within the Marcus Center complex. For tickets visit the Marcus Center Box Office at 929 N. Water Street or call 414.273-7206. Tickets can be purchased on line at marcuscenter.org or ticketmaster.com. Ticketmaster is now available at all Milwaukee Walmart loctions.

Ticket prices for closing weekend are two for $40 or $23 in advance and $26 on the day of performance for single tickets. Group and senior rates are available. Recommended for mature audiences includes strong language. Follow us on Facebook and for information call the HSTC Hotline 414.616.PLAY (7529).