The Destination Freedom radio-theater project overseen for many years by Denver actor/director/producer donnie l. betts started out as a revival of the 1940s radio dramas of Richard Durham, which explored the lives and contributions of great names in African-American history. In recent years, though, betts has sought to contemporize the series by writing his own radio plays with stories about more recent heroes who emerged after Durham's heyday.
"This time, I'm doing all the heavy lifting," betts says of his latest, The Freedom Riders, which will be performed live at 7 p.m. tonight at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive. Produced in conjunction with an exhibit currently on view at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library in Five Points, the radio play focuses on the Freedom Riders of 1961, a brave band of blacks and whites who traveled together in integrated groups through the deep Jim Crow South, risking beatings and worse in the name of human rights. It's a story made all the more contemporary by the nation's (and world's) recent Occupy events, betts notes.
But this is more than just a show. James Lawson, one of the great figures of the Freedom Riders, and other movement veterans will be there in person to talk with the audience; also on stage will be the Southern Journey ensemble, a group that resurrects folk music from the American civil-rights front. Admission is $10; for details and reservations, visit www.blackradiodays.com/shop or call 720-748-1388.
Mon., Nov. 14, 7-9 p.m., 2011