History in the Making

Actor, filmmaker and theater director donnie l. betts has been reviving the Destination Freedom scripts of Richard Durham, whose long run of live radio theater programs profiled cultural and historical African-American figures beginning in the late ´40s, for more than a dozen years as a pet project, Black Radio Days. The broadcast stories, often recorded in front of a live audience, have included a lot of important and vibrant folks, from Bill Robinson to Frederick Douglass to Gwendolyn Brooks. Tonight, right in time for the post-season, the Lone Tree Arts Center will present Black Radio Days: The Story of Jackie Robinson, complete with a live Foley artist handling the sound-effects and special guests.

Robinson, of course, was Major League Baseball's groundbreaking first black player, and the program will evoke both his bravery and his ease in a difficult national role. "I love doing this," says betts. "I hope people still understand the beauty of a radio drama." And betts notes that Durham's treatment of the Robinson story isn't just a retelling of Robinson's history: "He used a lot of creative license -- it's more like listening to a Shakespeare piece. He thought it would make for great theater."

Batter up! The show, which features a who's-who cast of local African-American actors and singers and will also be broadcast live on community radio KGNU, begins at 7:30 p.m. at the center, located at 10075 Commons Street in Littleton; for tickets, $15, go to lonetreeartscenter.org or call 720-509-1000.
Mon., Sept. 30, 7 p.m., 2013


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