MIAMI – ‘One Night in Miami…’ which runs from Oct. 27 to Nov. 18, is a dramatic depiction of what happened on February 25th, 1964, when a young Cassius Clay emerges from the Miami Beach Convention Center as the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Unable to stay on the island, he celebrates at the Hampton House Motel with his friends: activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke, and football icon Jim Brown. As the Civil Rights Movement stirs outside, and the melody of “A Change is Gonna Come” hangs in the air, the four men set out to change the world.
In “One Night in Miami…” critically-acclaimed playwright Kemp Powers aims to explore exactly what happened during those pivotal hours. At this critical point in each of their lives, the four men challenge ideas about power, religion, morality, and the realities of fighting racism. Featuring the legendary music of Sam Cooke, including his seminal opus, “A Change is Gonna Come,” the show sets out to reveal the men for who they were: friends who became mavericks of the Civil Rights Movement.
This production is a celebration of the historical significance of Miami’s deep legacy, presence, and prominence in the fight for civil rights in America. Throughout its history, Miami attracted international figures of all backgrounds; for these four men, it was a place for them to celebrate their success and discover themselves. Miami New Drama’s
Artistic Director, Michel Hausmann, asserts the play’s purpose and impact: “as a theater company, we magnify the unique voice and narrative of the multicultural Miami community, which is in many ways a model for the modern America these men imagined in February 1964.”
Grammy Award-winning actor and singer Leon Thomas will play singer Sam Cooke. Leon began his stage career on Broadway as Young Simba in The Lion King, and later in the original Broadway casts of Tony Kushner’s Caroline or Change and “The Color Purple.” Leon starred in Nickelodeon’s hit TV show “Victorious” alongside Ariana Grande, and with Robin Williams and Terrence Howard in the Warner Brothers’ film “August Rush,” performing “La Bamba” on the movie’s soundtrack. In 2015, Thomas added a Grammy to his list of accolades, for writing and producing for Toni Braxton and Babyface’s “Love, Marriage & Divorce.”
The role of Cassius Clay will be played by Kieron J. Anthony, an accomplished actor originally from Trinidad and Tobago. Kieron attended the University of Miami and is an alumnus of the Atlantic Acting School and is currently a teaching artist at Atlantic Theater Company and a resident actor at The Flea Theater.
Esau Pritchett, a prolific actor originally from Saginaw, Michigan, will play football icon Jim Brown. He has performed in regional theaters across the country and on television, previous credits include NBC’s “The Blacklist” and “Chicago PD,” HBO’s “The Night Of,” and more.
Jason Delane, a founding member of the Los Angeles based Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble will play activist Malcolm X. He has also appeared on stage across the country and his film and television credits include “Criminal Minds,” “Secret Lives of American Teenagers,” and “Make it or Break it.” The cast is rounded out by local actors Roderick Randle and Jovon Jacobs.
Randle is a Miami Gardens native and a graduate of Florida State University, he was last seen in Main Street Players’ production of “Superior Donuts” and M Ensemble’s “Fences.” Jacobs holds a BFA from Barry University and has been a prolific performer throughout South Florida with credits including City Theatre, Actors’ Playhouse, Miami Theater Center, and M Ensemble.
The play will be directed by Miami-native Carl Cofield, responsible for the award-winning world premiere of One Night In Miami… at the Rogue Machine Theater in Los Angeles for which he received the Los Angeles N.A.A.C.P award for Best Director. Cofield was a member of the New World
School of the Arts inaugural class and received a BFA from the University of Miami. He is currently the Associate Artistic Director of the Classical Theatre of Harlem.