Fort Lauderdale —­ Theatre lovers are in for a treat when the original musical Bravely We Sat Down, Fearlessly We Marched opens Friday, Feb. 25, at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale.


Presented by The Metropolitan Diversity Theatre Company, the musical examines the historic account of the sit-ins by four North Carolina A&T  College students in Greensboro, N.C., in February 1960, which sparked widespread sit-in demonstrations in 63 cities across the United States.

The play is written and directed by Tony Thompson, with original music by Melvin Dawson, and is being sponsored by the Friends of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, Broward County Library, JM Family Enterprises, Macy’s, KMA Records and “Whateva Works” Entertainment Photography.

Thompson is artistic director of the Metropolitan Diversity Theatre Company and a founding member of its predecessor, the Vinnette Carroll Repertory Company, where he worked with legendary Broadway director Vinnette Carroll for 15 years.

Thompson has starred or was a featured actor in most of the company’s productions and, in later years, served as the business manager and as a board member.

The company’s mission is “to discover, nurture and expose local talent,” according to a statement announcing the coming of the musical.

Bravely We Sat Down is the company’s fourth historical production, following on Just Us: From Bean Pickers to Presidents (2003), Sees Through Their Eyes (2006) and Fearless: Harry T. Moore (2009).

A retired industrial engineer, Thompson is an actor, director, teacher, community activist, mentor and playwright. He has appeared in the film Refuge of Dragon Flies in the role of Moon Dog and in more than 50 stage plays, from Driving Miss Daisy and Frederick Douglass: A Trumpet For Freedom to South Pacific, Lil’ Abner and My Fair Lady.

He also has directed more than 50 plays.

Born in Greensboro, he is a child of the Civil Rights era who participated in the student Civil Rights demonstrations.

Dawson created all of the music for this production. The musician, writer, director, producer, singer and arranger has produced five CDs. He was also the writer, music director and performer for the last Broadway revival of Vinnette Carroll's Your Arms Are Too Short to Box With God!. Thompson is president and CEO of K-M'Aryelle Records which is distributed nationally by Central South Distribution of Nashville.

A native of Deland and a graduate of Bethune-Cookman University, Dawson is the founder and senior pastor of the Cathedral of Praise in Miami.

Bravely We Sat Down, Fearlessly We Marched will be performed at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 and at 2 and 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Blvd.

Ticket prices are $20 for adults, $15 for senior and $10 for students. For tickets, call 877-933-8499 or visit www.EZ-TIXX.com.