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Red Velvet, Colligan Theatre


This stirring drama transports audiences to the turbulent backstage world of London’s Theatre Royal in the early 1800s. Edmund Kean, the greatest actor of his generation, has taken ill and can’t go on tonight as Othello, leaving his company in disarray. A young American actor named Ira Aldridge arrives to step into the role—but no black man has ever played Othello on the English stage. His groundbreaking performance upends stage tradition and changes the lives of everyone involved. Lolita Chakrabarti’s multi-award-winning play uncovers the fascinating true story of a pivotal figure in theatre history. The accomplished Aldo Billingslea, who has performed with American Conservatory Theatre, TheatreWorks, and the California and Oregon Shakespeare Festivals, among others, makes his Jewel Theatre debut as Ira Aldridge.

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