‘Fly’ at Ford’s Theatre by Grace Kim

Written by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan, and passionately directed by Ricardo Khan, Ford’s Theatre’s production of Fly is a tribute to the experiences of the African-American men who signed up for the Army Air Corps – collectively known as the Tuskegee Airmen. From the moment Fly begins, you’re drawn into the story of these brave heroes who served during WWII.

Mark Hairston, Christopher Wilson, Eric Berryman, and Damian Thompson as Tuskegee Airmen in the Ford’s Theatre production of ‘Fly.’ Photo by Scott Suchman.

The dramatic story that is portrayed through the four magnificent actors on stage represent the hope, dreams, fears, accomplishment, and the lost souls of ALL the men who formed the corps of the Tuskegee Airmen. As the play unfolds, their experiences, the hardships, the victories, the sad moments, and the happy ones will completely move you.

Omar Edwards as the ‘Tap Griot’ in the Ford’s Theatre production of ‘Fly.’ Photo by Scott Suchman.

Christopher Wilson (Chet Simpkins), Eric Berryman (W.W.), Mark Hairston (Oscar), and Damian Thompson (J. Allen) are all superb as the Tuskegee Airmen! You’ll also be treated to Omar Edwards (The ‘Tap Griot’), whose beautiful tapping skills and non-verbal cues are so effective as a way to help convey feelings that the Airmen could not express in some circumstances. As an added treat, Omar Edwards and the four actors who portray the Airmen perform a step routine that had last night’s audience cheering loudly and clapping along. James Konicek, Matt Bassett, and Clark Young contribute several fine performances in supporting roles. The chemistry and camaraderie and ‘heart’ among these fine actors is infectious.

Scenic Designer Beowulf Boritt’s set is minimal yet eloquently effective in supporting the story. During the flight and air combat scenes, the large panels that form the backdrop of the stage show projected visuals (designed by Clint Allen). Rui Rita’s lighting design, and John Gromoda sound design – along with Allen’s stunning projections – make you feel like you’re in the air flying alongside these brave pilots. Gromoda also provides the powerful original score.

More than a portrayal of an important history lesson, Fly will move you and make you understand the emotions, thoughts, and experiences and heroism of the Tuskegee Airmen as they overcame prejudice.

Ford’s Theatre’s uplifting Fly is an important and magnificent play that will stir you and make your heart soar!

Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission.

Fly plays through October 21, 2012 at Ford’s Theatre – 511 10th Street, NW, in Washington D.C. For tickets, call (800) 982-2787, or purchase them online.



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