Goodman Theater tells story of Emmett Till

May 2, 2008 8:24:13 AM PDT
A new play explores the 1955 murder of Chicagoan Emmett Till, which helped ignite the Civil Rights Movement.

This week the Goodman Theatre is preparing for the premiere of the "Ballad of Emmett Till," a play written by Chicagoan Ifa Bayeza.

"There's something about Emmett's character. I learned that as I started this research. His spirit is restless...one of the reasons that story has electricity and still provokes so much commentary is because he was very magnetic," said Ifa Bayeza.

The cast is comprised of thirteen actors. Several play multiple roles. Emmett Till is played by Joseph Anthony Byrd.

"People don't really look at the story from the vantage point of Emmett Louis Till and what he brought to this series of events...what he brought with his life to actually be the agent of change himself," Ifa Bayeza said.

The youngster's mother is portrayed by Deidrie Henry.

"I wanted to show the journey of this young mother into the warrior mother she was forced to become...and hopefully I've captured to some degree the strength and courage and the faith and love it took her to wage this battle," said Ifa Bayeza.

For Ifa Bayeza, the play was seven years in the making.

"To see it come to life here at the Goodman and to have this opportunity to do this work in Chicago at the premiere theatre...it's the most fitting tribute that I can give to Emmett Louis Till."

To learn more log on to GoodmanTheatre.org


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