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Monday, January 15, 2024


Photo Credit: Thomas E. Poag       

    Photo Credit: Marcus Middleton

Historic Civil Rights Figure Dr. Clarence B. Jones Honored at Purlie Victorious Broadway Revival

The Broadway revival of the critically acclaimed American comedy Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch by Ossie Davis, starring Leslie Odom, Jr. and directed by Kenny Leon, welcomed a special guest over the weekend. On Saturday, January 13, the producers were honored to have Dr. Clarence B. Jones, a prominent American lawyer, civil rights champion, and former personal counsel and speechwriter for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., attend the evening show.

Dr. Jones, known for his pivotal role in drafting Dr. King's iconic "I Have a Dream" speech, visited the show as a homage to Dr. King's connection with the original Broadway production. Sixty-two years ago, Dr. King celebrated the 100th performance of Purlie Victorious with the cast, including playwright Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.

During Saturday night's performance, Dr. Jones met with the current company of the Broadway revival, marking the show's own milestone of the 125th performance. He expressed gratitude, saying, "You honor Ossie Davis, you honor 'Purlie,' you honor Martin Luther King Jr. I’m humbled by your talent. Hearing those lines – they were just so powerful."

As the Broadway revival continues to captivate audiences, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch officially opened at The Music Box Theatre to critical acclaim. The play, written by Ossie Davis, is directed by Tony Award®-winning director Kenny Leon and stars Leslie Odom, Jr. in the lead role. The production, alive with love, rage, humor, and grace, will run through Sunday, February 4, 2024.

Dr. Clarence B. Jones' visit adds a poignant layer to the production's narrative, connecting it to the historic legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. The play not only pays tribute to its original roots but also resonates with contemporary themes of justice, equality, and the enduring spirit of activism.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.purlievictorious.com.

Follow Purlie Victorious on social media @purliebway.

Dr. Clarence B. Jones, an American lawyer, civil rights champion, and former personal counsel to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., played a crucial role in drafting the seminal "I Have a Dream" speech. Since Dr. King's untimely death, Dr. Jones has dedicated his life to advancing King's history and legacy. He serves as Chairman of the nonprofit Spill the Honey, leveraging his experience to combat antisemitism, racism, and all forms of hate. Spill the Honey's vision is to use the transformative power of the arts to foster empathy, bridge divides, and remind people of shared humanity.

Spill the Honey, founded in 2012, is a nonprofit organization highlighting historic alliances between the African American and Jewish communities during the civil rights movement. The organization aims to promote human dignity, and empathy, and advance public knowledge of this alliance. Inspired by the wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Eliezer Ayalon, a Holocaust survivor gifted honey by his mother as a symbol of hope and survival, Spill the Honey uses the transformative power of the arts to amplify the voices of the civil rights coalition.

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