Ossie Davis(Photo: Michael Portantiere)
Ossie Davis
(Photo: Michael Portantiere)
Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Earle Hyman, and Lloyd Richards were among those present at a press conference at Sardi's this morning to announce the upcoming New Federal Theatre production of A Last Dance For Sybil. Written by Davis, the show will include Dee and Hyman among the cast. It will be directed by Edward G. Smith for Woodie King, Jr.'s New Federal Theatre, with Richards serving as supervising director.

Davis told those assembled that he first began work on the play -- described in a press release as "a drama about power and economic freedom that crosses the globe from Wall Street to West Africa" -- 40 years ago when he was starring on Broadway with Dee, his longtime wife, in Purlie Victorious. He said that, among other things, A Last Dance for Sybil concerns the question of how much (if any) of their cultural identity African-Americans should be expected to give up in the process of becoming integrated into U.S. society. "Was it sufficient for us just to walk into the mainstream?" Davis asked rhetorically. He also noted that the play is set in the present day but that it does take "chronological liberties, poetic license."

Ruby Dee(Photo: Michael Portantiere)
Ruby Dee
(Photo: Michael Portantiere)
Dee has appeared on and off Broadway and on tour in such shows as Checkmates, The Glass Menagerie, Boesman and Lena, and A Raisin in the Sun, as well as in her own play My One Good Nerve. Davis is a noted actor, playwright, and director who wrote Purlie Victorious in addition to co-starring in it on Broadway with Dee. In 1995, Dee and Davis were recipients of the National Medal of Arts, bestowed upon them at the White House by President Clinton.

A Last Dance for Sybil will be performed at the St. Clement's Theatre, located at 423 West 46th Street. Previews are scheduled to begin on November 6 and the official opening is set for November 17. In addition to Dee and Hyman, the cast includes Teagle Brugere, Herb Downer, Craig Allen Edwards, Arthur French, Ben Hammer, Larkin Malloy, Katherine Puma, Alice Spivak, and Count Stovall.

A Last Dance for Sybil will be performed at the Theatre at St. Clement's, located at 423 West 46th Street. Previews are scheduled to begin on November 6 and the official opening is set for November 17. In addition to Dee and Hyman, the cast includes Teagle Brugere, Herb Downer, Craig Allen Edwards, Arthur French, Ben Hammer, Larkin Malloy, Katherine Puma, Alice Spivak, and Count Stovall. For further information, phone 212-279-4200 or e-mail newfederal@aol.com