Roosevelt Island got the jump on Broadway, putting together a revival of Alice Childress’s timely Trouble in Mind in 2017.
By David Stone
Prompted by actor/director Michael Rogers in 2016, we reported on the neglect of memorial dedicated to Alice Childress on the lawn behind PS/IS 219. Childress, a Roosevelt Island pioneer, broke ground for women and minorities in New York theatre, but her plays never reached Broadway.
That’s about to change, and maybe, activism by RIOC and Roosevelt Islanders ignited a chain reaction.
When Roosevelt Island got the jump on Broadway, it started with small steps. Reading about the neglected memorial, RIOC community relations manager Erica Spencer-EL went to the school and took possession.
After some restoration work, RIOC hosted a ceremony alongside the memorial’s new home.
Then RIOC Got the Jump on Broadway
“At RIOC, I was so proud of the production we supported to honor Childress,” RIOCs former leader, Susan Rosenthal, told The Daily. “Perhaps the play is even more important today than when it was first produced off-Broadway.”
For the ceremony, the state agency recruited Michael Rogers as a speaker. We all met for the first time. Childress mentored Rogers as an actor, and among other anecdotes, he recalled meeting her in Westview.
Childress fell in love with Roosevelt Island and spent the last years of her life here, contributing quietly. She helped start, for example, the first library, located then on Westview’s first floor. Now, years after the NYPL adopted it, a move is on for renaming it in her honor.
A few weeks later, Rogers and I met with Rosenthal, proposing that RIOC produce a Childress play in the Howe Theatre in the Cultural Center. Her groundbreaking Trouble in Mind got the nod, and it was significant.
Trouble in Mind might’ve broken more ground because a Broadway opening was planned. That would’ve been a first for Childress and a giant breakthrough for women and people of color. But when she refused changing the ending, making it more palatable mainstream audiences, the opening was canceled.
But now, the Roundabout Theatre has set a date for reversing that mistake. Trouble in Mind, the very play that RIOC revived, opens on Broadway for the first time on October 29th. Roosevelt Island got the jump, and now, Broadway’s taking a leap.
“My heart is full with joy to be able to know that there are two productions of Alice’s work in New York in the same year.” A staged reading of her In the Wilderness was performed earlier. “I expect nothing but brilliance.”
Added Rosenthal, “I’m also thrilled that Childress, Roosevelt Island’s own, is finally getting the prestige she deserves.”
More from the Roosevelt Island Daily
- A Sanctuary or Betrayal? RIOC PSD’s New Failure to Protect and ServeRIOC’s Public Safety Department (PSD) has a simple mission: Protect and Serve. But this week, it was more like a repeat performance of past failures. The precedent is documented. The accident: waiting to happen. by David Stone The Roosevelt Island Daily News It was Monday evening, according to a Facebook post, and the situation was
- Rebecca Seawright: Keep Roosevelt Island in Manhattan Assembly DistrictUsing forceful language and logic, 76th District State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright argued in favor of Roosevelt Islanders’ interests. Her message, delivered for a Districting Commission hearing, reasoned against a proposed map that shifts the community’s representation into Queens. Seawright has represented Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side since 2015. The Roosevelt Island Daily
- Is there a connection between school bullying and mental health?School bullying is a serious problem that can have lasting consequences for both the victims and the perpetrators. Some experts believe that there may be a link between school bullying and mental health problems. If you or someone you know is being bullied, it’s important to get help. by David Stone School bullying among children
- Why did the counterculture start? How it’s reflected todayIn the late 1960s, young people across America were rebelling against the “square” Establishment. They started the counterculture movement with changes in music, fashion, and lifestyle. But why did this counterculture start? Let’s take a look at the reasons behind the rebellion. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, young people challenged traditional values The
- What Does Free Thinking Mean Now? Lessons From the Counterculture“You’re never too old to learn,” people say. And they’re right – I’m currently learning about the art of free-thinking from the hippie counterculture. It’s been an interesting (and somewhat eye-opening) experience, to say the least. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned so far… by David Stone The allure of “free love” and