‘College Colors’ tackle race issues

Andrew Manning, left and Kevis Hillocks have a strained encounter in Stacie Lents’ new comedy, “College Colors,” premiering at Crossroads Theatre Company, Feb.4-14.
Photo by William M. Brown

Trinidadian-American Ricardo Khan, the co-founder of the Tony-Award company Crossroads Theatre Company tackles many new and brewing issues in his company’s spine-tingling home-coming production, “College Colors.” Among the timely matters “College Colors” visits in the comedy are race, friendship, communication and identity. All the subjects are appropriate for a comedy staged in New Brunswick, New Jersey, a college town laced with a broad selection of restaurants and tourist attractions and available parking.

Ironically, Rutgers University’s Stacie Lents is the author of “College Colors.” The director is Kevin Kittle. “College Colors” fits perfectly into the wide-range of theatrical works, which have found a home at the New Jersey one-of-a- kind theater company. The comedy vacillates from the 1960 through the current period. It is set in an ivy league school where evidence of privilege and wealth are apparent.

Marshall Jones, a professor at Rutgers University and the producing artistic director of the Crossroads Theatre Company expressed to the media the difficulty casting actors committed to restricted roles. The success of Crossroads Theatre rests upon its diverse productions and the timely subject areas to seize on stage. Interestingly, this was a brewing national matter Mrs. Michelle Obama, with her brilliance and foresight, realize was a topic her husband had to eventually enter into a discourse with the American public, during his first presidential campaign. Of course, this is literary territory one dreads. In this case, the strategy proved to be a potent tactic.

According to Jones, the actors range from 18 years old to approximately 25. Jones, a professor in the theater department at Rutgers University describes the play as hilarious and incorporating multiple classic icons. “One character in the comedy puts her foot in her mouth,” said Jones, during a live interview. Another character, blurts out words and realizes she should not have said the statement, he adds.

Similarly, Crossroads staging of “College Colors” is a classy, bold, and inspiring admiration without the controversial public-Oscar wrestling or Tony-Award fanfare. “Kids do not see color,” Jones expressed. Apparent to Jones, is how race-related matters were handled in the 1960s and how they are confronted today.

In the intimate setting of Crossroads thrust stage, patterned after Lincoln Center, the boundaries of race, complexion, class and privilege are crossed.

Crossroads Theatre Company state-of-the-art home is located at 7 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, New Jersey. For additional information on this important production, call 732-545-8100 or visit; www.crossroadstheatrecompany.org. “College Colors” has a limited run at Crossroads Theatre Company.

“Fly” is Khan’s newest production. It is written in collaboration with Trey Ellis, and directed by the award-winning playwright. It will run in March at the New Victory Theater in New York City before playing at Crossroads Theater Company in New Jersey from April 7 – 17. “Fly,” produced with Pasadena Playhouse, taps into the incomparable heroism of the Tuskegee Airman. “Fly” is certain to be more than an inhalation of fresh knowledge of unconquerable bravery and patriotism against the odds and delivery in air and on land with countless magical victories.

Wakeema Hollis, left, and Gillian Mariner Gordon are freshman-year roommates trying to build a friendship in the world premiere of Stacie Lents’ comedy, “College Colors.”
Photo by William M. Brown

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