One Drop at Theater for a New City
Andrea Fulton Develops a Folk Musical
By: Rachel de Aragon - Feb 13, 2018
By Andrea Fulton
Directed by Sabura Rashid
Co-Produced by Andrea Fulton/Fulton Arts Foundation and Crystal Field/Theater for a New City
Musical direction: Illona Dixon
Lighting and Sound Design: Duane Pagano
Costume Design: Carolyn Adams
Set Design: Mark Marcante and Lytza Colon Choreography: Leslie Dockery
Actors: Justin Foster (as Charley Cade), Alicia Foxworth (as Tessa, his adopted mother), Ben Rowe, Stan Buturla, Amelia Huckel-Bauer, Brian Christopher Scott, Lauren Marissa Smith, Illona S. Dixon, Denise Fair-Grant and Daisy Lee Sprauve.
New York, New York
Through February 18, 2018
Photographs by Jonathan Slaff
One Drop is a family drama with music by Andrea J. Fulton. It brings to life the politics of a young mixed-race man in post-reconstruction Louisiana. He bravely risks love despite the bigotry of the community around him.
The play, inspired by the playwright's family history, tells the story of a family torn apart by racism but ultimately reunited. It debuted in Theater for the New City's Dream Up Festival in 2010.
The child of a white woman and a black man in 1876, the play's central character, Charley Cade, is banished at birth from his biological mother's plantation home by his outraged grandfather. He is raised as a black child by La Tessa, a loving adoptive mother, who withholds knowledge of Charley's biological past for his life's sake.
As an adolescent, Charley passes to "make a point" to friends, with whom he jokes about how easily he can appear as white. Beneath the jokes, however, lies a crucial choice. Where does Charley's loyalty lie? As a grown man. he struggles to find a place for himself in a segregated world.
Charley must wait until his early 20s, and the death of his grandfather, to meet his biological mother and father. There is still a cost when you choose to love in the face of hate.
The play contains seven songs written by Fulton and oneby Fulton and Janice Dixon. Arrangements include traditional Louisiana jazz. They punctuate sections of the play and give it a folk musical feel. Jason Stein’s harmonica and a nine member band engage and elevate.
One Drop is an exuberant definition of self, often resonant in the folk musical genre. Perhaps we are witnessing a revival of the folk musical as a voice which re-enforces our common values. Like the Broadway production of the Irish folk musical Once, and the recent success of myth-based Hadestown, this play resonates in its music.