“That Serious He-Man Ball” Coming Around AGAIN in Atlanta

Like a fine wine “He-Man Ball” ages in style. Last September it was scheduled for a September opening at True Colors Theatre in Atlanta. But got “Covid’d.” True Colors said they would do it in September, 2023. And here we are — a few months away and they’ve got some PR in place. Brings joy to my heart, yes indeed. This is True Colors 20th Anniversary Season and their theme is “Reclaiming Ours.” The statement below lays out their perspective for their upcoming season.

About “Reclaiming Ours

“Reclaiming Ours”, the theme for True Colors’ 20th Anniversary Season, speaks to the accomplishments of the past that have made True Colors what we are today – a leading regional theatre that centers Black artistic expression and that creates space for honest dialogue on issues that affect our human community. The season includes three performances – a world premiere, a reimagining of a Black musical classic, and a revival of a 1988 production – each of which is associated with a True Talks event that places artists and experts in front of community members to explore the messages in the productions. In the midst of the political, social, economic and emotional tensions of today, True Colors productions provide a window through which audiences may see themselves working through family dynamics following a tragic loss (Good Bad People by Rachel Lynett),coming of age through a world beyond home (The Wiz by William F. Brown and Charlie Smalls), and establishing their identity despite external perceptions and internal expectations (That Serious He Man Ball by Alonzo LaMont, Jr.). Looking through the window creates just enough distance to allow empathy to develop and flourish.

For me, this feels like such a wonderful privilege. THAT they chose “He Man Ball” to kick off heir 20th Anniversary is humbling. THAT it was considered a classic in Atlanta Theatre makes me sit back and wonder about the incredible odds of having a play that was performed 30-some years ago leaving that kind of impression.

Years back I remember feeling incredibly stifled trying to get my plays produced, or even considered by theatres in Baltimore. I had a reading of another play in D.C. and met Tom Jones, one of the founder of JOMANDI PRODUCTIONS in Atlanta. Tom asked me to send a script his way. JOMANDI produced that play and then they produced “He-Man Ball”. It made a big splash.

If I hadn’t set my sights on another geographic area, I would have remained stuck in B’More trying to convince somebody to read a script. Getting a start in Atlanta was a game-changer as doors and opportunities started to come my way. From Atlanta, “He-Man” was produced in New York at the American Place Theatre, was published, and many more productions came afterwards.

I think writers look for places that welcome their work. I happened to find Atlanta, and was treated to opportunities that completely surprised me, especially with regards to the “relationship” (or lack thereof!) I had with theatre companies in Baltimore. And might I addd, it’s a relationship that remains very much the same. If I hadn’t looked elsewhere, I’d probably still be stuck trying to convince the same cast of characters (artistic directors, etc.) of my worth. So I raise a toast to finding a place, and people who considered my writing worthwhile to produce.

“He-Man Ball” rehearsal in Houston

Updates Slash Setbacks

Hey now……it’s been a hot minute since I wrote something. During that time I had a very successful performance of “B-Side Man” at The Ivy Bookshop. Wonderful audience with Q&A afterwards. I thought I did the best job I’ve ever done. I put endless time rehearsing that bad boy, but it paid off. The key for me, since it’s a good 50-60 minutes of JUST ME going solo is staying in the moment and not letting my mind jump to the next point — losing my place with the point I’m in. Something tells me I’ll be doing “B-Side” again.

On a less happier note, “That Serious He-Man Ball” at True Colors Theatre in Atlanta was cancelled, Not cancelled forever, but till NEXT SEPTEMBER. That’s right, September 2023. Reason? True Colors hasn’t quite recovered their pre-Covid audience and they’re cancelling their season till January. When they contacted me they were concerned that “He-Man” wouldn’t have the audience that think the play deserves. I was kinda crushed. I’d talked up Atlanta and was excited. Ahhhh, but theater does have a way of keeping you on your tip-tip-tippy toes with that sort of excitement.

So, in short, Fall fell flat.

I’m convinced that True Colors genuinely wants to produce the play. I have no reason to believe otherwise. It’s just that a helluva lot can happen inna year. Mentally you just have to roll with it. On the bright side, I’m starting a new play with a tentative title that will change by the time I finish this sentence. So I’ll hold off on releasing that. Not that there was a public outcry for my next big “play title” reveal.

Johns Hopkins “Five Minute History” looks at my old Callaway Garrison Neighborhood

Back in early June I was interviewed by Johns Hopkins, Executive Director of the Baltimore Heritage, about the Callaway Garrison neighborhood I grew up in. Callaway Garrison has an EXTREMELY rich history, in no small part due to their neighborhood association (the Callaway Garrison Improvement Association). Well, my father was one of the founder’s of that association and he is the key “player” in the mystery behind who planted the twenty-some apple trees in the neighborhood decades ago. This interview was done in the middle of Callaway Avenue, and it’s a story that makes me enormously proud.

I think once you hear this story you may have the same emotional reaction I had when I first unraveled the history behind this story. I can’t relay the powerful sense of family and heritage that I felt when this was all uncovered. Many of my former Callaway Garrision neighbors (I currently live in another neighborhood) know this story and we’ve all been touched by how this historical legacy was passed down. Obviously, many neighborhoods have great stories to tell, but I’d place this one on the top shelf. Hope you enjoy the video.

“B-Side Man” performance coming Saturday, July 9th at The Ivy

Yes indeed, my friends! I’ll be performing my solo play at the Ivy Bookshop.

Here’s all the specific where/when details. Very excited to have the opportunity to perform the play again. I loved doing it for the Marsh Solo Festival, but that was waaaaaay back in March. The play seems to catch folks by surprise. Maybe because it’s definitely got “a voice,” and over the course of the performance that voice becomes starts to bring you into the heart of the play. So sayeth ye humble Playwright. Without giving away anymore, I’ll just say that I’m pretty pleased with it. Needless to say, it’s very personal and covers lots and lots of cultural and personal territory.

The poster below is what I I used back in 2016. I had several performances in NYC at a performance space called THE TANK, and then several more performances with the Baltimore Fringe Festival. Little did I know I’d still be “peddling” the play 6 yrs. later. When I first created it, I thought I needed an actor to learn my 20-some pages of script. As time went by I realized I’d already found that actor — ME. I didn’t really want to perform it, but had no alternatives on the horizon. But I believe in this play SOOOOO MUCH that I can see it reaching the proverbial, “new heights”. I can see that happening……

“That Serious He-Man Ball” Comes Back Around

Sharing good news never gets old! Sharing good news is ALWAYS a freakin joy! “That Serious He-Man Ball” will be performed in Atlanta at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company this fall. Dates are Sept. 27th – Oct. 23rd. 22 performances, my friends.

It’s kicking off their 20th season, and I’m proud as punch. Why? “He-Man” was produced in Atlanta 34 years ago. 34. Years. Ago. Who knew something I’d written from soooooooo long ago would still be “in fashion”. But there it is. And as fate would have it, Kenny Leon acted in the very first production of “He-Man”.

When I was contacted by Jamil Jude (Artistic Director) I felt humbled and inspired, humbled that my play was still on someone’s radar and inspired by the fact that it was chosen to kick off their season. Who knew that my three characters, Sky – Jello and Twin, would be showing up again after three decades. I’ve always believed in “He-Man Ball,” and having that belief get confirmed (over and over, since it’s my most produced play) is a reward all by itself. I’ll be posting more as we get closer to September. So this is my Easter Surprise, and I gotta say this is so much better than an Easter Egg hunt.

Special Thanks to The MarshStream!

I had a blast performing”B-Side Man” this past weekend for the MarshStream International Solo Festival.

And an extra special thanks to David Hirata, an eclectic performer in his own right, for handling my tech stuff (Zoom always seem to have a surprise or two) and keeping me plugged in. It’s always a delight to perform “B-Side” and I feel privileged to have been chosen for the Festival. The Marsh is allllllllllll the way out yonder in San Francisco and I’m happy my voice got heard. The Marsh is finalizing recordings of all the performances, I think around April 1st they’ll be available. I love the play (natch!) and any opportunity to perform it is a true gift.

“B-Side Man is Alive n’ Kickin!

Are you with me? It’s been a long time, but here I be. Still doing Theater! Can you believe it? Oh by gosh, by golly. So let’s get right to it. My script “B-Side Man” was chosen for the MARSH INTERNATIONAL SOLO FESTIVAL. I’m tickled pink. I’ve always believed in this script with a passion, and to be included in the Festival is a privilege and a joy.

The MARSH lives up to it’s name because there are Playwrights from around the world who’ll have their works performed. My performance says 1:00pm, Saturday March 26th. But it’s actually 4:00est. I was notified right around the end of February, so I’ve spent all my waking days and nights re-memorizing “B-Side.” Sounds simple enough, especially since I wrote it. But trust me, it’s trickier than you think.

Performances are free. But registration is required to get the zoom link for the performance(s). If you’re interested, register in advance and look for an email saying Marsh:Order Confirmation. This will include the link.

An All-Access Festival pass, which includes live shows and archived recordings, is $25. (Day passes do not include the archive of recorded shows.)

Recordings of the shows will be posted to Youtube April 1st and available until April 15th.

To be performing “B-Side Man” again means even more than when I first performed it. I performed at THE TANK in New York City and also performed for the Baltimore Fringe Festival. Two very different experiences and audiences. But “B-Side” seemed to “take” with both crowds. It’s ALOT to digest and emotionally it’s all over the place, spanning alot of my own growth (and wherever I was before growth) in my life and career. Having said that, I laugh ever single time I rehearse it.

More to come my friends…….

“The Gratitude Monologues” with All Souls Church, NYC

Fresh off the “Grace Project” I’m up again with “The Gratitude Monologues,” part of an initiative with All Souls Church in New York. Needless to say I’m excited to participate. The monlologues and musical performances run for 6 weeks and I’ll be reading mine, “Baltimore Bound,” on July 27th. The event starts at 10:00am.

The monologues are 10 minutes or less, and “Baltimore Bound” is something I created several years back. Never thinking it would fit a particular theme. But lo and behold….it fits! Many thanks to Leslie Corn (my favorite Genealogical Forensics person) for reaching out. She’d heard me read an excerpt of “B-Side Man,” on one of Roland Tec’s monologue events. Looking over Leslie’s background it illustrates that RIGHT NOW folks are making deeper dives into the world of connections, connections on a very organic level. I think “Grace” and “Gratitude” are perfect examples of this. They explore what makes us human and what brings us together. Though the monologues and performances are all very different, the chords they strike will ring true with all of us.

The role of a “playwright” — certainly the one I grew up with — has expanded exponentially. And over the course of my career writing opportunities are no longer limited to which theatre or artistic director deems you suitable for a production. If you’re willing to create from a more expansive place, then you may find an audience that appreciates more than your purely dramatic efforts. If you can speak to the humanity that everyone wants to feel part of, you may be “discovered” by people who’re seeking observations that open up our senses, and allow us to reflect on our spirituality.

Here’s some more info about the All Souls event.


The “Grace” project is now officially underway. I’ve got on a BIG smiley face. I’m so proud and humbled to be part of this effort. It’s been created and launched by Peter Bruun, who I worked with on the New Day Campaign several years back. New Day was an incredible experience. From October 1-December 31, 2015, over 92 days, the New Day Campaign presented 16 art exhibitions and 63 free public events, and conducted a community outreach campaign in the Baltimore region that opened hearts, changed thinking and conversations, and offered pathways to action. To be a participant and a witness to the power of New Day was for me, beyond vocabulary.

And here we are again with Grace. A journey that takes you on an interior ride with six artists. We all choose different vehicles for the trip. My Grace efforts start right here. And if you’d like to register for a “speaking about Grace” event — you can do so now.

Special thanks to Holly Morse-Ellington for her exquisite storytelling and narration, and Julie Golonka for all her help with editing. I mentioned in a Zoom discussion that when you mention the word “Grace” in conversation now, because of what we faced during the last year, it feels as if folks just naturally bow their heads. As if no more words need be said. That pretty much sums up where I feel we are, collectively.

So let’s raise an imaginary champagne toast to a new project that arrives with so much heart and soul.