‘Monsieur Baptiste, the Con Man’ opens UofL African American Theatre Program 20th anniversary season

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Music, dance and comedy that centers on family conflict and religious hypocrisy take the stage in the African American Theatre Program (AATP) production of “Monsieur Baptiste, the Con Man,” Roger Furman’s modern adaptation of Moliere’s “Tartuffe.”

The play along with workshops, gala and other entertainment events celebrate AATP’s 20th anniversary, Nov. 20-29.  Lundeana Thomas, entering her18th season as head of the program, will direct the play. Show times are 8 p.m., nightly Nov. 20-22 and 24, and matinees at 2 p.m., Nov. 23, and  3 p.m., Nov. 24, at The Playhouse, 1911 S. Third St.  
“Monsieur Baptiste” is a tale set in 19th century Haiti where the gens de couleur libres (free people of color) engage in a raucous battle of wealth and status. A religious con-man infiltrates a wealthy household until lustful passions for the lady of the house are exposed by a voodoo priestess.

“The play explores the complications of a friend's trust, the adverse actions of jealousy and the hypocrisy of a houseguest’s character,” Thomas said. “The play is hilarious; it’s a wonderful family show with surprising reveals of true love conquering all.”

Other programs and events related to the anniversary celebration are:

  • Nov. 22 workshops by Broadway director and producer Woodie King, 10 a.m., and actress Jasmine Guy, 3:30 p.m. The public is invited to observe the workshops at Thrust Theatre, 2314 S. Floyd St.
  • Nov. 23 public 20th Anniversary Gala with a full meal and Harlem Renaissance entertainment by AATP students directed by theater professor Nefertiti Burton. The event begins at 7 p.m., University Club.  King, Guy and producer Voza Rivers will be honored with Trailblazer Awards for their leadership in African American theater. Tickets are $35 and are available by calling 502- 852-8443 or visiting http://uoflaatp.eventbrite.com.
  • March 27-29, 2014, performance of Carolyn Gage’s “Mason Dixon” at 8 p.m. nightly by Thomas and her colleague, theater chair Rinda Frye at the Thrust Theatre. Both women are retiring in 2014.

The AATP program offers the nation’s only graduate certificate in African American theater according to the theater arts department.

For information about play tickets call 502-852-6814 or visit http://louisville.edu/theatrearts.