In mid-2016, Damron Russel Armstrong, a celebrated local actor, will open the Black Repertory Theater Company.
The idea has drawn support from Kansas City theater heavyweights Eric Rosen of KC Rep, Jeff Church of The Coterie and Heidi Van of The Fishtank.
Cynthia Levin of The Unicorn calls it a “much-needed goal, creating more opportunities for artists of color and educating our community on the staggering number of plays that need to be seen.”
Armstrong, who has performed roles at theaters throughout Kansas City and around the country, including off Broadway, can clearly count himself a success in the acting world. But his long-held dream has been the company he is now ready to present to the community. He cites the events of Ferguson and other racially charged incidents around the country as the stimulus for him to make it a reality now.
Armstrong has many plays in mind for the new company, but a definite one, perhaps the first, will be Raisin in the Sun. Also in the planning stages is Death of a Salesman, with Walter Coppage as Willy Loman. Ideally, not only will Armstrong utilize local minority talent, but he hopes to bring back talent we have lost to bigger markets— not even Don Cheadle is out of his sights.
Most cities of our size have black companies. It’s time we do, too. Armstrong states the company’s motto, “because there are more stories that can be told in the month of February.”