Theater Arts Review: “Boys To Baghdad” Stageplay 

Endless entertainment is the least I could say to describe a breathtaking showcase of black theater production, this past weekend in uptown Charlotte.  Written and directed by playwright Rory D. Sheriff of Brand New Sheriff (BNS) Productions, Boys To Baghdad stageplay successfully debut at Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square on Friday July 15, 2016.

I got a chance to talk with the director about his inspiration for the play, what the audience can expect from the show and how the plot reveres the Black soldiers’ narrative in today’s military arena:

Q: What was your inspiration for the script?

Q: Tell the audience what to expect from the play?

Q: How is the story line relevant to the Black Soldier’s narrative currently?

Not only did the show bring the audience to tears and hilarious laughter, but we were all pleasantly surprised by a visit from the real soldiers whose characters were so elegantly depicted in the show!!

As a veteran combat soldier of Desert Storm, Rory has drawn from real life experiences and influence from Spike Lee, Quentin Taratino and Lee Daniels, to produce this remarkable stageplay.  The up and coming writer studied Mass Communications & Business at Temple University and Alvernia College and to date has penned 5 novels, several short films and a music sequel of The Wiz, “Be a Lion” stageplay, which ran successfully from 2014 through 2016 in Charlotte, NC and Reading, PA.

Among the amazing cast are:

  • Shar Marlin – as Momma
  • Sultan Omar El-Amin – as Huey Shareef
  • Darren D.S. Sanders – as Uncle Lenny
  • Kerra Don – as Tiffany Peterson
  • Jermaine A. Gamble – as Juice/Mark McClain
  • Jonathan Caldwell – as Bug/Private Bailey/Medic
  • Alex Lee Mauney – as Pete/Dustin Pough
  • Rasheed Owens – as Fred/Arah Williams
  • Danius Jones – Dez Laury
  • Rae Styles – Drill Sergeant Wilson
  • Yvette Miller – Telephone Operator/ Mrs. Peterson
  • Hafiz Stokes – as Mark Esposito
  • Tim Bradley – as Colonel Peterson
  • Ericka Cornick – Stage Manager

We must continue to support he arts.  It helps us express our values, build bridges between cultures, and bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, or age (America For The Arts, 2014).  Boys to Baghdad embodies this less-than-familiar fact.

I challenge you to go see a play in your local neighborhood (or while touring another city) and follow this amazing playwright to see when he will be showing up in a theater near you!

IG: @brandnewsheriff

Twitter: @brandnewsheriff

Until next time,

♥Leslie Monet

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Don’t believe the hype

Emotional overload on social media has catapulted a remarkable amount of individual display of what seems to be idol opinions regarding the country’s backlash on police brutality. After the most recent murders of Philando Castile & Alton Sterling, I’ve realized that propaganda has made its way to the forefront on crisis coverage rather than productivity….in the White House, your house and truth be told, in my own house.

As an American of African genotype, I obviously feel anguished as I watch public display of unfair treatment by government officials to people who look like me!  But instead of only voicing opinion, I ask myself, what can I do to counter this threat?

God has blessed me to use words to inititiate thought, and ultimately action of my peers. So I challenge you, my beloved supporters and readers, to link up with your local organized community group to help!! 

Take a look a some of the strategic ways you can support our efforts to make effective political change to bring justice to the brutal killings of innocent US Citizens.  

  1. Here in Charlotte, NC, CMPD offers a program that allows citizens to get up close and personal with the department. Citizen’s Academy gives you an opportunity to train as an officer. You can ride with police in any area you want and offer feedback on their performance as well.
  2. Financial Boycott: withdraw from patronizing large corporations (collectively) as a benchmark to show your power in numbers. Follow the hashtag #moveyourmoneychallenge to get more details on which small business and banks to patronize as an alternative.
  3. Give back….literally! Make impact in your own neighborhood by simply volunteering your time to serve less fortunate groups (homeless shelter, youth organization, etc). While this avenue is an indirect driver of political change, it is the foundation of building a safe haven for those nearest to you and will generate positive reinforcement to counteract negative stories that saturate the news!

There are also plenty of civil rights groups nationwide and virally that would benefit tremendously by your donated time and/or support via the web. Look into local NAACP chapters and get moving to make change! 

Don’t fall for the hype of only voicing your opinion on Facebook or Twitter and subsequently taking no action. The media’s rhetorical approach will leave you mentally drained yet still sitting on the couch or at your desk “lookin lookin” and not doing anything substantial!!! Do something!

Leslie Monét