About the play
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom tells the moving, true story of Lynda Blackmon, who celebrated her fifteenth birthday on the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965. Jailed nine times before the march and badly beaten on Bloody Sunday, Lowery and her neighbors fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. to secure the right to vote for African-Americans. She believed “A voteless people is a hopeless people,” and put her life on the line, non-violently, to prove that anyone can change history, no matter how young or powerless they seem. The show features Damaras Obi as Lynda and an ensemble of African American singer/actors who bring the 60’s to life on the stage through the soul-stirring music of the Civil Rights Movement.
This show was developed at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Music, Art and Performing Arts in New York City. Ally Sheedy, known for her performances in The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire, as well as more recent leading roles in High Art, Psych and The Little Sister (2016), directed the powerful young actress Damaras Obi, and adapted Lynda Blackmon Lowery’s book into a one-person theater production, which was performed as a workshop at LaGuardia.
In the winter of 2016, over 500 people braved the bitter cold to attend Ms. Obi’s performance at Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School in Hudson, NY. In 2017, Bridge Street Theater in Catskill, NY presented four sold-out performances over the weekend of February 10-12. In January, 2018, the show ran for two weeks in New York City at the Center at West Park, and it opened the Black History Month Festival at Ebony Repertory Theatre in Los Angeles.
Everywhere we went, audiences cheered and cried and wanted to see Turning 15 in other cities. So, in the summer of 2018, we brought in Fracaswell Hyman, acclaimed Director/Actor/Writer in theater, TV and film, to add five more performers and thread music and dramatic projections of images from the movement throughout the show. Now we are hitting the Road, under the management of Columbia Artists Theatricals.
About the Loire Valley Theater Festival
The Loire Valley Theater Festival, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 company, founded in 2004 to bring together young theater artists from around the world to create multi-lingual versions of classic English and French plays in a 1000 year-old abbey in the Loire Valley. For three years, we presented performances in France and then moved to the United States, with “The Tempest Project,” a workshop for girls in New Orleans who had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. In New York’s Hudson Valley, we worked with a gifted singer/writer to create a multi-media project, “Crealitation,” and then, in 2015, began developing Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom for the stage. We believe in theater as a powerful way of bringing people of all ages together to walk in others’ shoes, promoting insight, mutual respect, and understanding among people of different backgrounds.
For more information about LVTF or school performances of Turning 15, contact Miranda Barry at Miranda@sheedylit.com or 646-919-0440