From Slavery To The Whitehouse

It’s an undeniable fact that African-Americans have a rich history. As a people, they’ve been through trials and tribulations that many people can’t even imagine. The series of successes and struggles of Black culture is what inspired Phoenix Tyler to create the hit stage play, “From Slavery To The White House”. Starring Charlotte Smith, Patty Ford, Terrence Mardis, Woodrow Grover II, Ludi Muse, Brandon Reed, Woodrow Grover III, Summer Boston, and Phoenix Tyler,  “From Slavery to the White House” depicts each era of Black history from the tragic years of slavery up until the inauguration of President Obama.

Though it may be a historically based play, “From Slavery to the White House” is not just another stereotypical Black history story. Tyler uses a mixture of history, comedy, and emotion to make this play a good time for all ages and races. The play is narrated by a sassy elderly woman who introduces each scene and adds flavorful commentary throughout the play. Phases of African-American history are showcased through portrayals of slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, the introduction of Hip-Hop music, and more. No matter if you’re shedding tears of laughter or sadness, each scene has the perfect dosage of passion.

Shedding the spotlight on the woman behind “From Slavery To The White House”, Tyler is different from most playwrights. She not only writes her plays, but also produces, directs, and even acts in her productions. Having total control over her play, Tyler takes advantage of her freedom to cast actors that may oftentimes be overlooked. “If I wanna cast them, I can cast them.”, Tyler says. “I do it my way.”

When asked about the inspiration for the play, Tyler says that it started out as her audition piece to become a resident artist for DuSable Museum and grew into a 43-city tour production that Tyler is planning on filming.  Currently, she is working on three additional productions (“Child Support”, “We Still Got It”, and “Windows of the Soul”)

With so much success and such a bright future ahead of her, Tyler offers a few words of wisdom to young people with a dream: “Stay focused and go after your dream. If you’re passionate about something, that is what you’re supposed to be doing. Do that and the money will follow.”

By: Kennedy Ward, Junior, Morgan Park High School


Written by IVC Productions


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