World Premiere of ‘Something Moving’ at Ford’s Theatre a Spotlight on Atlanta’s First Black Mayor

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

A world premiere play — and a unique “historic storytelling” for the legendary downtown theatre — is taking the stage at Ford’s Theatre this fall.

Pearl Cleage’s Something Moving: A Meditation on Maynard, will examine the impact of Mayor Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Jr., Atlanta’s first Black mayor. Told through the voices of Atlanta citizens past and present (though the production cast actually features an ensemble of DC-area locals), Something Moving is personal for the playwright as well.

Cleage was once Maynard’s speechwriter and Director of Communications, and she says that her own experiences during that time were “life-changing.”

“I wanted to look at that moment as a time when many different communities in Atlanta came together in a way they never had before to elect this man we all felt was absolutely the right person to lead us through this transition period,” Cleage said in a release.

“I wanted to write a play that allowed me to create characters that would represent all the different constituencies that came together to elect Maynard our mayor. I wanted to ask myself (and my audience) what makes a great leader? I wanted to explore what we as citizens owe those leaders once we identify them. In these turbulent times when there is so much distrust of politicians and politics, I wanted to look back at a moment when we trusted the process and had great hopes invested in the outcome of every election. Maynard Jackson was elected less than 10 years after the Voting Rights Act. What did that kind of change mean for a city and its people?”

Cleage sets the play in present-day Atlanta, but soon the story travels back 50 years as citizens of the city recollect and reflect upon the significance of the once-in-a-lifetime election that changed Atlanta.

Marking the 50th anniversary of Jackson’s election, Something Moving explores the significance of Atlanta’s First Black Mayor.

Performances of the new play continue through October 15, 2023.

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