Coker Theater Presents "Blues of Mister Charlie"

Hartsville, S.C. — Coker College Theater presents “Blues for Mister Charlie,” writer James Baldwin’s stirring drama about race relations, March 11, 12 and 13 and March 17, 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Watson Theater. Admission at the door is $5 for adults, $3 for students and children under 18, and free with Coker College ID. The Watson Theater is located in the Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center.

“Blues for Mister Charlie” addresses the moral crisis and agony of the civil rights era. Taking place around the murder of an African American by a white man in a small southern town, the story deals with complex themes of race, religion and cultural biases.

Published in 1964,, Baldwin based the play on the 1955 murder in Mississippi of 14- year old Emmett Till. He dedicated it to “Medgar Evers, and his widow and his children and to the memory of the dead children of Birmingham,” who were all victims of the civil rights movement. “Mister Charlie” in the play’s title was a phrase African Americans used for white men.

“Blues for Mister Charlie” debuted on Broadway in April 1964 and ran for 148 performances to critical acclaim. Directed by Burgess Meredith, it garnered a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play for Diana Sands.

The Coker College production of “Blues for Mister Charlie” is directed by Deborah Bloodworth, associate professor of theater. David Dawson, assistant professor of theater, is the set and lighting designer. Sophomore Arienne Thacker, a technical theater major from Myrtle Beach, is stage manager.

The 30-member cast in the play includes Coker College students Derek Winters and Robert O’ Hara as Lyle Britten, Kaylie Wilson as Jo Britten, Sierra Cunningham and Jayla Parks as Juanita, Anthony Peguese as Meridian Henry, and Zachary Diaz as Richard Henry. Cody Smith, a 2009 Coker College graduate, portrays Parnell James. Jon Shannon, a 1984 Coker graduate, is also in the play.


For more information, contact James Jolly, director of marketing and communications, 843.383.8018


Sierra Cunningham and alumnus Cody Smith rehearsing for “Blues for Mister Charlie.”


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