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>> BOOK A TICKET FOR 'PULLMAN PORTER BLUES' AT ARENA STAGE page 2
'Pullman Porter Blues' tells the story of a generation of train porters

 Take an unforgettable ride with 'Pullman Porter Blues' as it pulls into Arena Stage.
Chris Bennion
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 12/27/2012

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Monroe is the man in the middle of these generations, caught between his father's outwardly subservient ways and his son's youthful impetuosity in giving up an education. His passionate efforts to recruit members for the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first African-American union established in America, is not appreciated by either his family or the white conductor, Tex (Richard Ziman). Tex constantly threatens to have him fired, even as he bemoans his own lonely situation in "900 Miles."

Sister Juba, portrayed by E. Faye Butler, boards the train with four band members, and the action starts. Once a porter maid, she is now a blues singer, perfectly matched to classics such as "Wild Women Don't Have the Blues" and "Trouble in Mind." Emily Chisholm as Lutie Duggernut, a stowaway with a gift for the harmonica, completes the cast.

Bottom line: This is one train ride of hardships and heartaches you will never forget. These unknown workers with a hope for a better future are heroes just as "The Brown Bomber" is in the boxing ring.

Sheila Wickouski, a former Fredericksburg resident, is a freelance reviewer for The Free Lance-Star.


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What: "Pullman Porter Blues" When: Through Jan. 6 Where: Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. S.E., Washington Cost: $45-$94 Info: 202/488-3300; arenastage.org