Crossroads Theater co-founders Ricardo Khan and L. Kenneth Richardson will reunite for the first time in 25 years on Sunday, February 9. The occasion serves as the kickoff event for the New Brunswick theater’s “Legacy Month,” one that celebrates the theater’s history and contributions to black theater in America.
Khan and Richardson last worked together in 1988, when Crossroads Theater was centered in a since-demolished former factory building on Memorial Parkway, several blocks from the theater’s current Livingston Avenue home. They will join to reflect on the creation of the theater in the late 1970s, its subsequent artistic growth, changes that threatened the theater’s survival, and its current revival.
As the theater reviewer for the Trenton Times through a good portion of the 1980s, I will attest that Crossroads’ work at the time was the most exciting and fresh theater in New Jersey.
Productions for the Tony Award-winning group included modern classics and new works by celebrated American playwright August Wilson.
The company also commissioned or produced works by nationally significant New Jersey writers including Trenton playwrights Don Evans, a former theater instructor of the co-founders and the author of the theater’s televised production “A Love Song For Miss Lydia”; Ntozake Shange, author of the celebrated stage work “When Colored Girls Consider Suicide B”; and William Mastrosimone, a writer of Italian heritage whose Crossroads-commissioned play “Tamer of Horses” garnered him an NAACP Award.
The reunion begins with a noon reception and then a 2 p.m. on-stage discussion moderated by the Dr. Cheryl A. Wall, the company’s first board president.
Other “Legacy Month” events include a staged reading of “Repairing a Nation,” a new play by Obie Award-winner Nikkole Salter, on Sunday, February 16, at 2 p.m. The play looks at the economic calamity that caused the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma, race riots and explores the question of financial restitution.
Richard Wesley’s “Playbook” — a celebration of the playwright/screenwriter’s work with performances, video and testimonials — follows on Sunday, March 2, at 2 p.m.
Each event is a fundraiser that includes a reception at noon followed by the on-stage program at 2 p.m. There also will be a silent auction of luxury and historic items, as well as raffles. Tickets to the combined reception and on-stage presentation for each event are $75; or $25 for the presentation only.
The reunion is a unusual opportunity to experience theater history relived by those who lived it.
Crossroads Theater, 7 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick. Sunday, February 9. Noon. $25 or $75. crossroadstheatrecompany.org or 732-545-8100.