‘Monsieur Baptiste, the Con Man’ opens 20th anniversary season


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Music, dance and comedy that centers on family conflict and religious hypocrisy take to the stage Nov. 20-24 in the African American Theatre Program (AATP) production of “Monsieur Baptiste, the Con Man,” Roger Furman’s modern adaptation of Moliere’s “Tartuffe.”

    The play, along with workshops, a gala and other events, celebrate AATP’s 20th anniversary. It will be the last performance directed by Lundeana Thomas, who has been head of AATP for 18 seasons.

    Show times are 8 p.m., nightly Nov. 20-22 and Nov. 24. Plus, there will be a 2 p.m. matinee Nov. 23 and a 3 p.m. matinee Nov. 24. All performances will be at The Playhouse, 1911 S. Third St. and will include a free, public exhibit in the lobby area with posters and other materials from previous AATP productions.

    “Monsieur Baptiste” is a tale set in 19th century Haiti where the gens de couleur libres (free people of color) engage in a raucous battle over wealth and status. A religious con-man infiltrates a wealthy household until lustful passions for the lady of the house are exposed by a voodoo priestess.

    “The play explores the complications of a friend’s trust, the adverse actions of jealousy and the hypocrisy of a houseguest’s character,” Thomas said. “The play is hilarious; it’s a wonderful family show with surprising reveals of true love conquering all.”

    Other programs and events related to the anniversary celebration are:

    • Nov. 22 workshops by Broadway director and producer Woodie King, 10 a.m., and actress Jasmine Guy, 3:30 p.m. The public is invited to observe the workshops at Thrust Theatre, 2314 S. Floyd St.
    • Nov. 23 public 20th Anniversary Gala with a full meal and Harlem Renaissance entertainment by AATP students directed by theater professor Nefertiti Burton. The event begins at 7 p.m., University Club. King, Guy and producer Voza Rivers will be honored with Trailblazer Awards for their leadership in African American theater. Tickets are $35 and are available by calling 502- 852-8443 or visiting http://uoflaatp.eventbrite.com.
    • March 27-29, 2014, performance of Carolyn Gage’s “Mason-Dixon” at 8 p.m. nightly by Thomas and her colleague, theater chair Rinda Frye at the Thrust Theatre. Both women are retiring in 2014.
    • The AATP program offers the nation’s only graduate certificate in African American theater according to the theater arts department. For information about play tickets call 502-852-6814 or visit http://louisville.edu/theatrearts.