From the 1920s through the 1970s, the Washington family helped build and shape a vibrant and thriving African-American community in Atlantic City’s Northside neighborhood. Their story is chronicled in “Growing Up in the Other Atlantic City,” a play based on author Turiya Raheem’s book, “Growing Up in the Other Atlantic City: Wash’s and the Northside.”
The play was adapted for stage and is directed by Pamela Hendrick, professor of Theatre at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in collaboration with Raheem.
“Growing Up in the Other Atlantic City” will make its debut in the Experimental Theatre at Stockton College’s Performing Arts Center in February. The production will take place from February 12-16 at the main campus, with an additional performance on Friday, Feb. 21 at Dante Hall Theater, 14 N. Mississippi Ave. in Atlantic City.
As the play moves through each decade of this true history, viewers witness the laughter, tears, ingenuity, hard work and commitment of one family’s pursuit of the American Dream.
“I am truly excited by the opportunity to work with Turiya Raheem and this talented group of performers. I am honored to be a part of bringing this story to life on the stage,” said Hendrick.
Raheem describes Hendrick as “great to work with, since she first approached me a few years ago. She told me from the beginning that she is all about collaboration and she has involved me in the adaptation at every step, which I truly appreciate, because this book is so close to my heart. After all, it's not only my story but my family's and community's. As a matter of fact, I dedicate the book to all the families of Atlantic City that have similar stories to tell.”
“Growing Up in the Other Atlantic City” features a unique cast made up of a Stockton student, a Stockton staff member and many community members. Every member of the cast has deep roots in Atlantic City. Many members of the cast, when asked where they are from, referred to themselves as “Atlantic City, born and raised.”
Student Ellis Bonds is the third generation of his family to live in Atlantic City. “I’ve been doing theatre since high school, and I knew I had to be a part of this play because it is about my home,” he said.
Diane Epps is the manager of Affirmative Action and Ethical Standards for Stockton and a member of the cast. “I grew up with Turiya, I ate at the restaurant and my dad was a musician that played there,” Epps said. “It’s my history and that’s why I wanted to be in the play.”
Stephan Jackson and Damien Ward are two community members cast in the upcoming production. Jackson and Ward both commented that this play is the hope for a new beginning in Atlantic City.
“Atlantic City is in a position of rebirth with the new mayor, and this play is the new beginning for the arts, awakening talent that was previously overlooked.” Jackson said. Ward added, “Seeing a real family bring their hopes and dreams to Atlantic City and accomplish what they want gives guys like me hope for the future.”
Performances at the Experimental Theatre, adjacent to the PAC, will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, Feb. 12-15, and at3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 16.
Tickets are $10 for General Admission and $8 for students and seniors with ID; tickets can be ordered online at www.stockton.edu/pac or by calling the Box Office at (609)-652-9000.
The Stockton Box Office is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. and an hour and a half before each performance.
The Stockton Performing Arts Center is located on the Stockton College campus at 101 Vera King Farris Drive in Galloway. For patrons with special needs, the Performing Arts Center offers wheelchair accessible seating, listening assistive devices, and large type programs. Please identify any needs you may have when making a reservation.
The play will also be performed at Dante Hall Theater in Atlantic City on Friday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
— News release from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey