The Joy Theater will present award-winning producer/director Tommye Myrick’s production of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

The stage play is based on the 1967 classic movie of the same title about interracial marriage during an important era of our country’s history. The film is listed by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 films in the last 100 years and starred Sidney Potier and Katharine Hepburn.

The drama portrays a positive and, at times, comedic representation of the controversial subject of mixed marriages. It unfolds when the Civil Rights movement gripped the nation, and Americans were forced to face racial tolerance, acceptance and diversity.

The play marks the first multi-run live theatrical production at the Joy since its post-Katrina re-opening.

Main characters for the local production are Vicky Illk, who plays Jo Anna Drayton, and Nicoye Banks, who portrays Dr. John Prentice. The “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” cast also includes a host of veteran performers: Carol Sutton as Matilda Banks, Dane Rhodes as Matt Drayton, Janet Shea as Christina Drayton, Harold Evans as John Prentice Sr., Gwendolyn Foxworth as Mary Prentice, Garth Currie as Monsignor Ryan, and Margeaux Fanning as Hillary St. George.

Evans, who plays the father of the groom, says the timing of the production could not be more salient. Interracial unions were still taboo when the movie was first released, but today the first Black President of the United States who was recently inaugurated for his second term is the product of such a union. And his presidency has served to bring issues of race in America to the forefront of the national consciousness in varied ways.

“People need to seriously look at social issues in this country,” Evans says. “We have fallen under the delusion that since Obama was elected everything is OK. In some ways, it’s worse now.”

The play opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22. Additional performance dates and times are as follows: 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, 8 p.m. Friday, Mar. 1, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Mar. 2, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 3, 3 p.m.

Tickets can be purchase by contacting Ticket Master at (800) 745-3000 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.

The New Orleans Tribune

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