March 11, 2015

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Young Actors Take to the Stage
At Housatonic Community College

Elementary, High School Students

Original Play Performed

BRIDGEPORT – Nineteen members of Bridgeport’s Creative Youth Productions took to the stage at Housatonic Community College recently to perform Chasing Freedom, an original play about Black History.

The play, a collaboration of the program’s 11 youth leaders, focused on the lives of four famous Black Americans and their individual struggle for freedom. The four were Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, and Ella Fitzgerald.

The play consisted of a narrative vignette from each. “It addresses the obstacles each had to overcome to achieve freedom, including the specific troubles they encountered and what they went through in addressing them” said Donna Sue DeGuzman, CYP founder, Master Artist and Executive Director.

The production included noteworthy performances by Tysonlee Newman as Douglass, Dyshona Richards as Truth, Chanel Sneed as Tubman, Latrell Smith as Tubman’s husband, Karie Jackson as Ms. Alice Busybody, and Archeiline Youte as Fitzgerald. Songs were performed by Keith Shaw, Kaylah Rowland and Young, who sang George Gershwin’s “Summertime” as Fitzgerald.

A tip of the hat goes to HCC’s Theater Department, DeGuzman said. It made the college’s Performing Arts Center available for the play, and a stagecraft class worked with CYP on the elements of theatrical production.

A hundred students from the Cesar A. Batalla and James J. Curiale Elementary Schools participate in the program, de Guzman said. The 19-member cast of the play included 11 youth leaders and eight other students who auditioned for the play.

DeGuzman, who has taught theater at HCC, founded CYP in 2011to give Bridgeport students a voice, an opportunity to do original work, and a place to express themselves in dance and acting.

“Most students in the program gain self-confidence,” DeGuzman added. “They become comfortable standing up in front of of large groups of people and expressing themselves.”