Phillip James Brannon to Star in The High Ground at Arena Stage | Playbill

Regional News Phillip James Brannon to Star in The High Ground at Arena Stage

The play centers on the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 and its continued reverberation.

Phillip James Brannon

Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage has announced the cast and creative team of The High Ground, a drama inspired by the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. Performances are scheduled for February 10-April 2.

The High Ground will star Phillip James Brannon (Macbeth), Nehassaiu deGannes (Much Ado About Nothing), DeJuan Christopher (Radio Golf), and DeShawn White (Gong Lum’s Legacy).

Written by Nathan Alan Davis, and directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, the play begins in present-day Tulsa, more than a century after the massacre destroyed the prosperous Greenwood District, killing hundreds of innocents.

“The play is about what happens when you get stuck in a loop of historical trauma, and are unable to process it,” says Sandberg-Zakian. “But it’s also a romance. It’s a love story. It asks ‘what kind of telling of this story could get us unstuck? Is it possible to hold onto our legacies of love and connection in spite of, or in addition to, our legacies of trauma and violence?’’

The creative team also includes set designer Paige Hathaway, costume designer Sarita Fellows, lighting designer Sherrice Mojgani, original music and sound designer Nathan Leigh, hair and wig designer Tommy Kurzman, dramaturg Otis Ramsey-Zöe, dramaturg Jocelyn Clarke, casting director Joseph Pinzon, stage manager Christi B. Spann, and assistant stage manager Jalon Payton.

Originally scheduled to be a part of Arena Stage's 2020-2021 season, The High Ground recently received a 2023 grant through the National Endowment for the Arts and the 2022 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.


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