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One-Man Show on Novelist and Activist James Baldwin Returns to Cape May in Honor of Juneteenth

originally published: 06/12/2024

One-Man Show on Novelist and Activist James Baldwin Returns to Cape May in Honor of Juneteenth

(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- For the second year in a row, East Lynne Theater Company will host a Juneteenth staged reading of "Citizen James, or The Young Man Without a Country" to honor the national holiday. The free event will take place on Saturday, June 22, 2024 at the Cape May Rotary Park Bandstand. Showtime is 2:30pm.

“Citizen James,” written by Kyle Bass, resident playwright of Syracuse Stage, is a one-man show that relays the story of acclaimed novelist and civil rights activist James Baldwin, played by New York-based actor James Alton. The reading is part of a day of activities co-hosted by the Harriet Tubman Museum of New Jersey.

“Juneteenth is an important holiday with deep, historical ties to the Cape May community,” said Craig Fols, artistic director at East Lynne. “We are honored to collaborate with the Harriet Tubman Museum for a celebration that our entire community can enjoy.”

“Citizen James” takes place in 1948, when a young Baldwin leaves the U.S. for Paris with $40 and no knowledge of the French language. Try as he may, he cannot fully leave his past behind, and it’s the violent reality of a racist homeland that sets him on a path to becoming one of the world’s most brilliant authors, as well as one of the most powerful voices of the Civil Rights era.

“We are proud to share the Rotary Park stage with the Harriet Tubman Museum, and excited to bring this reading to our community again for an opportunity to learn about James Baldwin’s extraordinary life,” said Fols. “’Citizen James’ is an inspirational story that beautifully weaves together our country’s violent past with a sense of hope for our future.”

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The event kicks off at 12:30pm with updates from the museum on its summer programming, followed by the Eddie Morgan Trio, sponsored by the museum, at 1:00pm, then East Lynne’s staged reading of “Citizen James” at 2:30pm.

Tickets are free, however, advanced registration is recommended as there is limited capacity. Complimentary tickets can be found at Bring a beach chair or blanket.

Rotary Park can be found at 400-498 Lafayette St. in Cape May. East Lynne is located at the Cape May Presbyterian Church at 500 Hughes Street.

Founded in 1980, East Lynne Theater Company (ELTC) was the first theater in the country with the unique mission of presenting and preserving America's theatrical heritage. The New York Times listed ELTC as one of the 75 top summer theaters in North America. In 2018, the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly passed a joint legislative resolution recognizing ELTC as “one of the state’s most important cultural treasures.”



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