Rome Neal and Ishmael Reed present
A Fundraiser Reading of
The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda
A two act play by Ishmael Reed
Directed by Rome Neal
With: Tom Angelo, Robert Mailer Anderson, Jesse Bueno, Roz Fox, Malika Iman, Maxx, Tommie J. Moore, Lisa Pakulski, Robert Turner, Monisha Shiva, and Valerie Donaldson
“Even as Reed has become part of the canon himself, he has remained prickly, resisting attempts to assimilate his work into any story that flatters American progress… But one of the interesting aspects of Reed’s play was its evident lack of envy. It portrays the character of Miranda as a kind of victim…” —The New Yorker, 1/19/19
“Reed understands the benefit of a spoonful of sugar, and his humor and wit do much to ease the characters off their soapboxes to meet the audience in a place that is smart and unpretentious, critical without cruelty.” —The Paris Review, 1/17/19
The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda is a two act play by Ishmael Reed about a playwright who is misled by a historian of white history into believing that Alexander Hamilton was an abolitionist. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a musical based upon this falsehood. Other historians would agree with Hamilton's grandson, Allan McLane Hamilton, author of The Intimate Life of Alexander Hamilton, who writes, "It has been stated that Hamilton never owned a negro slave, but this is untrue. We find that in his books there are entries showing that he purchased them for himself and for others." The ghosts of those slaves who were trafficked by Hamilton attempt to educate Miranda, including Harriet Tubman who teaches him about “The Underground Railroad.”
The main issue of the times during which Hamilton takes place was the expansion into Native American territory, yet no Native Americans appear in Hamilton. Two Native American scholars educate Lin-Manuel Miranda to Washington and Hamilton's policy about the Native-American presence. Not only are Native-Americans omitted from "Hamilton" but white indentured servants, even though indentured servants worked on both the Washington plantation and the estate of his wealthy father-in-law, General Philip Schuyler. After his education, Lin-Manuel Miranda confronts Ron Chernow, the author of Hamilton. It the author’s my hope that this play will form a rebuttal to the musical Hamilton, which has misled thousands of students.
Ishmael Reed is the winner of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship (genius award), the renowned L.A. Times Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award. He has been nominated for a Pulitzer and finalist for two National Book Awards and is Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley; and founder of the Before Columbus Foundation, which promotes multicultural American writing. The American Book Awards, sponsored by the foundation has been called The American League to the National Book Awards’ National League. He also founded PEN Oakland which issues the Josephine Miles Literary Awards. PEN Oakland has been called “The Blue Collar PEN” by The New York Times.
In June 2018, Ishmael Reed premiered his eighth play, "Life Among the Aryans," at the Nuyorican Poets’ Café. His seventh play, “The Final Version,” also premiered at the Nuyorican, in 2013. In 2012, “A Sampler of the Theater of Ishmael Reed,” was performed at the San Francisco and Oakland campuses of California College of the Arts, directed by Carla Blank. These performances were inspired by the New York retrospective, in November 2010 at the Nuyorican Poets’ Café, of excerpts from Ishmael Reed's plays, directed by Rome Neal. Backstage called Reed’s two act drama “Body Parts” “genius” when it premiered at the Nuyorican as a revised version of “Tough Love,” which premiered at Berkeley’s Black Repertory Theater. Four other Reed plays, including “Hubba City,” “The Preacher and the Rapper,” “C Above C Above High C,” and a musical version of “Mother Hubbard” have also received productions at the Nuyorican, under Rome Neal’s direction. A “gospera,” “Gethsemane Park,” with libretto by Reed and music composed by Carman Moore, was premiered April 1, 1998 at Berkeley’s Black Repertory Theater, and restaged in April, 1999 by San Francisco’s Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, under the direction of the late Stanley Williams, and in July, 2000 at the Nuyorican Poets Café, with Rome Neal directing. Besides the Dalkey Archive collection, 3 Reed plays appear in ACTION, Plays from the Nuyorican Theater Festival.