Al Letson's "Crumbs" His First Comedy Premieres

November 18, 2009 1 comment Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

National Slam Poetry Contender and National Public Radio personality Letson is no stranger to the Stage, but Crumb's is his first comedy. Letson is an awesome talent, and his new play puts him back into a theatre space with longtime stage collaborator, Barbara Williams.

Al Letson, one of the brightest lights of the Jacksonville Creative Community seems to have a bit of a hit on his hands.

Not only are audiences loving his performance, but the critics and professionals are raving about the production.

Indeed, with Barbara Williams and Lee Hamby involved with the production, it seems like it would be hard to come out with a mediocre performance.

This weekend is the closing of the show.  If you havent seen the performance, yet, Thursday, Friday and Saturday Nights are the last chance to see.

What people are saying about CRUMBS: a possibly true story

Michael Lipp(Director, Actor)
You absolutely MUST see Al Letson's "Crumbs" ... a MARVELOUS evening of theatre! Thanks, Al, Christina, and Steve for a GREAT night ... beautiful work and beautiful words ...And, of course, BARBARA for her inventive, but natural and fluid direction!!
November 13 at 10:33pm via Facebook for iPhone

Robert Arleigh White(Executive Director of Cultural Council)
Cheers to Al Letson on his new work, Crumbs, at Players-by-the-Sea: powerful writing, spot-on performances, good work kudos to all involved--YaY!!
November 8 at 9:11am Comment Like

Dick Kerekes (theater critic EU)
Al Letson is such a joy to watch on stage. He has the uncanny ability to connect with audiences, and it is a quality I have seen in his other performances over and over. He has an engaging sense of humor and great sensitively to what is going on around him. The production was very entertaining, well acted and well staged. Crumbs is highly recommended as a refreshing, original, and unique theatre adventure. Don't miss it.

The show will be ready when opening night arrives, but Jacksonville playwright Al Letson is still putting the final touches on the first draft of his newest play.

"This play is really young," Letson said. "I think of my plays like children. It isn't until I get to the fifth draft that I let them go and do their own thing."

The world premiere of Letson's latest work, "Crumbs: a possibly true story," opened Friday, Nov. 6, on the main stage at Players by the Sea. And while "Crumbs" features Letson in the starring role playing himself, the play is not an autobiography. Letson combines truth with fiction in his first comedy.

"While this is a fictitious piece, there is a lot of personal history that is 100 percent true," Letson said.

Players by the Sea has presented several of Letson's works, including "Julius X" and "Summer in Sanctuary," which is being considered for an off-Broadway run. Long-time collaborator and Players by the Sea Educational Director Barbara Colaceillo Williams is directing "Crumbs."

"This play truly demonstrates Al's commitment to being a playwright," Williams said. "Al is playing it incredibly close, and we're working up to the last minute."

Neither Williams nor Letson are troubled by the pressure, and Williams is impressed that Letson has been able to write "Crumbs" as his National Public Radio show, "State of the Re:Union," goes into full swing. Since Letson became the show's producer, writer and host after winning a National Public Radio contest two years ago, he has gained significant national exposure.

"Each radio show is like a little theater piece," Williams said. "Al is finally getting the recognition after years of writing, working and sacrificing for his art."

"Crumbs" is set in a bread factory where Letson reflects on his time spent working for a private investigator, a job he took to support himself between gigs. He is supported by an ensemble cast of actors who play multiple parts and serve as a Greek chorus.

Like other Letson shows, the playwright weaves poetry and music throughout to explore various themes, including intolerance in the workplace, racial and sexual stereotypes and the constant battle to find meaning in one's life while being pressured by society's expectations.

"It's the first play I have labeled a comedy," Letson said. "It's really funny. The whole situation is absurd."

Williams is designing the set. Players Technical Director Jim Wiggins leads the production team for lighting and set construction which includes Matt Calise, Wayne Phillips, Zeina Salame, Joe Schwarz, Lee Hamby and Jon Fine. Hamby is also costuming the show. Joanne Stovall is the stage manager.

Willie Evans Jr. has composed an original music score for "Crumbs." He was the composer and DJ in Letson's "Summer in the Sanctuary" play.

Other works of Letson include
The State of the ReUnion

Summer in Sanctuary

With David Pugh and Larry Knight in Griot (with intro by Bob White, Cultural Council CEO)

By Stephen Dare