A Few Comments from Harry Bryce
by (listed at end)
This vivid memory is very close to my heart because it changed my life as an artist and humanitarian. Twenty years ago I thought my path was set. I had my own theatre company (Memphis Black Repertory Theatre) and was dutifully telling the stories of the African-American experience through theatre. Along came a man named Jim Crabtree who protested “your stories need to be shared in places where hope and acceptance of other cultures is fleeting.” He extended the invitation to come to CCP in Crossville, to direct the musical Ain’t Misbehavin’.
Given the History of Cumberland County and Crossville’s connection to the KKK and a reputation as a SunDown County (which meant not safe for people of color after dark), my friends asked, “have you lost your mind?” Ignoring the unfaithful, I packed my bags and the rest is a glorious history. Jim Crabtree and his family have always been visionaries. Today CCP, Crossville and Cumberland County is a preferred destination for those visiting Tennessee seeking diverse cultural authenticity and artistic theatrical brilliance.
This writing first appeared in a February 2015 Broadway World article written by Jeffrey Ellis.
© 2015 Jeffrey Ellis/Harry Bryce
Used by Permission