Solo Performer Spotlight
Saturday April 24, 2021
The Escape of Frederick Douglass
BY DARRYL VAN LEER
Immediately followed by a Q&A with
Founder/Artistic Director Stephanie Weisman
In this powerful, one-hour, two-act play based on The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Van Leer brings to stage a young scrapping Douglass, who gives an account of the most gut-wrenching events of his life. The audience relives moments with Douglass and his nurturing mother and grandmother, his life with the notorious slave master Edward Covey, as well as his thrilling and suspenseful train ride to freedom.
About the Performer
International Performer Darryl Van Leer has been captivating audiences for over two decades with his one-man dramatizations that he writes, directs, and produces, and in October, 2014 toured 7 cities in the countries of England and Wales. Recently Darryl Van Leer co-stared in the feature film Deadline starring Eric Roberts. Inspired by a true story, Deadline is adapted from Mark Ethridge’s novel Grievances. Van Leer’s most recent stage play entitled Rubycat Lawson’s Roadhouse Lounge was ten years in the making. A trained musician, Van Leer started his musical career at age 11. Through live music, acting, and singing, Van Leer showcases his full range of talent as he illuminates the need for music in today’s society. Ray Charles, Elton John, Little Richard and more are highlighted in this feel good production. Roadhouse is now being performed at theaters and performing art centers throughout the U.S. and abroad. In his original composition Power on Earth, Van Leer portrays some of the greatest legends and leaders of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The dramatization showcases Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X and more. Termed “emotionally riveting, masterful, and rousing” by Daily Variety, Power on Earth is a tour-de-force performance in which Van Leer creates living history. As a full time actor, Van Leer has shared the screen with such actors as James Earl Jones, Samuel Jackson, Gregory Harrison, Rue McClanahan, and Beau Bridges. Van Leer starred in TLC’s reality series The Messengers. Van Leer was one of the four finalists in the series that was devoted to finding America’s next great inspirational speaker. He starred in the role of a tough-love father in the Nickelodeon movie, First Time, the story of Jackie Robinson. He also played the father in Aaron Spelling’s weekly series Safe Harbor, co-starring with Gregory Harrison. Other television series in which Van Leer has co-starred in include One Tree Hill and Sheena. Additionally, Van Leer has been featured in two HBO original movies, The Second Civil War and Up Against the Wall, as well as Fox’s Steel Chariots and NBC’s original movie, Witness to the Execution. Darryl Van Leer, born in Madisonville, KY is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Communications. He has preformed at over 300 Universities in America and has been honored with awards from NACA (National Assoc. for Campus Activities) and Campus Activities Today and received a nomination for “Best Performance” from Hollywood’s NAACP Image Awards. Van Leer has also been recognized for his accomplishments as a Notable Kentuckian.
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