Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective presents A Lesson Before Dying (in Black and White), to be performed Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from May 4-13. The production is part of the YWCA of Asheville’s Stand Against Racism campaign.
Different Strokes! has assembled two casts of excellent actors in order
to present the show with an innovative twist: a cast with a traditional
racial dynamic, and another with a reversal of the characters’ racial
“By using dual casts, we allow people to see the underlying truth of
the story of A Lesson Before Dying in a more open light,” explains Scott
Bean, the production’s co-director. A Lesson Before Dying, by Romulus
Linney, is based on Ernest J. Gaines’ 1983 novel of the same name.
The story is centered around an innocent young man wrongfully found
guilty of murder and sentenced to the death penalty. The play raises
questions of justice, humanity, and self-respect.
“With this show, we set the mood for you not only to imagine yourself
in someone else’s shoes, but to explore those feeling as you watch the
story unfold,” notes Stephanie Hickling Beckman, the production’s
co-director and Managing Artistic Director of Different Strokes!
A Lesson Before Dying (in Black and White) features CJ Breland, Gary
Gaines, Hamilton Goodman, Patrick Hackney, Jacquelyn Hallum, Victor
Hough, Emily Knust, Stephany Nezo, Horus Runako, Jim Slautich, and Noah
Tanner. Scott Bean and Stephanie Hickling Beckman co-direct and Tana
Jencks stage manages.
All performances will be held in the Asheville High School Theatre at
419 McDowell St in Asheville. This production is made possible in part
by the Asheville High School Thespian Society. Performance times are
7:30 p.m. Fridays, and 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Advance tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and college
students. Tickets may be purchased online at differentstrokesavl.com.
Tickets at the door are $13 for adults and $10 for seniors and college
students. Tickets for high school students are $6 and available at the
A portion of the production’s proceeds will benefit the YWCA of
Asheville. The YWCA’s Stand Against Racism campaign aims to raise
awareness about the racism that still exists and to insist racism can no
longer be ignored or tolerated.