This week, the Philip Hayes Dean play Paul Robeson arrives at the Theater Project, and stars local musicians Floyd Patterson II and Marcus Pitts. Though Robeson is often remembered for his remarkable low-end rendition of “Ol’ Man River” in Showboat, the actor’s life encompassed tremendous tides of history. He broke through plenty of racial barriers by attending college and even playing football in college and the NFL, and his political actions saw him blacklisted in the McCarthy era. He stuck to his pro-Soviet beliefs all the same.
Theater Project producing director Danny Eaton says of the show, “I was first introduced to the story of Paul Robeson when I saw Philip Hayes Dean’s play performed by the great James Earl Jones, and I knew that it was a story I wanted to bring to the Majestic stage. Locally, there was only one performer who had the stature and could rise to the challenge—Floyd Patterson II. … This play is a testament to a man of smoldering passion and a fierce and fervent belief in human dignity.”
Paul Robeson, Feb. 11, 7 p.m., Majestic Theater, 131 Elm St., West Springfield, $24-$27, 747-7797, majestictheater.com.