"The Amen Corner" by James Baldwin

City Paper

One of James Baldwin’s only plays, “The Amen Corner,” is an inspired choice for the Arena Players’ 2014-15 season. Not only is Baltimore the home of the James Baldwin Literary Society, and the writer’s sister, but the play’s treatment of the role of religion, poverty, and prejudice in African-American life are as timely as ever. The play focuses on the family of Margaret Alexander, a single mother and pastor. The return of her husband, whom everyone including their son assumed ran off, reveals that Margaret left him and causes a turn of events that strip Margaret of everything, forcing her to reevaluate the role of religion in life at the same time that her son finally finds the courage to run off himself and pursue his dream to be a jazz musician. As the oldest continuously operating African-American theater in the U.S., Arena Players is also the perfect troupe to showcase Baldwin’s play. The rest of their season, including August Wilson’s “Jitney” and Amiri Baraka’s “Slave Ship,” is exciting, but we’re especially jazzed about “The Amen Corner.”  8 p.m., 801 McCulloh St., (410) 728-6500, arenaplayersinc.com, $18. 

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