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“When We Were Colored, A Mother’s Story” is back! The play by Ginger Rutland adapted from her mother’s memoir of the same title will open at The Guild Theater in Oak Park February 14, 2020 and will run through March 14.

The play tells the story of a middle class black family who came to Sacramento, California in 1952 and what happened to them. What is it like to be the first black family in an all white neighborhood, or the only little “colored” girl in your third grade class? What happens when your husband enters a restaurant with his white co-workers and the waitress says, “I can’t serve you?”  It is the story of an ordinary black family living through extraordinary times in Sacramento and the nation.

The lead role of Eva Rutland will be played by her real life granddaughter, Chelsea Carbaugh-Rutland, an LA based actress who bears a striking resemblance to her deceased grandmother. Tarig Elsiddig will play Bill Rutland, Brooklynn Solomon will play Ginger, Bill and Eva’s daughter. Elizabeth Springett plays the female ensemble role and Ben Muller will play the male ensemble role. Rounding out the cast is Abasola Forrester who will play Ginger as a child and Ginger’s daughter Eva Jr. 

“When We Were Colored, A Mother’s Story” broke Box office records when it premiered last Spring at the Sacramento theatre Company. Playwright Ginger Rutland has brought it back because so many people were unable to see it because most performances had sold out. 

Because The Guild stage is bigger, the new production will be more elaborate and it will have more music than the STC play but Ginger promises it will retain the same poignancy and humor. “This is not another sad story about black grievance but one of triumph and fun. As my late mother would say –“enjoy.” 

© 2019 by Stara Gipson