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Viola Davis' Young Production Company Enjoys Success w/ Very First Stage Production On WW1 Race Riots

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act March 13, 2014 at 5:50PM

Viola Davis' Young Production Company Enjoys Success w/ Very First Stage Production
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Camp Logn

It was in 2012 when Viola Davis and her husband Julius Tennon launched a production company called JuVee Productions, to expand the options for not just herself, but for black actors generally.


The assumption here was, naturally, that the company's emphasis would be primarily in film, and some TV. But it's focus is more expansive, and also includes, as I learned today, theatre, which should've been obvious from the get-go, especially since Davis is a stage veteran with a Tony Award on her resume.

But since this is primarily a film blog, it just never occurred to me that she'd also be producing content for the stage.

Color me corrected!

JuVee Productions has re-launched its very first stage production: a production of the award-winning show, Camp Logan, which is based on the compelling true story of 6 black U.S. soldiers during World War 1, leading up to the tragic 1917 racially-charged riot at their base in Houston, Texas.

The story goes... in April 1917, the U.S. entered World War I, neither a global power nor military power, ordering the construction of two bases: Ellington Field and Camp Logan, where drafted soldiers were trained. 

A few months later, a battalion of African American soldiers arrived in Houston to guard the Camp Logan construction site. About a month later, one of those soldiers tried to intervene when he saw police officers assaulting and arresting a black woman, dragged, partially-clothed, from her house. As a result, the officers beat and arrested the soldier as well, which led to an investigation by the Army Corporal, who was also beaten, shot at and arrested by the police, when he tried to arrange for the African American soldier's release. A "race riot" ensued, involving 156 armed black soldiers marching on the city, which left 20 people dead, in what has come to be known as the Camp Logan Riot.

That story could also make for a worthwhile film couldn't it? Maybe if it's a hit on the stage, Davis and Tennon might work towards developing it for the screen. Maybe that's already on their agenda. Films that center on African American soldiers during WW1 aren't exactly in abundance.

JuVee Productions actually debuted the play in 2012 (although we weren't aware of this at the time), and it was reportedly very successful, and won a number of awards. It was apparently quite the hit because they revived it in January of this year, and is set to run through March 23, 2014, at the Theatre Theater, in Los Angeles (5041 W. Pico Blvd). So you really don't have much time left to see it, if you're in LA. 

Directed by Alex Morris and written by Celeste B. Walker, the production stars Dorian Christian Baucum, Bill Lee Brown, Kaylon Hunt, Dwain Perry, Jacob Sidney, Lee Stansberry, and Sammie Wayne IV.

Click HERE to buy tickets. They are $15 each.

This article is related to: Viola Davis


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