If you came of age during the 1980s, you may well have fond recollections of Ally Sheedy: one of the young “Brat Pack” actors associated with films like The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire. Though no longer a huge star, Sheedy has continued to work steadily in movies, television and onstage in the decades since. She won a pile of acting awards for the indie film High Art in 1998, became the first woman to play the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch Off-Broadway the following year, more recently had a recurring role in the USA Network series Psych and even did a cameo in last year’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
But Ally Sheedy’s steady gig of late, while raising a son (who is now a student at Bard College), has been co-teaching film and theater classes for junior and senior students at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Music, Art and the Performing the Arts in New York City. It was there that she met a promising young author/actress/director/singer named Damaras Obi. Together at LaGuardia High, they developed a stage adaptation of Lynda Blackmon Lowery’s award-winning autobiography for young readers, Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom. They’re bringing the show to Catskill’s Bridge Street Theatre for three performances this weekend.
Lynda Blackmon was the youngest of the 300 marchers to make the full historic trek from Selma to Montgomery that eventually led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Her account of the march was selected by the American Library Association as one of 2015’s five top nonfiction books for young adults, was cited as a Kirkus Best Book and a Booklist Editor’s Choice, and won the 2016 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor. Jailed nine times before her 15th birthday, Blackmon’s stirring tale lets audiences of all ages experience the courage it took to help change American history.
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom will be presented on the Bridge Street Theatre Mainstage on Friday and Saturday, February 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday, February 11 and 12 at 2 p.m. Both Saturday performances will be followed by a talkback with the author, actress and director.
Tickets cost $20 general admission, $10 for students, and can be reserved by calling (800) 838-3006 or (518) 943-3894 or by visiting http://turning15.brownpapertickets.com. Tickets will also be sold at the door 45 minutes prior to each performance on a space-available basis. The Bridge Street Theatre is located at 44 West Bridge Street in Catskill.