Fourteen-year-old Milwaukee resident, Lonnae Hickman, will make her First Stage debut in the world premiere play TO THE PROMISED LAND playing at the Todd Wehr Theater at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts January 25 through February 10.
Set in late 1960s Milwaukee, the play seamlessly weaves together the story of Ruth, a young African-American girl reeling from the loss of her brother during recent Civil Rights actions, and that of Golda Meir, Israel’s first female prime minister, who had spent her formative years in Milwaukee. As Ruth draws on Golda Meir’s autobiography for inspiration a story between Milwaukee’s African-American and Jewish communities is shared as we follow both characters on their path to her own promised land.
Lonnae has been involved in theater for five years. Although this is her first show at First Stage, she has participated in many school plays. “My favorite role that I have played would be the character Melody in OUT OF MY MIND, a monologue I performed at age 7,” she said. Her favorite part of performing is being on stage and getting to tell a wonderful story for everyone to enjoy. Lonnae also shared why she loves to act. “I enjoy acting because you get to be someone else for a little while, someone completely different from you. While being at First Stage, I have learned that when you play a character, you really have to develop that character yourself and it’s not as easy as it sounds,” she said. Her favorite part of First Stage is not only the acting, but the amazing cast members she has met.
“The play is about the journey of a young person searching for truth while struggling with the tests that come with life in an urban setting,” said Director Sheri Williams Pannell. “TO THE PROMISED LAND serves as a catalyst to encourage dialogue about Milwaukee history and witness how one moment in time can impact the life of an impressionable young person,” she continued.
Lonnae has taken away many lessons from her experience in this show. She explained, “The main thing I have learned from TO THE PROMISED LAND is that all cultures can learn from one another and create a wonderful friendship.”
TO THE PROMISED LAND runs through February 10. For more information, visit www.FirstStage.org.
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