“We, Too, Are America” has been described as a “must-see show that’s a thoughtful study on America’s collective diversity.”
The concert reading begins at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, at the South Pasadena High School at 1401 Fremont Ave. It is free for all to attend.
James Reynolds said the production is a variation from his one-man show, “I, Too, Am America,” which he wrote and performed as he toured colleges across the country.
“I, Too, Am America” is a commentary on the African-American experience from the time the first slaves were brought to this country up to the present day. It is based on a poem, “I, Too,” by Langston Hughes, Reynolds added.
“I used to do it years ago,” Reynolds said. “And what we’re using for this particular production are pieces of poetry experiences that people of color have dealt with over the decades, and personal stories that talk about everything from immigration to Jim Crow and celebrating 4th of July.”
Reynolds said he was approached a few months back by South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti, who wanted to include an element of diversity in the city’s traditional 4th of July celebration.
“One of the reasons we live here reminds me of my Midwestern home, and Michael felt that would be good on this particular fourth of July as the city celebrates in this traditional way with parades and ice cream, socials and fireworks to also bring in the element of diversity,” Reynolds recalled. “It’s quite a diverse community and 4th of July seems to be an appropriate time to celebrate that.”
What Reynolds wants the audience to learn from the production on Sunday is for them to have a wider perspective of what they are as Americans.
“I’d like them to take away that the country is bigger than they thought it was, that there’s more that goes into this nation than the headlines and sometimes fanciful stories that we hear about American history, that each one of us is actually a piece of that history,” Reynolds said. “Each one of our families brings their history, and we put it together and melt it together to create a common story, a common novel of a nation that is still building and still learning and still experimenting.”
James and Lissa Reynolds have been running the Fremont Centre Theatre since 1997, after they bought the building at 1000 Fremont Ave. Dedicated to doing original work, the Reynolds have created a number of plays that have become Equity productions, where everyone that’s involved – stage managers, directors, actors, writers – are considered professional and receive a base rate and other benefits.
James Reynolds, who has played the stalwart police Commander Abe Carver on NBC’s “Days of Our Lives,” has been nominated for four Emmy awards and four NAACP Image Awards.
Lissa Reynolds is President of the California Performing Arts Centre and has produced and co-produced over 40 plays, most recently Fremont Theatre’s Ovation-recommended production of “TopDog/Underdog.” She has received the Red Carpet Award from Women In Theatre, the Gold Crown Award from the Pasadena Arts Council, the Arts and Business Award from The South Pasadena Chamber Of Commerce, among many others. As an actress, Lissa Reynolds has starred with Jonathan Winters in the film “Say Yes,” and currently tours in the award-winning solo show of Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey’s “A Woman Of Independent Means” here and abroad.
Sunday’s “We, Too, Are America” production is free to watch. To register, visit: