Center Theatre Group And The Springhill Company Bring "Fetch Clay, Make Man" to The Kirk Douglas Theatre
June 1, 2023
As The SpringHill Company embarks on its first theatrical endeavor in partnership with Center Theatre Group, together the two entertainment companies will bring Will Power’s play about two cultural icons Muhammad Ali and Stepin' Fetchit to Los Angeles audiences.
Center Theatre Group will work alongside The SpringHill Company’s Emmy Award-winning studio team, founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, to bring Will Power’s “Fetch Clay, Make Man” to the Kirk Douglas Theatre in June. Emmy Award winner Debbie Allen will make her Center Theatre Group directorial debut. “Fetch Clay, Make Man” will play June 18 through July 16 in Culver City with the opening set for June 25, 2023. Please note that these are different dates than previously announced.
“We’ve been eager to expand into the world of theatre, but it was imperative to us that our first foray to the stage combines our pillars of creative excellence, empowerment and culture shifting content,” said Philip Byron, SpringHill’s lead producer on the production. “It’s only fitting that we would tell a fresh story about ‘The Greatest of All Time’ after producing our 2020 Emmy-winning documentary ‘What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali’ for HBO. We are equally excited that Will Power’s powerful play sheds a light on Lincoln Perry aka Stepin’ Fetchit, a pioneer in the entertainment industry who we’ve discovered is unknown by a younger generation. Collaborating with Debbie Allen is simply a dream come true, our design team is filled with aces and our partners at Center Theatre Group are the best in the business,” said Byron. “We truly assembled an all-star team for our journey to opening night at the Kirk Douglas Theatre this summer.”
“This partnership with The SpringHill Company proves just how important and vital theatre is to the grand entertainment ecosystem. Center Theatre Group has brought to life many productions that are now part of the theatrical canon, but that can’t be done without partners like The SpringHill Company,” said Center Theatre Group’s Associate Artistic Director Tyrone Davis. “As SpringHill navigates into the world of theatre, we are honored to be collaborating with them on their first theatrical production. Combined with their track record of bringing moving stories to life, Will Power’s poetic writing about two dynamic figures in history, and Debbie Allen’s expert directing, we know that ‘Fetch Clay, Make Man’ is going to be a knockout success.”
In the days leading up to one of his most anticipated fights, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay) forms an unlikely friendship with the controversial Hollywood star Stepin Fetchit (born Lincoln Perry). With a rhythmic and enticing script by award-winning performer and playwright Will Power and direction by Tony nominated Debbie Allen, “Fetch Clay, Make Man” explores the improbable bond that forms between two drastically different and immensely influential cultural icons. One a vibrant and audacious youth, the other a resentful and widely resented relic — each fighting to form their public personas and shape their legacies amidst the struggle of the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1960s. This true story is as powerful and poetic as Ali himself while also humorous and irreverent like Fetchit’s signature act. Finding commonality in contradiction, “Fetch Clay, Make Man” examines the true meaning of strength, resilience, and pride.
“I am thrilled to take the reigns as director of Will Power's dynamic ‘Fetch Clay, Make Man,’ which unearths the real-life relationship between Cassius Clay, the Champion fighter/poet and Stepin Fetchit/Lincoln Perry, the Vaudevillian/comedian, considered the first Black actor to have a successful career in old Hollywood,” shared director Debbie Allen. “The play explores universal themes like racism, politics, sexism, and religion through a mythic realism that is certain to provoke much thought and debate from audiences.”
“‘Fetch Clay, Make Man’ highlights the ebbs and flows of public personas and how one builds a legacy. This will be a rewarding collaboration that I am thrilled to bring to audiences in the intimate Kirk Douglas Theatre,” said playwright Will Power. “‘Fetch Clay, Make Man’ illustrates the vast tensions that exist between a celebrities’ public persona and the complexities of their true selves that bubble and brew underneath. In that sense, it is a very Los Angeles story, as the struggle to craft ones’ own image that actor Stepin Fetchit, movie mogul William Fox and a soon-to-be-icon Muhammad Ali wrestle within the play, still resonate in the 21st century.”
Tickets for “Fetch Clay, Make Man” are currently on sale and start at $30. They are available through CenterTheatreGroup.org, Audience Services at (213) 628-2772 or in person at the Center Theatre Group Box Offices (at the Ahmanson Theatre) at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012 or at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (open 2 hours prior to curtain) at 9820 Washington Blvd. in Culver City 90232. Performances run Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.