Ruben Santiago-Hudson will screen and discuss his film Lackawanna Blues during Black History Month
Film, television and Tony Award-winning theater actor and director Ruben Santiago-Hudson will visit Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design on Monday, Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. for a screening and discussion about his film Lackawanna Blues, during Black History Month.
The event is free and open to the public, and will take place in the Bossone Research Center's Mitchell Auditorium (3140 Market St.). As one of the Westphal College’s 2013 Rankin Scholars, he also will visit with students from the College’s television, film and video and theater programs on Feb. 25 – 26.
Santiago-Hudson is acclaimed for his work in which he tells stories of the African-American experience. He wrote Lackawanna Blues, an autobiographical play in which he portrayed himself and 20 different characters from his past, for New York’s Joseph Papp Public Theater. He later adapted it into a film for HBO that won the Humanitas Award and earned Emmy and Writers Guild of America nominations.
The film dramatizes the character of Santiago-Hudson’s primary caregiver when he was growing up in Lackawanna, N.Y., during the 1950s and 1960s. It is a montage of reminiscences, memories, testimonials and roman a clefs of “Miss Rachel,” or Nanny, as the character of young Ruben calls her. Largely abandoned by his parents, Ruben finds that Nanny becomes his surrogate family. Various incidents in Ruben’s and Nanny’s life are portrayed, with a large cast of quirky minor characters—friends, boarders, family members, visitors, relatives and so on—providing commentary on Nanny’s strength of character, intelligence and morality.
Most recently, Santiago-Hudson directed the revival of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Piano Lesson for New York’s Signature Theatre Company. According to Variety, “Under Ruben Santiago-Hudson's flawless helming, a brilliant cast makes this play live and breathe and sing for a new generation.” He also appeared on Broadway in Jelly's Last Jam and in the title role of Henry VIII for the New York Shakespeare Festival. He received the 1996 Tony Award for his performance in August Wilson's Seven Guitars.
On television, Santiago-Hudson starred as New York City Police Captain Roy Montgomery in the ABC series Castle, as well as Law & Order, NYPD Blue and The West Wing. He appeared in the films American Gangster, Coming to America and The Devil’s Advocate.