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Arena Stage features play on Paul Robeson's life

Friday - 1/17/2014, 3:20am  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new play exploring the life of artist and civil rights activist Paul Robeson is opening at Washington's Arena Stage.

Playwright and performer Daniel Beaty created the one-man show "The Tallest Tree in the Forest." The production had its world premiere at Kansas City Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse near San Diego. It runs through Feb. 16 at Arena.

The play explores Robeson's role in history with 14 songs and an onstage band. Robeson was the son of a slave who went on to college, law school and became a famous actor on stage and screen. He starred in "The Emperor Jones," ''Show Boat" and other productions.

Robeson also spoke out against racial injustice. But he was blacklisted in the 1950s McCarthy era amid questions over his Communist leanings.


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