Production set for February 18, 19 to coincide with the campus’s Black History Month celebration
The state of Indiana has two historically Black high school heritages; one being Gary Roosevelt and the other 160 miles south, Crispus Attucks High School.
Attucks was the educational, social, and civic hub of one of the most dynamic Black communities in the United States, located in Indianapolis near the IUPUI campus at Indiana Avenue and Ransom Place.
“The Price of Progress: The Indiana Avenue/IUPUI Story” is a stage play that offers an engaging, entertaining glimpse into the intriguing story of an Indianapolis district once dubbed, “The Harlem of the Midwest,” before and after its decline prompted by suburban migration, gentrification, urban decay, interstate development, and campus displacement.
The live production will be performed at the IU Northwest Arts & Science Building Theater at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., Friday, February 18; and at 4 p.m., Saturday, February 19, 2022. All performances are free and open to the public.
The riveting two-act play is filled with energetic, colorfully costumed choreography, a live jazz band, amazing vocal solos, the drama and comedy of an ensemble cast of professional actors, and historic video that visually transports theater attendees from the 1920s to the present day.
“The Avenue” was the nucleus for jazz musicians through the 1960s; surpassing Kansas City, Chicago or even New Orleans. Jazz greats with Indiana Avenue influence included Wes Montgomery, Pookie Johnson, Hoagy Carmichael, David Baker, Jimmy Coe, Freddie Hubbard, J.J. Johnson, Slide Hampton, Reginald DuValle, the Ink Spots, Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake.
Playwright Vernon A. Williams is a longtime Gary resident, who currently lives near Indianapolis. He is a graduate of Gary Roosevelt High School, as well as both Indiana and Purdue Universities. Williams is a journalist who has written for the Post-Tribune and the Gary Info newspaper. He was also an air personality on WLTH and was station manager of WGVE. He currently writes a weekly column for The Chicago/Gary Crusader.
“The Price of Progress” is directed by another Gary native, McKenya Dilworth, an educator, community activist, entrepreneur, and executive director of The Morning Bishop Theatre Playhouse Inc.
The play candidly ascribes perceived and actual complicity on the part of IUPUI, but also addresses healing measures assumed by campus leadership in more recent years. “The Price of Progress” celebrates the impactful first 50 years of IUPUI—one of the nation’s leading urban research campuses—
chronicled through entertaining drama, comedy, music, dance, and historical video.
The performances are sponsored by the Department of Minority Studies and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs. Masks are required indoors in public spaces on all IU campuses for IU students, employees, and visitors. Masks will be available in the entryways of campus buildings.
Use the following links to register:
- Friday, Feb. 18, 10 a.m. performance: https://go.iu.edu/4h4S
- Friday, Feb. 18, 7 p.m. performance: https://go.iu.edu/4goK
- Saturday, Feb. 19, 4 p.m. performance: https://go.iu.edu/4goL
Tickets will be available for will call pick-up 90 minutes before showtime.