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Lincoln Theatre Gets Resident Acting Company


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Washington’s historic Lincoln Theatre will welcome its first resident company this fall.


True Colors Theatre Company, a national acting company based in Atlanta, will perform Langston Hughes’ Tambourines to Glory in September.


According to spokesmen from both the Lincoln Theatre and True Colors, the partnership began a few years ago.


"It initially started almost two years ago when the board president of the Lincoln Theatre spoke to the president of the True Colors Board of Directors," said Deneene Brockington, the Lincoln Theatre's general manager. "There was a common interest of wanting to expand offering African-American professional theater in D.C."


Kenny Leon, the True Colors artistic director, and True Colors board members decided the neighborhood along the U Street corridor and the history of the Lincoln Theatre were a "natural fit" for True Colors, said company Communications Director Jenny Constantino.


"Kenny feels like the nation’s capital and Atlanta, the capital of the south, both have a rich African-American culture... the partnership seemed to fit," Constantino said.


True Colors is finishing its inaugural season in Atlanta this spring. The company’s mission is to create theater "grounded in Negro-American classics," interpret world drama and commit to diverse new voices.


According to Trista Hargrove, a True Colors spokeswoman in Washington, True Colors plans to grow into a national touring company based in both Atlanta and the District. True Colors will perform shows in Atlanta first and then bring them to the District. The company will have residence in both cities, she said.


The Lincoln Theatre currently serves as a rental house, but is focusing on transitioning the theater to be able to present its own series, Brockington said.


"The True Colors partnership represents us transitioning into that mode," she said.


The partnership makes sense, Constantino said.


"True Colors is a theater company without a theater, and the Lincoln Theatre is a theater without a company," she noted.


True Colors’ partnership with the Lincoln Theatre begins with a two-week production this fall with an increase in the number of productions to two or three next year.


It is important for the company to connect with the community, Hargrove said. True Colors plans to use a local choir in this fall’s gospel-inspired performance. Tambourines to Glory is tentatively set to open Sept. 16.

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