Forget strawberry fizz, orange sherbet, and piña colada. This Jelly Bellycomes in flavors such as asphalt, gun smoke, and cocaine. Presented by the African American Performing Arts Community Theatre (AAPACT), this gritty play, written by Charles Smith and first produced in 1985, centers on a newly released ex-con named Jelly Belly (Vaughn-Rian St. James) and his attempt to regain his throne as the top neighborhood pusher. Jelly Belly's quest hinges on re-enlisting his former goon, Kenny (Finley Polynice), who had reformed his drug-running ways before Jelly Belly jiggled back onto the scene. Kenny must now decide between slinging rocks and punching clocks. In its first five years of production, the play won several awards, including the Cornerstone National Playwriting Award, the Theodore Ward National Playwriting Award, and the NBC New Voices Award for its opening at the Penumbra Theatre Company in Saint Paul, Minnesota. AAPACT will bring Jelly Belly to the Wendell Narcisse Performing Arts Theatre at the African Heritage Cultural Center Friday.
Fridays-Sundays, 8 p.m. Starts: Sept. 9. Continues through Oct. 2, 2011