Three-time Emmy Award© winner Charles "Roc" Dutton brings his critically acclaimed, autobiographical, one-man stage play From Jail to Yale: Serving Time on Stage to Chicago for the first time for two performances only, at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts Performance Hall at the University of Chicago, 915 E. 60th Street, Wednesday and Thursday, February 20 and 21, at 7:30 p.m. The show tells the story of Dutton's journey from prison in Baltimore to the Yale University Drama School to theatrical and television success. Best known for his role in the 1990s television series Roc, Dutton is also a highly accomplished stage and film actor and a director-having originated roles in multiple plays by August Wilson and, most recently, directed and starred in the 2012 film The Obama Effect and the upcoming movie Must Be the Music.
Proceeds from the performances will benefit the Chicago Youth Leadership Academy, a program that exposes youth from high-risk neighborhoods to college life through a collaborative effort of the Chicago Police Department's 003rd and 007th Districts and the University of Chicago's Office of Civic Engagement.
"The Chicago Youth Leadership Academy prepares young people in challenging situations to take advantage of educational and other opportunities that come their way, and it is one of the ways the University of Chicago partners with the city and with local organizations to help strengthen communities," said Derek Douglas, the University's Vice President for Civic Engagement. "We are honored that Charles Dutton has chosen to contribute his time and talent to bring his personal story to Chicago to support this program."
Dutton became familiar with the CYLA during a visit to Chicago in 2012 while working on his satire, The Obama Effect. He noticed police officers leading students in the program on an outing around Hyde Park and approached the group. After learning more, he expressed a strong interest in helping support the program.
"It is a thrill to have such an esteemed actor recognize and identify with what we are trying to accomplish through the academy," said 007th District Police Officer Charles O'Connor, director and co-founder of the program. "Over the past four years, more than 130 youth have benefited from CYLA, and we hope Charles Dutton's support will help raise both awareness and additional support."
Charles Dutton is a three-time Emmy Award-winning actor and director. While best known for his role in the television series Roc, he made his first mark on stage. He originated roles in critically acclaimed works by August Wilson, including Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (for which Dutton was nominated for a Tony Award©), Joe Turner's Come and Gone and The Piano Lesson (for which he was also nominated for a Tony; he received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for the television version). Dutton has appeared in more than 50 films, including Aliens 3, Cookie's Fortune, A Time to Kill, Blind Faith, 10,000 Black Men Named George and The Murder of Mary Phagan. His critically acclaimed performance have garnered him several awards, including two Emmys and three NAACP Image Awards. He also won an Emmy for his directorial skills in the gripping HBO mini-series The Corner, which explored the ravaging effects of crack cocaine in his native Baltimore. Dutton's latest projects include Must be the Music, a film about corruption in the music industry, and The Obama Effect, a satirical film about the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Dutton wrote, directed and starred in the movie.
The Chicago Youth Leadership Academy (CYLA) provides African-American youth in grades 8 - 12 with constructive alternatives to gangs, drugs, teen domestic violence, and other social and emotional issues facing low-income children and their families in high-risk neighborhoods. Through collaboration with the University of Chicago, CYLA students spend three weeks during the summer living in college dorms and utilizing campus facilities. The program targets Chicago Public School students who live within a five-mile radius of the University and focuses on helping them become mentally prepared for learning. The majority of the participants' families live below the poverty level. The CYLA began in 2009 as a one-week pilot program serving 30 male youth. In 2012, 42 students, male and female, participated in the program. The CYLA is organizing the Dutton performances, with support from 003rd and 007th Districts of the Chicago Police Department and the University of Chicago's Office of Civic Engagement, UChicago Medicine's Urban Health Initiative, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, and Court Theatre.