Behind the Curtain

Official Blog of International City Theatre

ICT playwright pens own version of The Huxtables

May 13th, 2011

Many people don’t know that “The Cosby Show” was actually based on the material of Bill Cosby’s standup act. Even more people probably don’t recognize the social impact that the show had on America. It portrayed an educated and affluent African-American family, a distinct difference to mainstream racial stereotypes. John Henry Redwood, playwright of International City Theatre’s upcoming production The Old Settler, also wrote sincere stories about the African-American experience with grace and humor.

After serving in the Marines, Redwood earned master’s degrees in religion and history, as well as a doctorate in religion. He also took acting classes and quickly found himself with a theatrical career, appearing on Broadway in “Guys and Dolls” and across the country in many August Wilson plays.

Redwood became a playwright late in life because he explained he could not find enough satisfying parts as a black actor. “There are a lot of stories, and people are cursing, selling dope to prostitutes—and I know these people,” he said. “But I know other people also. These are the people I choose to write about.”

The Old Settler is a fiery comedy set in Harlem 1943 about two African-

John Henry Redwood in August Wilson's FENCES

John Henry Redwood in August Wilson's FENCES

American sisters and what happens when a young fellow newly arrived from the deep south rents a room in the apartment they share.

John Henry Redwood made it a point to write about real people. His plays depict characters you could meet any day in your own life. Like Bill Cosby, he just wanted to tell the complete story.

The Old Settler runs June 3 – June 26 with low-priced previews May 31 – June 2. Performances run Thursdays through Sundays at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. For tickets, please call the box office at 562.436.4610 or visit

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