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Mosaic Theater
Till Trilogy Opens at Mosaic Theater in DC
Oct 20 – Nov 02, 2022

the melton's in till trilogy

DC's Mosaic Theater opened its 2022-2023 season with “The Till Trilogy,” honoring Civil Rights icon Emmett Till in three plays performed simultaneously, in rotating repertory, for the very first time. The Till Trilogy runs through Sunday, November 20; there is no prescribed way to experience the three plays, productions can be seen in any order and can also be viewed individually as standalone experiences.
The three-play cycle honors the life and legacy of Emmett Till, with 10 actors playing 75 characters. We have reviewed one of the three, Benevolence, and will review That Summer in Sumner in the next issue. Additional information about the Trilogy follows the review.
I was more compelled to look and see if there was any grain of truth in the Melton’s story. It is true. Now, I must see the other two plays in this trilogy.

Review – Benevolence

My interests in seeing the portrayal of how two couples, one Black and one White, reacted to Till’s murder got me into the theater. The family tensions in the first half featuring the White couple, Roy and Caroline Bryant, was a bit too much for me. The second half, featuring Clinton and Beulah Melton, was powerful and dramatic, yet I dismissed their story thinking that the writer, as do too many, took license to embellish the main story for entertainment purposes.

While I was calculating the storyline, the set amazed me. The graphics choregraphed by projection designer Mona Kasra made the storyline three dimensional and was uniquely essential to enjoying the show.

The actors were convincing, especially Anna DiGiovanni as Caroline Bryant, Billie Krishawn as Beulah, and Vaughn Ryan Midder as Clinton.  Interestingly, Rolanda Watts, as the Melton’s grown daughter, had a very small role, but delivered an extremely powerful and convincing performance.

Partially out of Watt’s ending performance, I was more compelled to look and see if there was any grain of truth in the Melton’s story.  It is true. (The Forgotten Story of Clinton Melton)  Now, I must see the other two plays in this trilogy:

The Ballad of Emmett Till

With music, magic, and humor, The Ballad of Emmett Till introduces Emmett, or “Bo,” a boisterous Chicago adolescent teaming with curiosity and excited about his summer trip to Mississippi. On this mythic journey, his fateful encounter at a country store changes his life and our nation forever.

That Summer in Sumner (world premiere)

Drawn from courtroom transcripts, news accounts, and government records, world premiere That Summer in Sumner reimagines the Mississippi trial of the accused killers of Emmett Till and the quest of a team of African-American reporters to uncover the truth and get new evidence before the Jim Crow court. With palpable energy, That Summer in Sumner takes audiences along for the ride on the reporters’ perilous and sometimes hilarious journey.


A poignant and powerful look into the ripple effects of Emmett Till’s murder, Benevolence follows two couples, one Black and one white, as they struggle with their knowledge of the killing and the toll it takes on their lives and love. With rich language and harrowing honesty, Benevolence invites audiences to reflect upon how our collective history still resonates in our personal lives today.

More Activities

Additionally, Mosaic is partnering with more than 20 organizations on the companion Reflection Series, a citywide series of concerts, readings, and panels that offer audiences to creatively engage with themes of justice and activism.

Events in The Till Trilogy Reflection Series include:

Ford’s Theatre’s Cabinet Conversations: The Emmett Till Antilynching Act
Thursday, Oct 20 at 4PM
Virtual event

Post-Show Conversation
Telling Our Own Story: The Power of Black Journalism, featuring Dorothy Gilliam and Dr. Natalie Hopkinson of Howard University
Saturday, Oct 22 following 3p matinee
Atlas Performing Arts Center

Post-Show Conversation
The Push for the Emmett Till National Park
produced in collaboration with the National Parks Conservation Association
and featuring Dr. Alan Spears
Saturday, Oct 29 following 3PM matinee
Atlas Performing Arts Center

Post-Show Conversation
Reflections on Justice In Our City
produced in collaboration with ACLU DC
Saturday, Nov 5 following 3PM matinee
Atlas Performing Arts Center

Post-Show Conversation
Chicago Connections
Saturday, Nov 12 following 3PM matinee
Atlas Performing Arts Center

Art as Response to Tragedy Professional Development Curriculum for Educators
Ongoing, provided by Imagination Stage
The Signature Show featuring an original song inspired by The Till Trilogy
Date TBD
Signature Theatre

Click here to see the dates (Oct 4 - Nov 20) for all three performances

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