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COURT-MARTIAL AT FORT DEVENS OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Opening Night: March 18, 2012

Show NY TIMES SBW BACKSTAGE CURTAIN UP NY THEATRE
Broadway Review Broadway Review Broadway Review Broadway Review Broadway Review

Synopsis: Based on a true story, Court-Martial at Fort Devens documents the strike of black WACs (Women's Army Corps) during World War II. The women joined the Army to be trained as nurses, only to be relegated to cleaning toilets, mopping floors and doing laundry. When they are court-martialed for refusing to follow orders during wartime, they fight a pioneering battle for racial equality in the segregated U.S. military.

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Broadway Reviews

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:

"“Court-Martial at Fort Devens,” at the Castillo Theater, depicts a little-remembered insurrection in the waning months of World War II. A detachment of black members of the Women’s Army Corps, who had enlisted to be trained as medical technicians at Fort Devens in Massachusetts, had their classifications changed and were reassigned to work as hospital orderlies. After striking, then refusing orders to return to work, two of the women faced a court-martial. While largely overlooked, the conflict was covered by the black press, with an N.A.A.C.P. lawyer taking part in what was considered a battle for racial equality in the military. Even Eleanor Roosevelt got involved."

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SHOW BUSINESS WEEKLY REVIEW:

"If you were to ask an educated U.S. citizen what African-American woman is most strongly associated with the birth of the modern civil rights movement, chances are great that the answer you would get is the activist Rosa Parks. But more than a decade before Parks refused to obey a bus driver’s orders to give up her seat to a white passenger, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott, some lesser-known women pioneers resisted racial segregation in the military. Court-Martial at Fort Devens is inspired by their groundbreaking story. Jeffrey Sweet uncovered this important piece of history, which had been neglected for the most part by the major—white—press. In the notes at the end of the script, Sweet explains that he altered and condensed elements of the actual case for dramatic purposes and due to the limitations of the official records. Court-Martial at Fort Devens takes place during World War II, with a group of African-American women joining the Women’s Army Corps in the hopes of being trained for careers as medical technicians by working in the army hospital ward in Fort Devens, Mass."

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BACKSTAGE REVIEW:

"“Court-Martial at Fort Devens,” Jeffrey Sweet’s history-lesson play, is excellent for the first hour. Its message of racial prejudice hits hard at our sense of ethics, even though the presentation of the perturbing events is emotionally uninvolving."

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CURTAIN UP REVIEW:

"Do we really need another World War II play? If that play Jeffrey Sweet’s Court-Martial at Fort Devens, then the only answer is yes. "

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NY THEATRE REVIEW:

"Court-Martial at Fort Devens is a fascinating (and necessary!) historical play by Jeffrey Sweet about a group of African American women in World War II. It is about standing up for what you believe in and peaceful resistance. While the production itself is uneven at times, it features some stunning performances and is accessible and inspiring."

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