Actor/director/playwright Herb Newsome is featured in the one-man show ‘Freeman in Paris’ offered as the Lyric Repertory Company’s experimental InterACT show, with reamaining performances slated for July 22 and 28.

LOGAN – The ongoing one-man show Freeman in Paris seeks to answer the mystery of what ever happened to Carter Freeman?

The play by gifted actor/director/playwright Herb Newsome is this seasons’ InterACT offering by the Lyric Repertory Company, intended as an opportunity to showcase original work by Lyric performers and to give them a chance to interact with audience members in a candid post-show give-and-take session.

Newsome also expertly performs in this season’s Fox on the Fairway and Fences, but Freeman in Paris is obviously close to his heart.

The one-man play tells the story of the fictional Carter Freeman, a blues and jazz musician in the post World War II era.

Freeman is a peacemaker, a go-along to get-along kind of guy. But he is an unintended magnet for the senseless racial violence that claims the lives of his brother Woodrow, his father and a fellow band member.

Freeman’s one claim to fame is a night in Paris where his band performs with jazz legend Miles Davis.

Freeman in Paris is told in testimonials by other Black musicians and vivid flashbacks, with Newsome playing all the roles.

The bare stage of the Black Box Theatre on the Utah State University campus is strewn with musical instruments – an upright bass, a trumpet, a piano, a drum set, an alto saxophone — leading you to believe that Newsome would use those instruments to distinguish different characters.

Instead, he brings each character to life with rapid-fire shifts in intonation, speech patterns and mannerisms.

Directed by Molly O’Donnell, Freeman in Paris is a tour de force.

In the post-show session, the actor and playwright explained that the inspiration for this one-man show came after reading a biography of Miles Davis.

“In this business, sometimes you have to make your own work,” he explained.

Newsome certainly isn’t shy about creating art to perform in. He has authored five solo shows, including Devil’s Heaven, Break It Down and Freeman in Paris.

He has also written a full-length play, Revenge of a King, a hip-hop musical based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which was recently produced by the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa.

As a director, Newsome has guided productions for the New York International Fringe Festival; the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, the National Black Theater, the Hollywood Fringe Festival, the Kuntu Repertory Company and the New Horizons Theater.

Newsome said that he and Lyric artistic director Richie Call discussed the possibility of staging Freeman in Paris as a multi-actor show.

Newsome said that he was completely open to that idea, but they decided against that option given the short time available for rehearsals in the Lyric’s repertory schedule.

Two additional performances of Freedom in Paris are scheduled for July 22 and 28.

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