Daniel Beaty gives a tour-de-force performance, playing up to 40 characters in “The Tallest Tree in the Forest,” a solo play that he also wrote. It tells the life story of Paul Robeson, a towering figure among our nation’s prominent African-Americans. Renowned director Moises Kaufman returns to BAM (“The Laramie Project”) to direct this show, which has delighted and enlightened audiences from Kansas City to Los Angeles, La Jolla and Washington, D.C.
“The Tallest Tree in the Forest” will be performed at the BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St.) March 22 and 28 at 2 p.m., March 22 and 24 through March 28 at 7:30 p.m. and March 29 at 3 p.m. Tickets start at $25.
Born in New Jersey to a father who was a freed slave, Robeson rose from humble beginnings to become a Broadway star and international celebrity. Best known for playing “Joe” in the groundbreaking musical “Show Boat” (making “Ol’ Man River” one of the most celebrated showtunes), he was also a scholar, athlete, activist, attorney and an icon of the Civil Rights Movement whose career crumbled during the McCarthy era when questions arose about his communist associations.
Employing Beaty’s swift vocal and character transformations, monologues, narrative scenes, music, poetry and video, the production explores the evolution of Robeson’s career. It shows his humanity and courage but does not shy away