Known primarily as a novelist, Thomas Wolfe also wrote plays, training under George Pierce Baker in his influential 47 Workshop at Harvard. WELCOME TO OUR CITY—a searing examination of race relations inspired by events in Wolfe’s hometown—was produced at Harvard in 1923 but was never performed professionally in America until the Mint’s production in 2000.

The action of the play centers on a scheme of the town fathers and real estate promoters of Altamont (Asheville, NC) to snatch up all the property in a centrally located black district, evict the tenants, tear down their houses and shops, and build a new white residential section in its place. When the blacks, under the leadership of a strong-willed doctor, resist eviction, a race riot breaks out-shattering both the precarious social balance of the city and the “progressive” dreams of Altamont’s boosters.

“The Mint has unearthed a real gem,” hailed the New York Post. “This is a drama of immense social force. Wolfe knew what he was writing about. The blend of qualities in people, their racism and greed, their humanity and hope is startling and shocking. What a loss was Wolfe’s voice for our stage. What a discovery Jonathan Bank’s Mint Theater has made.”1

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CAST

  • Henry Sorrell Haakon Jepsen
  • Joseph Bailey Patrick Riviere
  • Tyson Ward Asquith
  • Governor Preston Carr David Winton
  • Helen Neely Robyne Parrish
  • Dan Reed Bergin Michaels
  • Mr. Jordan Larry Swansen
  • Old Sorrell T.D. White
  • Uncle Amos Frank Swingler
  • Mr. Rutledge Lee Moore
  • Lee Rutledge Michael Moore
  • McIntyre Ward Asquith
  • Dr. Johnson Eric R. Moreland
  • Professor Hutchings Jonathan Tindle
  • Bull Michael LiDondici
  • Annie Johnson Sylver Gregory
  • Mrs. Rutledge Colleen Smith Wallnau
  • Pickens Gaffney John Lyndsay Hall
  • Slewfoot Brocton Pierce
  • Sam Tipton Don Clark Williams
  • Sykes Gregory Mikell
  • Rev. Smallwood T.D. White
  • Colonel Grimes Michael LiDondici

CREATIVES

  • Set Design Vicki R. Davis
  • Lighting Design Randy Glickman
  • Costume Design Elly Van Horne
  • Music and Sound Design Ellen Mandel
  • Properties Design Janine Pangburn
  • Fight Choreographer Michael Chin
  • Stage Manager Francis Eric E. Montesa
  • Rehearsal Stage Manager Adam Muller
  • Press Representative David Gersten & Associates
  • Graphic Design Hey Jude Design, Inc.

RICHARD KENNEDY

Professor Richard Kennedy, author of The Window of Memory: The Literary Career of Thomas Wolfeand the scholar responsible for editing the published text of WELCOME TO OUR CITY, leads a post-show discussion on the playwright and his work.