James Baldwin: Down From The Mountaintop, presented by the CUNY Black Male Initiative and the Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Urban Male Leadership Academy (UMLA) of Baruch College
Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 1pm
James Baldwin–Down From The Mountaintop, written and performed by Tony Award nominee Calvin Levels, depicts the impassioned life of the American novelist, essayist, playwright and human rights activist James Baldwin, known for such novels as Go Tell It On The Mountain, Giovanni’s Room andAnother Country, and essays that include Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time. Mr. Levels’ portrayal of one of America’s greatest thinkers has received only rave reviews and standing ovations from Baldwin scholars, educators, critics and students. Mr. Levels has performed the play at over 60 institutions, including Princeton University, Dartmouth College, Northwestern University, Tennessee State University, Skidmore College, The University of Pennsylvania, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Actors Studio Sunset Theatre, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity.
Calvin Levels began his love affair with the theatre at the tender age of five at the renowned Karamu Theater located in Cleveland, Ohio. After receiving a theatre degree from a local college, Calvin Levels continued his theatrical studies with the great acting teacher, Lee Strasberg, for five years. During that time he began working professionally in theatre, film and television. A few of his theater credits as a performer include: The Mark Taper Forum in August Wilson’s Jitney, directed by Marion McClinton; The Long Wharf Theatre in Open Admissions, directed by Arvin Brown; Lincoln Center Theatre in David Mamet’s The Shawl, directed by Gregory Mosher; and the Music Box Theatre on Broadway in Open Admissions, for which he received numerous awards. These include The Tony Award, The New York Drama Desk Award and The Outer Critic Circle Award nominations for Best Actor in a Play, as well as the New York Theater World Award for Outstanding New Talent. He is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio and the Ensemble Studio Theatre. While in New York, he was under the tutelage of Gerald Schoenfeld and Bernard Jacobs of the Shubert Organization for theatrical production. Mr. Levels has penned several plays and screenplays including his play Common Ground, mounted at Lincoln Center Theatre, and his solo play James Baldwin–Down From the Mountaintop, about the great writer and human rights activist, James Baldwin, that he has performed at over sixty venues across the country and for which he has received rave reviews. The James Baldwin Literary Society bestowed him with an honor for his contribution to the legacy of James Baldwin. Mr. Levels has been invited to George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch to complete post-production of a film version of James Baldwin–Down From the Mountaintop, which he produced and directed. Some of his film credits include: Ragtime, directed by Milos Forman; the CBS five-hour mini-series The Atlanta Child Murders, in which he portrayed the central character, Wayne Williams, and in which he co-starred with Morgan Freeman, Jason Robards, Martin Sheen, Ruby Dee and Rip Torn; Convicts, starring Robert Duval and James Earl Jones; Johnny Suede, co-starring Brad Pitt; and Adventures in Babysitting, starring Elizabeth Shue. His television credits include several regular roles on network television series, as well as many guest starring roles.