The performances will take place on June 16 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Leonard Dozier aims to bring Richard Allen into the history books. Dozier, an actor/writer/singer, has been portraying the founder and first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and an early civil rights leader for the past six years. He is now embarking on a national tour of a one-person show he co-authored, with playwright Paul Hood, about Allen entitled “Apostle of Freedom.” The tour had its world premiere in November 2017 at Philadelphia’s Beacon Theatre Productions.
Dozier will give two performances of the 40-minute play at the Medford United Methodist Church on June 16 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. These are public performances, following an earlier show the actor presented at the church in May. They will be followed by post-show discussions, in which Dozier will participate.
“Medford United Methodist Church is predominantly white, but Pastor Joe Monahan is determined to forward discussion on race relations in this country and sees the play as a great way to do that,” said Dozier, who first played Allen in the 2011 film “Apostle of Freedom.”
The following year he portrayed Allen again in the Emmy Award-winning “Fever: 1793” episode of the television program “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment.”
“If there is such a person as an African-American founding father, it would be Richard Allen,” Dozier said. “He started the first civil rights movement in the country.”
In addition, Allen was the only African-American to give a eulogy for George Washington in 1799, “which is quite amazing,” Dozier added. He is the man Dr. Benjamin Rush turned to for help in galvanizing the black community to fight the yellow fever epidemic of 1793.
Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was the preeminent physician in the country at the time. Allen himself survived yellow fever, in an epidemic that killed 5,000 Philadelphians.
“He was fighting for equality and racial and social justice while fighting to live,” Dozier said. “Allen had an indomitable will.”
The actor hopes to take the play “Apostle of Freedom” to several venues around the country, including upcoming stops in Lancaster, Pa., and Seattle and a special hosting of the play by Historic St. George’s Methodist Church, as well as at schools and community organizations.
For Dozier, these portrayals foster a greater appreciation of Allen’s legacy but also underscore the ongoing struggle for equal rights is still needed.
The versatile actor has been a two-time Regional Broadway World Best Actor nominee and ADDY Award-winning voice actor. Having performed at Open Stage of Harrisburg, etc., is one of the new voices of the NFL.
For information about the actor and the national tour, visit: www.leonarddozier.com.
To purchase tickets, call 856–671–1769 or log onto http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3442608.