Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Comes to Life in One-Man Show

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Recently, the Billie Holiday Theatre at Restoration presented a one-man show that cast light on the life and personality of one of the most towering political figures of mid-20th century New York, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. The show, titled An Adam Experiment, was created by Michael Chenevert, who also starred in the tour de force performance.

Powell was a minister at the famed Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City and a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Harlem from 1945 to 1971. Fighting tirelessly through four decades to end second-class citizenship in America, Congressman Powell was as well-known for his controversial personal life as his public valor. He loved the abundance of wine and women available to men of his stature and celebrity. An Adam Experiment gives the audience a fascinating view of one day in Powell’s life when his country was in an uproar over the launch of a satellite by the Soviet Union and his wife was in an uproar over his philandering. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr was a brilliant visionary, who achieved much for his country and his people while struggling with his private vices.

Michael Chenevert is a seasoned actor who as a young kid growing up in Detroit was nicknamed “Little Adam” because of his physical resemblance to Adam Clayton Powell Jr. He comes from a family that has always been involved with politics, so it is not surprising that he would choose to portray the life of this great, if flawed, man.

“We are thrilled to present this limited engagement of An Adam Experiment ahead of Black History Month. Giving reverence to the past with such an incredible play as well as empowering young people to embrace the “spirit of Adam” and pursue their passions in life is truly a gift,” said Dr. Indira Etwaroo, Executive Director of RestorationART, which operates the Billie Holiday Theatre. “We hope the play will not only educate audiences about a turbulent period in American history but also provoke thought about how we can be the change we seek in our own lives.”