LOVE BOAT’S TED LANGE, CALIFORNIA’S BIDDY MASON AND FIXICO
Monday night May 16th 2016, I attended a staged reading of “The Heart of Biddy Mason”. With book and lyrics by Mr. Ted Lange and music written by Gerald Trottman. It was performed as Readers Theater or Actors with script in hand without wardrobe, on a bare stage. The accompanying orchestra was ably provided by the perennial artistry of Mr. Roger Neal, assisted by a wonderful and energetic saxophonist Mr. Ed Wallace, Jr. (doubled as a cast member. Amazingly the “right in the pocket rhythm” was supplied by the cast, They simply kept strict meter by stomping their feet. Not only did it work but it even morphed beyond being a musician, into the personality of an added cast member. All this while reading the script and staying in character amounts to service above and beyond the call of normal work ethic. It figures, because the casting chemistry was truly magical. Needless to say these polished professional Artists all achieved their designated roles.
Enter the Dragon, Mr. Ted Lange, The WRITER/DIRECTOR of “The Heart of Biddy Mason”. Here ,I must confess, I’m not a Writer or a Theater Critic however I do have boundless respect and admiration for Theodore William Lange ,born in Oakland ,California, in the year of our lord one thousand nine hundred and 48. I’ve never even seen a complete episode of “Love Boat”, yet I hold him in great esteem. Why ? Because Mr. Lange unfailingly continues to create, produce and display his plays, that are not only extremely entertaining but have now become magnificent ceremonies of learning. They are enduring artistic vehicles that appeal to our higher angels of Historical Truth.
His quest has touched so many lives , even mine. I felt a great sense of self-esteem when, many years ago at C. Bernard Jackson’s Inner City Cultural Center, I was able to step on stage in the finals of his Ira Aldridge Acting Competition as an acting partner to Ms. Peggy Hutchinson ( who was a participant).
Yes, Mr.Lange has had a story book career and he has received an abundance of tributes and awards to certify the public and his peers appreciation. However, I have read that his first role was played while he was a ninth grade actor portraying Ebeneezer Scrooge in the Christmas story. It’s truly ironic that someone so giving would be assigned the role of someone who was not generous by nature. I never thought of Ted “Renaissance Man” Lange as “Isaac” who gave the world so much joy and laughter.
For me, I think of Mr. Lange as an Admiral of a Grand Armada of over 20 plays. I also think of him as a sterling role model, a mentor and a Coach with a winning game plan. GO SEE “THE HEART OF BIDDY MASON” BECAUSE IT IS ABOUT WINNING THE GREATEST GIFTS OF ALL… THE GIFTS OF FREEDOM AND LOVE.
P.S. The Play was presented at the Leimert Park Vision Theatre
3341 West 43rd Place, Los Angeles Ca. 90008
Phil “Pompey Bruner” Fixico, Seminole Maroon Descendant, and Private-Sector-Partner for the National Underground Railroad/Network to Freedom 1998 Act