Professional Nonprofit Theater on Martha's Vineyard
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24 Church Street, Box 2452, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 | 508-696-6300
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Patricia Neal Stage
Written & performed by April Armstrong

Two Wings to Heaven: The Story of Bessie Coleman


Tickets can be purchased online here

Written and Performed by April Armstrong

Directed by Sara Berg

Music Direction by Mario E. Sprouse

A new, fabulous solo show about the famed aviatrix told in dialogue, song and movement. A brilliant performance by April Armstrong, who also brings to life other characters; including dreamy visits from Harriet Tubman, Joan of Arc and Paul Lawrence Dunbar. An inspiring play, perfect for the whole family (children ages 8 and up).

Show running time is approximately 70 minutes

Do you know Elizabeth (Bessie) Coleman?

Even before Amelia Earhardt and her amazing solo flight over the Atlantic, before Harriet Quimby, and despite Jim Crow laws and a racist environment, Bessie Coleman, a smart but dirt-poor black girl from Waxahatchi, Texas, became the first American Aviatrix to receive an international pilot's license.

Since no American aviation schools would give her lessons, Bessie learned French, traveled to France and studied at the top aeronautic school there. She learned to be an outstanding pilot and stunt performer. After receiving great recognition for test piloting some of the biggest, most modern planes of the period, she returned to American only to find the doors closed to her due to racial and gender prejudice. Despite these obstacles, she made a successful living as a barnstormer and left a legacy and paved the way for many African American pilots to come.

APRIL ARMSTRONG (Actor/Playwright)

April is thrilled to be back at Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse! She was last seen here in Eisa Davis’ ANGELA’S MIXTAPE. She just wrapped up a run at the Geva Theatre in Rochester, as the “Mother Superior” in SISTER ACT. April starred Off-Broadway as Jimmy Carter/Professor Cynthia Cooper in the NY premiere of CONFIDENCE AND THE SPEECH. Broadway National Tours; RAGTIME and CAROUSEL. At The Public Theater - TIS PITY SHE’S A WHORE and SKRIKER. Eve Ensler’s EXTROADINARY MEASURES at H.E.R.E. Regional: “Witch No 3” in MACBETH (Alabama Shakespeare); “Marie-the Fairy Godmother” in CINDERELLA (Fine Arts Center, Colorado College); “Agatha” in Jen Silverman’s THE MOORS (Bridge Street Theatre); “Billie Holiday” in LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR AND GRILL (Hudson Valley Rep, Vineyard Playhouse); “Sara” in RAGTIME (TheatreWorks); MY FAIR LADY (Eliza Doolittle) American Music Theatre of San Jose. TV: THE OTHER TWO (HBO Max); CITY ON A HILL (Showtime); LAW & ORDER: SVU (NBC). Film: WASHINGTON SQUARE, CENTRAL STANDARD.

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