Angelina Arts Alliance News Release – January 21, 2015

Contact: Ginger Trotter, Marketing/Production – 936-633-3220

While John Ball’s 1965 novel, In the Heat of the Night, takes place in Alabama, the signs were still seen throughout much of America during the 1960s as the country grappled with integration and an evolving acceptance of the Civil Rights Movement. This was the era of sit-ins and tear gas, of marches and assassinations. This was the era of Martin Luther King Jr., the Kennedys, and LBJ and an America finally, deliberately, moving towards a future of equality regardless of skin color. This powerful performance presented by Angelina Arts Alliance and sponsored by A Friend of the Arts, will take the stage at the Temple Theater on Saturday, February 28 at 7:30 pm with tickets ranging from $25-$35 (Premium/Box $40). 2014-2015 Season sponsors are First Bank and Trust East Texas and Georgia Pacific.

Nearly fifty years later, have we arrived? Perhaps not. Just as Ball’s white, Southern, police Chief Bill Gillespie’s personal prejudices are tested by working with African-American detective Virgil Tibbs, America continues to confront prejudice, stereotyping, and fear. The role of Virgil Tibbs will be played by the young up and coming actor Ryan Vincent Anderson. The production also stars a great mix of actors with stage, film, and TV credits. Included is LA Theatre Works regular and frequent TV and film star Tom Virtue (Even Stevens, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Charmed, Entourage, Two and a Half Men, Iron Man 3 and many more). James Morrison plays Chief Gillespie- he’s been a regular on 24, Private Practice, Revenge and many others.

In 1967, one year before the Martin Luther King, Jr assassination, Sidney Poitier played Virgil Tibbs in the film In the Heat of the Night directed by Norman Jewison. The big-screen version crossed fraught political lines, marking one of the first times in a motion picture an African American man reacted to – rather than accepted – provocation from a white man. The film won five Academy Awards and spawned a hugely popular television series. In the Heat of the Night remains shockingly emblematic of America in the 1960s, and how, almost half a century later, our nation is still conquering the demon of prejudice.

For more information and to purchase tickets call our box office at (936) 633-5454, or visit for more details and video clips from the entire 2014-2015 season. Follow Angelina Arts Alliance on Facebook for late-breaking news, photos, videos and ticket giveaways.