BY SANDY STAGGS
Do not miss Sunday’s final performance (2 pm_ of Stinney: An American Execution, a powerful, thought-provoking, new opera that is most timely and confronts our own state’s history of racial injustice.
George Junius Stinney Jr. (played by young Gavin E. Rector)was executed at the age of 14. Having been wrongly accused and convicted of the rape and murder of two white girls in Alcolu, SC in 1944 – (MARY EMMA THAMES age 8 and BETTY JUNE NINNICKER age 11) played by Kaylyn Shelton (a fabulous “Gretel” at Converse University early this season, and Miranda Lee in her Glow Lyric Theatre debut.
Directed by Jenise Cook and Jenna Elser (Glow’s co-founder), Stinney is gorgeous in its simple execution, yet disturbing in content as we witness two girls being raped and an execution of a child.
The performances are all stupendous and technically (particularly Dakota Adams’ lighting), the production is powerful.
George became the youngest person legally executed in 20th-century America. Stinney tells the story of George, his family, his community, and the jury of ten white men that sent an innocent Black boy to the electric chair.
Music directed by Bryon K. Black, this modern new opera with roots in both gospel (“I’ll Fly Away,”)blues and electronic techniques, Stinney: An American Execution investigates the racial tensions in South Carolina and the community’s response to these murders, questioning the integrity of the legal system and the mishandled evidence that condemned him to die.
Supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Glow’s production marks the Southeastern premiere of this opera.
Due to the intense subject matter, this opera is intended only for audiences 16 and older. It contains graphic and mature scenes that may be upsetting to some people. Viewer discretion is advised.
Stinney’s final performance is Sunday at 2 pm. Also, catch AIDA tonight and tomorrow, July 29-30 @ 7 pm and Classic Broadway: Songs from Musical Theatre’s Golden Age tomorrow (Saturday, July 30 @ 2 pm and Sunday, July 31 @ 7 pm. All shows are at the Kroc Center in Greenville. Tickets are available at the door or at glowlyric.com.