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Mack Bates Starring Onstage in Our Town

Photo courtesy of James Baker, Jr.

I am happy to announce that Mack Bates, a contributor to Black Writers Week at RogerEbert.com, is starring in the Lake Country Playhouse's production of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" in Hartland, Wisconsin. He's portraying the role of Frank Gibbs, a small town doctor, in the show, which is a period piece set in the fictional town of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, from 1901 to 1913. The show runs the next two weeks through Sunday, July 16th. Mack tells me that the playhouse is a black box theatre with approximately 90 seats (tickets can be purchased here). I love Mack’s bio and resume and will share some of it with you below. And just maybe, I’ll see you at one of the performances. 

At the ripe age of 12, award-winning writer and aspiring filmmaker Bates announced that he wanted to be “the Black Peter Jennings.” This followed his earlier desire to be an astronaut and a cowboy. He’s sat through SpaceCamp, more times than he cares to share, and thanks to his tenure as a boy scout, has lassoed a steer or two. Journalism indeed beckoned, and Bates has written for a variety of publications and outlets since high school, including JUMP, the Leader, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and ReelTalk Movie Reviews. Bates has won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club in both the collegiate and professional divisions dating back to 1999. 

Photo courtesy of James Baker, Jr.

In 2013, he became the first writer to win the press club’s “best critical review” award in both competitive divisions. Also in 2013, Bates was among a group of adult mentors and teens who took part in the 2012 Milwaukee Summer Entertainment Camp to be honored by the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (the group behind the Emmy Awards) with a Crystal Pillar Award for excellence in high school television production. For this year's Black Writers Week, Bates penned the essay, "When Angela Bassett Found Her Inner Tina Turner."

Bates is also doing a revival of "A Raisin in the Sun" next month at Waukesha Civic Theatre in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the weekend of Friday, August 18th through Sunday, August 20th.

Break-a-leg! 

Chaz Ebert

Chaz is the CEO of several Ebert enterprises, including the President of The Ebert Company Ltd, and of Ebert Digital LLC, Publisher of RogerEbert.com, President of Ebert Productions and Chairman of the Board of The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, and Co-Founder and Producer of Ebertfest, the film festival now in its 24th year.

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