View Full Version : "Mr. Hoover's Tea Party" in Teaneck

January 19th, 2006, 10:07 AM
The world premiere of a new play, "Mr. Hoover's Tea Party" by Stanton Wood, will play at the New World Theatre in Teaneck from Jan. 28 thru Feb. 12: http://www.offworldtheatre.org/

Following that it will play a one week engagement in Sparkill, NY.

The play is a fantastical account of the meeting between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King on December 1, 1964 which came about following the brou-ha-ha created when Hoover labeled King "the most notorious liar in the country".

January 19th, 2006, 01:44 PM
Will Hoover be played by a drag queen?

TLOZ Link5
January 19th, 2006, 01:52 PM
Stan's a cool guy. I worked with him over the summer at Urban Stages, where he is now.

January 19th, 2006, 02:44 PM
Will Hoover be played by a drag queen?
not exactly, but there are surprises in store ...

January 22nd, 2006, 10:37 AM
A related article ...

The surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr.

New Jersey Record
Friday, January 13, 2006

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk5JmZnYmVs N2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2ODU2NjMw

SITTING in his hotel room in Atlantic City, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. didn't know it but his phone was bugged. He was there for the Democratic Party's national convention in August 1964, exactly one year after his famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

For more than a decade, King's every move was under a microscope. J. Edgar Hoover's FBI sought to discredit him as a way of knocking the civil rights movement off track.

Hoover was obsessed with King, and used every resource to peek into his hotel rooms, listen in on his private conversations and smear King's associates in the civil rights movement.

The current flap over domestic surveillance, a spreading stain over the Bush administration - which was none too pristine in the first place - is not unprecedented. It's happened under administrations of both parties. In King's instance, the domestic spying was condoned by President John Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the same men credited with pushing open the doors of the University of Mississippi and championing other civil rights battles.

In October 1963, Robert Kennedy had authorized a wiretap on King's home phone. It was barely six weeks after King had held the crowd on the Washington mall spellbound with his history-making speech.

That power to sway a crowd and make them follow him into a future full of uncertainty is what made King a "dangerous" man. Celebrating King's birthday this weekend reminds us that because of him, ordinary Americans willingly risked everything to end oppressive segregation policies.

The reckless use of domestic spying as a tool to bust so-called subversives and dissenters renders our constitutional guarantees meaningless, and weakens American credibility when we try to enforce democratic principles abroad.

In spite of all the personal privacy rights being ripped away under the Patriot Act, and the rewriting of laws to bypass freedoms guaranteed by the constitution, we still try to sell the rest of the world on the beauty of our democratic system.

Senate hearings in the mid-1970s uncovered abusive domestic surveillance, but the spying never stopped. There was shocking evidence of planted bugs, lying informants, and false evidence being used to destroy protest groups and individuals involved in them.

The content of King's character was being put to the test by none other than a man said to have tastes for comfy pumps and frilly underthings - large please. Allegedly large. Based on an actual meeting between King and Hoover, "Mr. Hoover's Tea Party" is a satirical play being presented later this month in Teaneck at the Puffin Cultural Forum along with art created by New Jersey City University students.

Play director Tamilla Woodard said this satirical work by playwright Stanton Wood shows Hoover in a dress throughout the entire show. The message, however, is a serious warning to be on guard against the power of government to overwhelm individuals.

In December 1964, a few months after the tumultuous Democratic Party convention in Atlantic City, Hoover presented evidence of recorded conversations between King and women. The surveillance had been going on for years.

The FBI advised King that suicide was the only way out. No, there was another way. He could just drop out of sight and leave the movement.

King resisted the pressure.

Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize a few days after his meeting with Hoover, King declared:

"Man must evolve for all human conflicts a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. The torturous road which has led from Montgomery, Alabama, to Oslo bears witness to this truth."

Hoover was outraged that after all that dirty work, King got the Nobel prize and was named Time Magazine's Man of the Year at the end of 1964. Curses! Foiled again!

No matter what honor King got in recognition of his mission, the government saw him as a subversive who had to be destroyed. Suspected of complicity in King's 1968 assassination, the FBI conducted internal investigations, but never proved conclusively that its hands were clean.

Through illegal surveillance and break-ins that continued even after King's death, the bureau kept up its search for dirt on King's wife, Coretta, and associates Andy Young and Ralph Abernathy. They also targeted white supporters of the movement like actress Jean Seberg (who ultimately committed suicide). Many others falsely accused were pressured to stop their support of King and other radical causes.

His only real offense was effective leadership.

Lawrence Aaron is a Record columnist.
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