Celebration Arts Presents: Thurgood by George Stevens, Jr.



Sacramento, CA – September 5, 2023 – Celebration Arts, Sacramento’s esteemed non-profit African-American theater, music, and dance training organization, is thrilled to present the next production in its 2023 Season “Overcoming.”

The award-winning and enthralling play “THURGOOD” by George Stevens, Jr., will be directed by James Wheatley, the visionary founder of Celebration Arts and renowned actor, producer, and choreographer of countless compelling productions at Celebration Arts and theaters in the Sacramento community. THURGOOD runs from September 29 through October 22, 2023.

Since its inception by Mr. Wheatley in 1986, Celebration Arts has been a cornerstone of cultural enrichment, dedicated to bringing the African-American experience to the forefront of Sacramento’s performing arts scene. THURGOOD is another testament to the organization’s commitment to excellence and celebrating African-American history and contributions.


This riveting production chronicles the extraordinary life and career of Thurgood Marshall, the iconic civil rights leader and Supreme Court Justice of the United States from 1967 to 1991. He was the Court’s first African-American justice. Set against the backdrop of pivotal historical moments, including the rise of Jim Crow and Brown v. Board of Education, THURGOOD is a frank, extraordinary look at Thurgood Marshall’s journey to influence justice, racial relations, and the law in America.

Led by acclaimed actor James Ellison III (BROKE-OLOGY at B Street Theatre, BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY, SMART PEOPLE and SWEAT at Capital Stage, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS at Sacramento Theatre Company) in the titular role of Thurgood Marshall, audiences will be transported through time in this one-person play, as they witness the milestones and challenges that shaped Marshall’s legacy. Mentored by Mr. Wheatley since he was 18, Ellison is also the artistic director of Celebration Arts.

Originally debuted in 2006 with James Earl Jones in the titular role, THURGOOD later appeared on Broadway in 2008 starring Laurence Fishburne. The Baltimore Sun described THURGOOD as “one of the most frank, informed, and searing discussions of race you will ever see …” Fishburne won the 2008 Drama Desk Award for his performance.

Performance Dates and Ticket Information:

THURGOOD will grace the Celebration Arts stage from September 29 to October 22, 2023. Tickets are $15 – $23. Limited seating is available, so early booking is encouraged to secure a spot for this spectacular production. Group sales are encouraged. Tickets are available at celebrationarts.net.

Media Opportunities:

Celebration Arts extends an exclusive invitation to members of the media to attend a performance of THURGOOD. This is an exceptional opportunity to witness the artistic vision of our founder, James Wheatley, his mentee, James Ellison, and the incredible productions at Celebration Arts.

For press inquiries, interview requests, or to secure press passes, please contact Elizabeth Baidoo at 916.767.2997 or marketing@celebrationarts.net.



Originally the Celebration Dance Company founded in 1976 by James Wheatley, Celebration Arts became a 501c3 organization in 1986. For more than 30 years, Celebration Arts continues to be a cornerstone of music, dance, and theater for the Sacramento region’s African-American community, bringing Black artists and stories to its stage at 2727 B Street. In addition, Celebration Arts provides educational programs to children through Kids’ Time and dance training for teens, adults, and seniors. More information can be found at celebrationarts.net.

Tickets on sale now: THURGOOD


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