Part of the Melange New Musical Theatre Festival
Based on true events from 1951, Sundown Town is the story of one of many towns in the United States where black workers were welcome during the day, but had better be out by sundown, lest they risk arrest, beatings, or worse.
In the musical, Harvey Clark, a bus driver, and his wife Johnetta are living with their two small children in a one-room apartment in the black ghetto of Chicago. That summer, Johnetta starts work as a cleaning woman in an apartment building in the all-white suburb of Cicero. The landlord of the building is an eccentric middle-aged Italian-American woman named Camille De Rose. Camille soon ingratiates herself into Johnetta’s black Chicago life, eventually starting a forbidden affair with an African-American attorney. Her new environment and social circle inspire Camille to action, and she invites the Clarks to move in to a vacant apartment in her building, causing a week-long race riot that destroys her building and opens her narrow world-view. She finally realizes just how much social action must be taken to offset the injustice running rampant in the country, but she wonders if she is willing to take on the responsibilities of that action.