Wings of Courage is an original play with music by Mad River Theater Works based on the life of Eugene Bullard, the first African-American combat pilot and adventurer. Bullard’s story would be unbelievable if it were not all true. He was a professional boxer and a World War I flying ace. He was a jazz musician. He was a spy. Who was this remarkable African-American? Born in Columbus, Georgia, Bullard traveled the world. He joined the French Foreign Legion after being denied a meaningful place in the United States Army. He rose through the ranks and flew against the famous “Red Baron” as a part of the famous Lafayette Escadrille during World War I. But when the Escadrille was incorporated into the new U.S. Army Air Corps in 1917, the color of Bullard’s skin prevented him from taking his place alongside the other American heroes of his day. But that didn’t stop him. He went on to fame as a bandleader in Paris in 1920’s. Using storytelling, music, and drama, Wings of Courage shows how Bullard’s determination and perseverance helped him to overcome discrimination throughout his remarkable life. It is an uplifting tale of vision and hope that deserves to be known by every American.
Age appropriateness: 3rd grade and up
Duration: 50 minutes plus a question and answer session
Number of performers: 2 actor/musicians plus stage manager
Music: contains live music (guitar)