An American Journey

Kermit Frazier and John Leicht
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A passionate retelling of the Daniel Bell incident, in which a black man was shot and killed while running from police officers.

Production Info

Cast: 20 total (5 female, 15 male, Multiethnic Cast)
Full Length Drama (about 120 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tag:

Press Quotes

“The Daniel Bell incident twice was a major story in Milwaukee. In 1958, the 22-year-old black man was shot and killed while running from a pair of uniformed Milwaukee policemen. In the late 1970s, one of the former police officers came forward and admitted the shooting incident was not self-defense and that there was a cover-up that spread from the Milwaukee Police Department to the office of the district attorney. That disclosure launched a criminal trial and subsequent civil suit by the family of the slain man. The Bell incident forms the basis of a compelling and … engrossing play, AN AMERICAN JOURNEY.” —Variety

“Kermit Frazier’s and John Leicht’s AN AMERICAN JOURNEY is a piece of fine playwriting … the play is an effective and moving piece of drama.” —Jay Joslyn, Milwaukee Sentinel

“… authors Kermit Frazier and John Leicht [bring] forth a model of clarity and condensation that is all the more notable for its power to move us.” —Nels Nelson, Philadelphia Daily News

“AN AMERICAN JOURNEY, a provocative play that rings with awareness of American life as people are actually living it today.” —William B Collins, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“The play creates a haunting portrait of a transient country in which many characters, both black and white, seem unable to settle down in one place.” —Bruce Murphy, Milwaukee

“Playwrights Kermit Frazier (who is black) and John Leicht (who is white) have succeed in fashioning a powerhouse play … that is ingenious in structure (moving through time with cinematic grace), passionate in content …” —Charles Lee, WFLN

About the Author


  • Kermit Frazier

    Kermit Frazier has been a writer — especially playwright and television writer — as well as a teacher of writing, literature, and theater for more than 40 years. His latest play, MODERN MINSTRELSY, was a finalist (60 plays out of 1,450 submissions) for the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. Another new play, FIREPOWER, premiered at the Detroit Repertory Theater in 2017. Plays produced in New York include KERNEL OF SANITY, SHADOWS AND ECHOES, OUTSIDE THE RADIO, DINAH WASHINGTON IS DEAD, and CLASS REUNION. Those produced around country include LEGACIES, SACRED PLACES, INTERSTICES, AN AMERICAN JOURNEY (commissioned by the Milwaukee Repertory Theater), DREAM KING (commissioned by Baltimore Center Stage), and SMOLDERING FIRES (commissioned by First Stage Children's Theater). Also, LITTLE ROCK, a rock'n'roll musical inspired by events surrounding the desegregation of Little Rock's Central High School in 1957, which was commissioned by the Seattle Children's Theatre and performed in Seattle, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, and Little Rock. He has also been commissioned to write living history plays for the Baltimore City Life Museum and the Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. As a television writer, his series include the popular children's mystery series Ghostwriter (which he helped to create and was a head writer), Gullah Gullah Island (co-producer and executive story editor), Married People, True Colors, All My Children, The Misadventures of Maya and Miguel, The Magic School Bus, and The Wonder Pets. His articles, reviews, and short stories have appeared such magazines and journals as Green Mountains Review, The Chicago Review, American Theatre, Black World, Essence, and The New York Times Book Review. "Drive," the first chapter of his memoir, Piecing the Puzzle: Coming of Age in Anacostia, was published in Callaloo. Another chapter, “Snow,” was a runner-up in a 2018 national essay contest and was recently published in The Missouri Review. His play SMOLDERING FIRES is published by Dramatic Publishing. Four other plays have been published by Broadway Play Publishing: AN AMERICAN JOURNEY, LEGACIES, KERNEL OF SANITY, and FIREPOWER. He has taught writing and literature at Syracuse, Chicago State, and Morgan State Universities, Baruch and Williams Colleges, and the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center, where he also served as acting president. He has also taught playwriting and acting in Maryland public and private schools (through a program he helped develop at Center Stage in Baltimore) and in New York City area public schools through the Lincoln Center Institute. He has been a writer-in-residence at Williams College and at the Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. A recipient of a McKnight Foundation Fellowship in Playwriting, Mr. Frazier has also twice had a play workshopped at the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. He has had artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Blue Mountain Center, Yaddo, Millay, Norton Island, and the Liguria Study Center for the Arts & Humanities in Bogliasco, Italy. A member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild, SAG-AFTRA, Actors Equity Association, and the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Mr. Frazier received his B.A. and M.A. in English from Syracuse University and his M.F.A. in acting from the New York University School of the Arts Theater Program. He is Professor Emeritus of English at Adelphi University, where he taught for thirteen years in the MFA program in creative writing.

  • John Leicht

    John Leicht is a playwright and novelist living in Raleigh, North Carolina. John was Playwright-In-Residence for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater from 1986 – 1995. His mainstage productions at the M R T were AN AMERICAN JOURNEY (with Kermit Frazier) and MOOT. Other notable plays are a stage adaptation of Huckleberry Finn and The Irish Chord (with Michael Neville) for First Stage Milwaukee; SEQUOYAH, THE TRAIL OF TEARS for the Cherokee Heritage Center, CAFÉ DES BON TEMPS (also with Michael Neville) for Playwrights Studio Theater, and a new play CIVILIZATION. John's novels are Gardyloo! and Making the Music. John, his wife Debra and their Golden Retriever, Chiller, live in a warm, cozy home set within the modest confines of their very own little woods.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 11/26/2012
Pages 96
ISBN 9780881455526

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

First produced at Milwaukee Repertory Theater

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
An American Journey is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC