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Library show chronicles life in Oklahoma City's Deep Deuce community

“Swingin' and Singin' in Deep Deuce” is being performed at Metropolitan Library System branches throughout Oklahoma City.
by Matt Patterson Modified: February 15, 2013 at 8:28 pm •  Published: February 16, 2013

Before it became home to upscale town homes and condominiums, Deep Deuce was the place to be for members of Oklahoma City's black community.

And that is the setting for “Swingin' and Singin' in Deep Deuce,” a play set in the district's heyday in the 1930s and 1940s. The show is playing at Metropolitan Library System branches.

The show was written by Dwe Williams of Rhythmically Speaking and coincides with Black History Month. The idea for the play was given to Williams by two women who frequented Deep Deuce.

“It actually came from the memories of two Alzheimer's patients who were once maids in Oklahoma City,” Williams said. “They called Thursday night ‘Maids Night Out.' At noon they got off work and spent the rest of the day getting ready to go to Deep Deuce. This show makes those Thursday nights and these two women the focus.”

Williams said she pulled old issues of the Black Dispatch newspaper to capture the feel of the 300 block of NE 2 in the 1930s and 1940s. She also took advertisements for hair and skin care products and implemented them in the show.

“I realized that those items had come into play as these women were getting ready to go out for the evening,” she said. “We took those advertisements and put them into the show to give it a more authentic feeling of that era.”

The show features the singing of Adam and Kizzie Ledbetter, a husband-and-wife team who have toured internationally and perform regularly in Oklahoma City. A dance contest with audience participation has been incorporated into the script.

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by Matt Patterson
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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