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African American History Month launched with riveting one-man show

February 4, 2003

African American History Month at Austin Peay began with a bang last night, setting the tone for other commemorative activities throughout February.

Darryl Van Leer, an award-winning actor, presented his one-man show, Power on Earth, at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 3 in Clement Auditorium.
February 4, 2003

African American History Month at Austin Peay began with a bang last night, setting the tone for other commemorative activities throughout February.

Darryl Van Leer, an award-winning actor, presented his one-man show, “Power on Earth,” at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 3 in Clement Auditorium.

A two-time nominee for the National Association for Campus Activities Lecture Program of the Year Award, Van Leer re-enacted the orations of such heroes as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass. His performance earned him an enthusiastic standing ovation.

He has earned praise for “Power on Earth” from critics as well. Echoing many other reviews, the critic for “Daily Variety” called the show “emotionally riveting.”

Van Leer has performed the show for audiences totaling more than 100,000 people. His work was recognized by the National Association of Campus Activities as “Best Performance” in 1994, and he has been named “Performer of the Year” by “Campus Activities Today.”

Speaking of “Power on Earth,” Van Leer said, “There are certain things in the production that help me become each one of these men…instantaneously. The characterizations have been developed over the years as I have traveled the college circuit, trying to bring my message of social upliftment to campuses across the country.”

A versatile performer, Van Leer began his television career by working regularly on Black Entertainment Network's “Bobby Jones Gospel Show.”

Today, he enjoys a successful and varied career in film and television as a performer. He appeared in “First Time,” a Nickelodean Movie of the Week, “Steel Chariots,” an acclaimed Fox Movie of the Week and the HBO original movie, “The Second Civil War,” co-starring James Earl Jones and Beau Bridges.

Other work includes NBC-TV's movie “Witness to an Execution” and the HBO film “Up Against the Wall.” He appeared in the major motion picture, “A League of Their Own” co-starring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks.

He is seen on nationally aired commercials, and he has made the stand-up comedy circuit, appearing in such hot spots as The Comic Strip and Catch a Rising Star in New York.

Born and raised in nearby Madisonville, Ky., Van Leer earned his bachelor's degree from Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green.