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The Father of Invention 

There's something in the name "Elijah"; it has a foursquare, hickory-solid, indomitable ring to it. One thinks of Elijah Lovejoy, the Illinois abolitionist and newspaper editor who repeatedly faced down mobs of Missouri pro-slavery goons — until they murdered him — trying to destroy his printing press. And then there was Elijah McCoy, African American inventor and subject of the Black Rep's new production, The Real McCoy. McCoy was a prolific inventor — more than 57 patents were issued to him during his lifetime — who played a crucial role in keeping the railroads running smoothly in the nineteenth century: he created the device that allowed steam engines to self-lubricate. But McCoy, as a black man living in a racist, segregated society (he was born in 1844), had more than just scientific and engineering challenges to solve. Learn more about this man's triumphs and trials in The Real McCoy. The play makes its U.S. premiere at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, at the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square; 314-534-3810 or www.theblackrep.org). The show continues through Sunday, April 10, and performances are Thursday through Sunday. Tickets are $17 to $47.
Wed., March 16; Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: March 16. Continues through April 10, 2011

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