A One Women Show Inspired by the Life & Times of Bessie Coleman

Born on a Texas plantation in 1892, Coleman went from cotton picker, entrepreneur and manicurist to becoming France and America’s first Black woman pilot in 1921.


The intrigue is immediate. As the audience anticipates movement on the bare stage, the booming voice of a radio announcer describes numerous memorial service’s taking place in different parts of the country.

Suddenly, a woman emerges listening to a wispy voice that repeats “It’s time Bessie, it’s time to come home, let go.”

A confused, Bessie responds…”Time.” “Home? Who are you? Where are you? Where am I? Exasperated she commands the voice to “STOP.”

It is in this moment of silence that the lone woman on stage remembers seeing a blinding light before her world went dark. She begins a fiery plea to God, asking to be granted time to touch the souls of those who came to say goodbye.

For the remainder of the performance the audience becomes one with Bessie on an emotional journey back to the future.



“Inspiring, educational, uplifting…the story unfolds in such an original and compelling way…INCREDIBLE!”

-Loreen Arbus/President of Loreen Arbus Productions

“Madeline McCray’s portrayal of Bessie Coleman is nothing short of stunning. in its honest, its passion, its humanity, it takes your breath away.”

-Lawrence D. Poster/Producer Asparagus Entertainment

“Every young person who yearns for knowledge should know the story of Bessie Coleman. Madeline McCray brings her to life in an amazing tour de force performance.”

-Woodie King, Jr./Producing Director-New Federal Theatre



“When I became aware of Bessie Coleman, the world’s first Black woman pilot, I plunged into researching her life. I was not prepared for the shock that awaited me: that this phenomenal woman died tragically, and suspiciously, in the prime of her career, while in the very ecstasy of demonstrating her seemingly goddess-like control of a swooping, looping airplane. I realized that Bessie’s death was in many ways an affirmation of her life: that she fully understood the risk involved in her soaring, gorgeous dance through the skies, and that she accepted this risk-embraced it-as a possible price of tasting the sublime. Here lay the true message imbedded in her wonderful story! That the one thing worse than dying young is to shrink back from the inner voice urging your soul to risk your ultimate joy.”

-Madeline McCray/Actress/Playwright



Madeline McCray is an Actress, Author, Empowerment Speaker. She is the Co-founder along with Terrie M. Williams of the New Legacy Leaders–Save HER-Save HIM Project, the wellness initiatives developing a vision beyond depression, obesity and brutality. McCray is a domestic abuse survivor, and activist working to break the cycle of domestic violence and child abuse. She and her son Terahshea McCray co-wrote and self-published the popular book Healthy Women Rock: How to Live the Life You Desire and Deserve, Lose Weight and Control Negative Thoughts.



“Madeline’s research and archival work into the life of Bessie was obviously rigorous and extensive. When this scholarship was combined with an extremely polished and gifted performance, the result was an inspirational blend of education and entertainment.”

-Kristen Fleiger Samuelson/Director of Women’s Studies at George Mason University



“God, why am I even here?” The audience was drawn by the sheer power of those words as they spoke to everyone in that room of hopes, dreams, and obstacles. Everyone left Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s auditorium with misty eyes and new determination in their steps. The play didn’t just address an amazing woman’s life, it gave Coleman’s greatest message to an audience young and old, male and female; to be passionate in what you do, follow your dreams and take chances.”

-Micaela Steward/Horizons Newspaper


A modified version of the play is available for special events as well as conference and university bookings.


We are proud to represent Madeline McCray’s A DREAM TO FLY: Inspired by the Life & Times of Bessie Coleman.



CONTACT: Rose Johnson





CONTACT: Terrie M. Williams