Steve Brustien who plays the commander of the Angels provides the tension. Though he only makes a few cameo appearances, Brustien is always fresh and energetic as the highly credible commander. The play always heats up when Brustien walks out and the men snap to attention-- as he barks in disgust. Though Brustien plays a convincingly abrasive, no nonsense commander, he is never over the top which is refreshing. Brustien skillfully allows his tough-nosed character to show just enough empathy. He breaks from his rigidity to momentarily encourage the Angels at difficult moments. Given the complexity of the relationship between Brustien and the Angels as demonstrated by the exchanges, the audience is left wanting to know more about this enigmatic commander. (Perhaps Gray would consider expanding this role on Broadway?) Without Brustien’s volcanic performance the play certainly would have been too soft, and perhaps predictably sentimental.
Black Angels Over Tuskegee