The Billie Holiday Theatre (The Billie) is launching its 46th Season in the newly-renovated theater with a production of The Old Settler, written by Brooklyn-born playwright John Henry Redwood and directed by Tony Award nominee Michele Shay.
The Old Settler will feature The Billie veterans Pauletta Pearson Washington (Two Trains Running, Autumn), Denise Burse (Emmy-winning “Black Mirror”. Brownsville Song: b side for Trey, “House of Payne”), and Warner Miller (“Luke Cage”), as well as newcomer and Juilliard graduate Maechi Aharanwa (An Octoroon).
Set in 1943 Harlem, The Old Settler focuses on two sisters’ struggle to afford their rising rent. Faced with a choice between giving up their apartment and renting out their extra room to a stranger, they decide to take a chance on a boarder, newly arrived from the South. In equal measures funny and poignant, The Old Settler is a glimpse into the heart of an American City.
“The vitality and beauty of this work moves me every time I see it,” said Michele Shay. “Our beloved Maya Angelou said it best: ‘People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ That’s the all-important sweet spot playwright John Henry Redwood digs into in this humorous, passionate, insightful glimpse into the roller coaster of relationships . The characters’ struggles are our struggles; their desires, ours. When it was first written in the late 1990s, it became one of the most produced plays of its time , because you simply can’t forget how deeply these characters make you feel. It is a timeless story that rings as true now as it did then.”
The Old Settler will be stage managed by Carolyn Reich. Lighting will be designed by David Moodey, sound design by Kevin Novinsky, costume design by Niiamar Felder, and scenic design and props by Frank Oliva.
The first full production in the newly renovated theatre, The Old Settler will run from October 20 – November 19, 2017. Tickets are available at TheBillieHoliday.org. You can currently take advantage of a family and friends discount of 25% with the code FAMILY1943. Subscriptions to the 2017-2018 season are on sale by calling 718-636-6995 or by visiting the website.
The Billie Holiday Theatre (The Billie), founded in 1972 by Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, is an OBIE and AUDELCO Award-winning theaterdevoted to the discovery of world-class storytelling with a focus on stories for, by and about people of African descent with 3-4 productions annually. The Billie presents, promotes and sustains art that reflects the definitive issues of our time in and through all of its forms of expression, especially drama, and including jazz, opera, ballet, film, poetry, and other forms of intellectual and instructive entertainment; to produce and stimulate performances or theatrical productions of all kinds with a focus on, but not limited to the African American experience; and to commission and premiere original works.
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Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com