The Acting Company presented a staged concert reading of award-winning playwright Marcus Gardley’s A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes: Or The Gospel of Tartuffe at Florence Gould Hall in New York on November 8th. Gardley returns to The Acting Company after his critically acclaimed play X: or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation had an extended run off Broadway in 2017.
Gardley’s play creatively takes off Molière’s Tartuffe, setting his new wicked comedy in Atlanta where The Righteous Reverend Prelate Prophetic Apostle Toof, a preacher and part-time masseur, promises to lay hands on the terminally ill fast-food tycoon Archibald Beauregard Ichabad Organdy, for a price. His story rocks the foundations of trust, faith, and redemption.
Ian Belknap helmed the cast which included Emmy winner Denise Burse (“Black Mirror,” Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne”) as Mother Organdy, Jimonn Cole (X: or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation) as Organdy, Leland Fowler (If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must be a Muhfucka) as Gumper, J.D. Mollison (Octet) as The Righteous Reverend Prelate Prophetic Apostle Toof, Adrienne C. Moore (“Orange is the New Black”) as Peaches, Destinee Rea as Africa, Mary Lou Rosato as Doreen, Chelsea Lee Williams (Girl From the North Country) as First Lady, and C. Kelly Wright (The Scottsboro Boys) as Maxine. Several songs were performed by Tony winning Broadway Inspirational Voices, under the direction of Allen René Louis.
“To continue my collaboration with Marcus Gardley is an honor. His A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes or the Gospel of Tartuffe makes me laugh and makes me think about my own faith. It is the perfect play to end my time as artistic director,” says Ian Belknap, who is leaving The Acting Company, after a successful ten-year tenure.
Below are photos from the afterparty at The Bar Room in New York.
Décor and costumes designed by Sarita Fellows (Native Son, The Acting Company), lighting design by Devorah Kengmana (Surely Goodness and Mercy, Keen Company), and sound supervisor by Mark Van Hare (Sing Street, NY Theater Workshop). Kojo Ade is serving as the Audience Consultant. Devin Brain is the Associate Artistic Director; Pamela Reichen, General Manager; Caitlin White, Development Director.
Marcus Gardley is an acclaimed poet-playwright-screenwriter whom The New Yorker describes as “the heir to Garcia Lorca, Pirandello and Tennessee Williams.” In 2019, he was named the Library Laureate of San Francisco by the city’s mayor and the recipient of the 2019 Doris Duke Artist Award. He is the recipient of the 2015 Glickman Award, a finalist for the 2015 Kennedy Prize, and a 2019 Obie Award winner for his play The House That Will Not Stand. Other plays include X or the Nation v Betty Shabazz, Black Odyssey, The Gospel of Living Kindness, Every Tongue Confess, On the Levee, and The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry. In TV, he has written for several series including Boots Riley’s I’M A VIRGO (Amazon), THE CHI (Showtime), FOUNDATION (Apple), NOS4A2 (AMC), MAID, TALES OF THE CITY and MINDHUNTER (Netflix). He currently in an overall deal at Amazon Studios. His feature adaptation of THE COLOR PURPLE musical will be released in theatres in Dec 2023 and his Marvin Gaye biopic was just picked up by Warner Brothers with Allen Hughes attached to direct. Gardley was born and raised in Oakland, California.
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 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. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.
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