Congratulations to New Federal Theatre producing director Elizabeth Van Dyke, who will receive the 2022 Grace Jones Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Black Theatre and has been nominated for Featured Actress for her work in TFANA’s The Wedding Band.
Charles L. White’s new play, Gong Lum’s Legacy, produced by Woodie King Jr.’s New Federal Theatre in association with The Peccadillo Theater Company, and directed by Ms. Van Dyke, has also garnered four AUDELCO Awards nominations for Best Play, Best Set Design (Chris Cumberbatch), Best Sound Design (David Wright) and Best Ensemble Performance (Anthony T. Goss, Alinca Hamilton, DeShawn White, Eric Yang and Henry Yuk.
Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South, Gong Lum’s Legacy takes place in 1924 in the Mississippi Delta where an unexpected romance blooms between Joe Ting (Eric Yang), a Chinese Immigrant and Lucy Sims (DeShawn White), a Black school teacher.
Yuk play’s Joe’s father, Charlie, who is adamantly opposes their relationship. When Charlie’s friend, Gong Lum sues the local school board to permit his daughters to attend a white school, Charlie is confident that Lum will prevail and that Chinese people will soon have the same rights as whites. Charlie does not want those rights jeopardized by his son being romantically involved with a Black woman, and does everything in his power to separate the young couple.
Lum v Rice, an actual civil rights case, eventually reached the Supreme Court which ruled that the exclusion on account of race of a child of Chinese ancestry from a public school did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The decision effectively approved the exclusion of any minority children from schools reserved for whites.
The 50TH Annual Vivian Robinson AUDELCO Recognition Awards, “THE VIV” for Excellence in Black Theatre is celebrating 50 years of AUDELCO Excellence on Monday, November 28, 2022 at 7:30pm at Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street in New York. Click here for tickets and more information.
Elizabeth Van Dyke is an award -winning Actress, Director and the Producing Artistic Director of Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre. Her directorial credits include: TR@K GRLS, (PT1), GONG LUM’S LEGACY by Charles L. White, WHAT TO SEND UP, WHEN IT GOES DOWN, at SUNY Purchase; A RAISIN IN THE SUN; WAITING TO BE INVITED; GEE’S BEND; & THE BALLAD OF EMMETT TILL; GROWING WILD; BY THE WAY; MEET VERA STARK; A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS; ABIGAIL 1702; BLOOD; UNTAMED: BODY, HAIR, ATTITUDE; THE TALK; THE EFFECT OF GAMMA RAYS MAN ON THE MOON MARIGOLDS; RADIO GOLF; GEM OF THE OCEAN; GREAT MEN OF GOSPEL: SPIRIT INTO SOUND (AUDELCO NOMINATION, Best Director); THE PIANO LESSON; SOPHISTICATED LADIES; (ONYX AWARD Best Director & Best Musical Production of the Year); THE OLD SETTLER; SWEET MAMA STRINGBEAN; FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF; TI JEAN AND HIS BROTHERS, and many more.
Elizabeth originated the roles of Fannie Mae Dove in FLYIN’ WEST by Pearl Cleage and Mattie in NO…N, NO JEWS, & NO DOGS by the late John Henry Redwood and Annie Talbot in THE DANCE ON WIDOW’S ROW BY Samm-Art Williams.
Van Dyke is currently nominated for an AUDELCO Award for her portrayal of Fannie Johnson in WEDDING BAND, directed by Awoye Timpo at TFANA and NFT’s production of GONG LUM’S LEGACY by Charles White is nominated for several AUDELCO Awards including Best Ensemble and Best Production for the 2021 Season. Elizabeth has received an AUDELCO for Best Actress for her portrayal of Zora Neale Hurston, an AUDELCO Award for Best Ensemble for THE DANCE ON WIDOWS ROW, and the Ace & Gold Award for LOVE TO ALL, LORRAINE, a solo piece based on the life of Lorraine Hansberry
Elizabeth serves on the Board of Directors of New Federal Theatre and is a member of The League of Professional Theatre Women; AEA, SAG, AFTRA, SDC, The Dramatist Guild, Ensemble Studio Theatre, a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, The National Theatre Conference and The Actors Center.
Ms. Van Dyke has received the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence in Theatre at Austin Peay State University, The Board of Directors Award from AUDELCO, The President’s Award from the Black Theatre Network, A Fox Foundation Grant, and a Rockefeller Grant to study the elements of Japanese Theatre.
Woodie King Jr.’s New Federal Theatre
Our Mission is to integrate artists of color and women into the mainstream of American theater by training artists for the profession, and by presenting plays by writers of color and women to integrated, multicultural audiences – plays which evoke the truth through beautiful and artistic re-creations of ourselves.
Several early successes brought NFT to national prominence: Black Girl by J.e. Franklin won a Drama Desk Award, The Taking of Miss Janie by Ed Bullins moved from NFT to Lincoln Center and won the Drama Critics Circle Award, For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange performed on Broadway for 10 months and was nominated for the Tony Award. Both plays were co-produced with the late Joseph Papp. Many performers benefited from early successes on NFT’s stage, including the late Chadwick Boseman, Debbie Allen, Morgan Freeman, Phylicia Rashad, Denzel Washington, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Issa Rae, and many more. www.newfederaltheatre.com
The Peccadillo Theater Company (Associate Producer) Founded in 1994, the Peccadillo Theater Company is dedicated to the rediscovery of classic American comedy and drama, particularly those works, which despite their obvious literary and theatrical value, are not regularly revived. The mission of The Peccadillo Theater Company is to restore these buried gems to their rightful owner, the American theatergoer. www.thepeccadillo.com