North Carolina Black Repertory Company Announces Commissioned Work On The Life Of Dr. Maya Angelou By Nambi E. Kelley

Nambi E. Kelley
Nambi E. Kelley
Nambi E. Kelley

The North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NC Black Rep) has commissioned a new play on the life of Dr. Maya Angelou by Nambi E. Kelley for its 2019-2020 Season. The play will be directed by NC Black Rep’s Artistic Director Jackie Alexander.

Dr. Maya Angelou was one of literature’s most treasured voices and a key figure in the creation of NC Black Rep’s world renowned National Black Theatre Festival. Dr. Angelou was a long-time resident of Winston-Salem, home of NC Black Rep, and Artistic Director Jackie Alexander considers the company commissioning a play on her life both a labor of love and an immense responsibility, stating: “Dr. Angelou was one of NC Black Rep’s most ardent supporters and a beloved member of the community. I cannot imagine this play being birthed anywhere other than Winston-Salem, a place internationally recognized as Black Theatre Holy Ground. The biggest challenge is how to dramatize a life so grand in scope, and that’s why I’m thrilled to have Nambi Kelley on board as the writer. I believe she is the perfect choice.”

Nambi E. Kelley is a celebrated playwright who has penned plays for Steppenwolf, Goodman Theatre, and Court Theatre/American Blues Theater in Chicago; Lincoln Center and the National Black Theatre in New York; and internationally with LATT Children’s Theatre/Unibooks Publishing Company (South Korea) Teatri Sbagliati (Italy), and The Finger Players (Singapore). Her adaptations of Richard Wright’s Native Son and Toni Morrison’s Jazz have received critical acclaim nationally, with productions at theatres including The Court Theatre in Chicago, Center Stage in Baltimore, and Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven. A lifelong admirer and a writer who draw’s inspiration from Dr. Angelou’s work, Kelley shared: “Dr. Angelou’s example of her brilliance, her eloquence, her fearlessness in the constant reinvention of who she was is the epitome of what it means to be free. I am deeply awed by her, and eternally grateful for the great honor that has been bestowed upon me to create a piece of art that is reflective of her freedom.”

Dr. Angelou’s longtime assistant, friend, and confidant Lydia Stuckey joins the team as Creative Advisor. A leader in the mission to preserve and share Dr. Angelou’s legacy, Ms. Stuckey considers Maya to be an essential theatrical project, commenting: “Dr. Angelou’s words touched and inspired people the world over; we must do everything in our power to ensure her legacy is never forgotten.”

Maya will have a First Look Celebrity Staged Reading at the 2019 National Black Theatre Festival, July 29-August 3, 2019. The world premiere production of Maya will take place in May 2020 as part of NC Black Rep’s 2019-2020 Mainstage Season.

For more information on NC Black Rep, please visit www.ncblackrep.org.

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Hailey Kilgore, Kenita R. Miller, Merle Dandridge, Quentin Earl Darrington, Darlesia Cearcy and More are set for ONCE ON THIS ISLAND Sings Ahrens and Flaherty at Feinstein’s/54 Below on July 18

Kenita R. Miller and Hailey Kilgore. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast of the 2018 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival, Once On This Island, will appear at Feinstein’s/54 Below to perform songs from lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty.

Kenita R. Miller and Hailey Kilgore. Photo by Lia Chang
Kenita R. Miller and Hailey Kilgore. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony nominee Hailey Kilgore will host the evening.

Featuring a wide range of Ahrens and Flaherty’s iconic tunes, this evening will celebrate 35 sensational years of collaboration, brought to life by the extraordinary cast of Broadway’s Once On This Island.

The cast will include Courtnee Carter, Darlesia Cearcy, Merle Dandridge, Cicily Daniels, Quentin Earl Darrington, Emerson Davis, Tyler Hardwick, Cassondra James, David Jennings, Kenita Miller, T. Oliver Reid, Ximone Rose, Aurelia Williams and Mia Williamson.

The evening is Produced by Yael Silver, Directed by Haley Bennett, with Music Direction by Alvin Hough Jr.

The concert takes place on July 18th, 2018 at 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm. There is a $35-$50 cover charge and $25 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available at www.54Below.com. Tickets on the day of performance after 4:00 are only available by calling (646) 476-3551.

Now in their 35th year of collaboration, Tony Award winners Ahrens and Flaherty have created such Broadway and off-Broadway classics as Ragtime, Seussical, Lucky Stiff, My Favorite Year, A Man of No Importance, and the upcoming Little Dancer, which will have its West Coast premiere at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre this coming season. Members of the American Theatre Hall of Fame, Ahrens and Flaherty have received, theatre, film, and music’s highest honors, and they are currently represented on Broadway by both Once On This Island and the long-running hit, Anastasia.

James Monroe Iglehart, Garth Kravits and Jessie Mueller Visit ONCE ON THIS ISLAND 

Lea Salonga, Kenita R. Miller, Merle Dandridge, Andy Mientus, Garth Kravits and More Celebrate ONCE ON THIS ISLAND Tony Award for Best Revival of A Musical 

2018 New York Musical Festival Next Link Project: Jon Viktor Corpuz, Sushma Saha, Angel Lin, Kiet Tai Cao Andreas Wyder, Michelle Noh, Jon Viktor Corpuz, Angel Lin, Allison Linker and Kiet Tai Cao Andreas Wyder, Michelle Noh, Jon Viktor Corpuz, Angel Lin, Allison Linker Kiet Tai Cao, Esco Jouley, Allison Linker, Michelle Noh and Andreas Wyder Set for Melissa Li and Kit Yan’s New Musical INTERSTATE at The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row, July 9 – 15

Kit Yan, Melissa Li and Jon Viktor Corpuz represent Interstate at the Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival in New York City.
Kit Yan, Melissa Li and Jon Viktor Corpuz represent Interstate at the Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival in New York City.
Kit Yan, Melissa Li and Jon Viktor Corpuz represent Interstate at the Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival in New York City.

Interstate, a new musical created by Melissa Li and Kit Yan, has been selected as one of 12 productions to take part in the 2018 New York Musical Festival Next Link Project. The workshop production will open the festival and features a diverse mix of talent while showcasing the journey of two Asian transgender artists. Interstate is directed by Jessi D. Hill, choreographed by Jessica Chen, with music direction by Karen Dryer.

The eclectic cast of Interstate stars Jon Viktor Corpuz (The King and I/Broadway), Sushma Saha (Cabaret/Ithaca College), Angel Lin (Once/National Tour), and an ensemble including Kiet Tai Cao, Esco Jouley (Runaways/Public Theater), Allison Linker (Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame/PaperMill Playhouse), Michelle Noh (“Grey’s Anatomy”), and Andreas Wyder (Titanic:The Musical/National Tour).

The band features Karen Dryer (Musical Direction, 1st Keyboard,) Allison Kelly (Guitar/Bassist), Tidtaya Sinutoke (2nd Keyboard), and Ashley Baier (Drummer).

Interstate is an Asian-American pop-rock poetry musical that follows Dash, a transgender spoken word performer who becomes internet-famous along with his best friend Adrian, a lesbian singer-songwriter. Fueled by the allure of fame and a desire to connect with their community, the band embarks on a road trip across America for their first national tour. Their fiercely political and deeply personal music touches Henry, a transgender teenage boy living in small-town middle America, and he finds solace in their art as he struggles with his own identity and family. After blogging about the band and documenting his own gender journey, he decides to set out on a quest to meet his heroes in person, hoping to find answers to his own struggles. Interstate is a touching story about how two transgender people at different stages of their journey navigate love, family, masculinity, and finding a community in the era of social media.

Book & lyrics writer, Kit Yan, discussed the impetus for creating this musical. “I was inspired to write this musical from a place of queer pain, queer healing, and queer love. Melissa and I used to be in a band called Good Asian Drivers, and we were as popular as a super niche internet-based band could be. Then we went on tour for 2 years and had all the drama that a touring band has, so we broke up. We ended our incredible band and our even more incredible friendship. This was the greatest heartbreak of my life – my friendship and my artistic dreams all crashing at the same time. This show came out of a desire to tell a story of a band whose lives are as complicated as ours, and to give voice, life, and heart, to a couple of queer poc kids with a dream to make music, write poetry, and love hard.”

Interstate features Music, Book & Lyrics by Melissa Li, Book & Lyrics by Kit Yan. The creative team also features the talent of Jessica Chen (Choreography), Edward Morris (Scenic Design), Deepsikha Chatterjee (Costume Design), Jennifer J. Fok (Lighting Design), Fan Zhang (Sound Design), Janelle Lawrence (Properties Design), Natasha Sinha (Dramaturg), Macy Schmidt (Orchestrations & Arrangement), Nic Cory (Assistant Director), Anton Volovsek (Co-Scenic Design), and Joyce Lim (Costume Assistant). General Management, Dailey-Monda Management. Produced by Nicole Kwan, Mark Gagliardi, and Theresa Perkins in association with The Musical Theatre Factory.

Performances take place at Theatre Row’s Acorn Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street, (between 9th and 10th Avenues). Tickets are $31.75 and can be purchased at NYMF.org. The show’s running time is 120 minutes with intermission.

Performance dates:
Monday, July 9 @7:00 pm
Thursday, July 12 @ 9:00 pm
Friday, July 13 @ 5:00 pm
Saturday, July 14 @ 9:00 pm
Sunday, July 15 @ 1:00 pm

For more info: www.interstatemusical.comwww.nymf.org/interstate.

Instagram: @interstatemusical – Facebook: interstatemusical – Twitter: @interst8musical

The Creative Team
Kit Yan (Book, Music, Lyrics) is an award-winning Yellow American New York based artist, born in Enping, China, and raised in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Kit’s work has been produced by the American Repertory Theater, the Smithsonian, and Dixon Place among many others. They have been a Civilians resident, WP/Public theater Trans Lab fellow, and resident with Musical Theatre Factory and the Village Theatre. www.kityanpoet.com

Melissa Li (Book, Music, Lyrics) is a composer, performer, and writer. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Award and a Queer|Art|Mentorship fellow. Musicals include Surviving the Nian (The Theater Offensive, IRNE Award for Best New Play 2007), 99% Stone (The Theater Offensive), and Interstate (New York Musical Festival). Her works have received support from the National Performance Network, New England Foundation for the Arts, Dixon Place, terraNOVA Collective, and Musical Theater Factory, among others. www.melissali.com

Jessi D. Hill (Director) credits include: new work at New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater/Joe’s Pub, The Playwrights’ Center, Primary Stages, Labyrinth, The Women’s Project, 59E59, P73, The New Group, Rattlestick, Ensemble Studio Theatre, HERE Arts Center, terraNOVA Collective, Culture Project, Musical Theatre Factory, The Barrow Group, PS122, New Dramatists, The Lark, The Playwrights Realm, New Georges, The Wild Project, and others. She has been a director and teacher in professional training programs at Yale School of Drama, Juilliard, The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center/NTI, The Atlantic School, Playwrights Horizons and others. Her work has been seen internationally in Edinburgh, London, New Zealand, Berlin and Hamburg. MFA: Yale. Member SDC. http://www.jessidhill.com

For more information on Interstate and their journey to NYMF, or how to get involved, you can visit the show’s Kickstarter page at http://bit.ly/InterstateNYMF.

About The New York Musical Festival
The New York Musical Festival nurtures the creation, production, and public presentation of stylistically, thematically, and culturally diverse new musicals to ensure the future vitality of musical theater.

Now in its fifteenth year, the Festival is the premier musical theater event in the world. The preeminent site for launching new musicals and discovering new talent, the Festival provides an affordable platform for artists to mount professional productions that reach their peers, industry leaders, and musical theater fans. More than 90 Festival shows have gone on to productions on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters in all 50 states, and in more than 24 countries worldwide. Festival alumni have received a wide array of awards including the Tony Award® and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2013, NYMF received a special Drama Desk Award in recognition of its work “creating and nurturing new musical theater, ensuring the future of this essential art form.”

NYMF is the flagship program of National Music Theater Network, Inc., a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization. 2018 NYMF is sponsored by The City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, PRG, TheaterMania, Clear Channel Outdoor, Tinc Productions and Fox Stage Productions and is supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

The NYMF PASS is a great way to experience The New York Musical Festival. With a NYMF PASS, you can get into the theater before individual ticket holders. Passes also offer the exclusive ability to book tickets before they go on sale to the public. Individual tickets on sale now.

The 2018 New York Musical Festival will take place July 9th – August 5th. For more information, please visit: www.nymf.org.

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SWEENEY TODD at Barrow Street Becomes Longest Running Production of SWEENEY

Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The Tooting Arts Club production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street made history on June 20, 2018 as it became the longest running production of Sweeney Todd on record. The performance marked 558, surpassing the 1979 Original Broadway Production directed by Hal Prince.

Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Thom Sesma as Sweeney Todd and Sally Ann Triplett as Mrs. Lovett. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The production will play its final performance on August 26, 2018 after a successful run at New York’s Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street). This production was named “Best of the Year!” by Time, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Huffington Post, Variety, Forbes, BuzzFeed and The Daily Beast. It’s the winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Revival, the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Musical Revival and the Best Off-Broadway Musical, Theater Fans’ Choice Award.

Lucille Lortel Nominee Thom Sesma Talks Asian American Representation in the Performing Arts and all things Sondheim 

Sweeney Todd currently stars Thom Sesma (as Sweeney Todd), Sally Ann Triplett (as Mrs. Lovett), Stacie Bono (as Pirelli & Beggar Woman). Michael James Leslie (as Judge Turpin), Zachary Noah Piser (as Tobias), John Rapson (as The Beadle), Billy Harrigan Tighe (as Anthony) and DeLaney Westfall (as Johanna). The cast also includes Daniel Berryman, Laura Darrell, Matt Leisy, Liz Pearce, Monet Sabel, Drew Seigla and Haley Swindal.

The company of SWEENEY TODD. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
The company of SWEENEY TODD. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Sweeney Todd, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler from an adaptation by Christopher Bond, and directed by Bill Buckhurst, is now playing at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street). For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.SweeneyToddNYC.com.

Zachary Noah Piser as Tobias. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Zachary Noah Piser as Tobias. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Sweeney Todd features set and costume designs by Simon Kenny, music supervision and arrangements by Benjamin Cox, music direction by Matt Aument, choreography by Georgina Lamb, lighting design by Amy Mae, sound design by Matt Stine, casting by Telsey + Company / Cesar A. Rocha, CSA and production stage management by Joanna Muhlfelder.

DeLaney Westfall as Johanna and Billy Harrigan Tighe as Anthony. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
DeLaney Westfall as Johanna and Billy Harrigan Tighe as Anthony. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Immersing audiences in a completely new theatrical experience, this production of the classic tale of blood thirsty barber Sweeney Todd and resourceful pie shop proprietress Mrs. Lovett comes to New York City following sold-out runs in London. Tooting Arts Club first mounted this Sweeney Todd in the winter of 2014 in Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop, one of the oldest continuously operating pie shops in London, seating only 35 people at each performance. In 2015, the production made the leap to the West End where Tooting Arts Club recreated Harrington’s in a 69 seat Shaftesbury Avenue venue provided by producer Cameron Mackintosh. The Harrington’s shop environment has once again been brought to life for its US debut in the 130 seat Barrow Street Theatre.

Sweeney Todd began performances on February 14, 2017 prior to a March 1, 2017 opening.

Sweeney Todd is produced by Rachel Edwards, Jenny Gersten, Seaview Productions, Fiona Rudin, Barrow Street Theatre, Jean Doumanian, Rebecca Gold and Nate Koch (Executive Producer).

Based on a Victorian horror story, Sweeney Todd is often considered Sondheim’s greatest masterpiece. It first premiered on Broadway in 1979 at the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin) and went on to make its West End debut in 1980. The original Broadway production won 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. The 2007 Tim Burton film adaptation earned one Academy Award and two Golden Globe Awards.

Former White House Executive Pastry Chef William “Bill” Yosses (dubbed “the Crust Master” by President Barack Obama) serves as the production’s official pie maker. In keeping with the original Tooting production and the West End transfer, “pie and mash” is available for purchase by audience members prior to every performance, served communally in the pie shop where the production is set. An authentic slice of Victorian London, the traditional “pie and mash” dish consists of a meat pie, a generous helping of mashed potato and hot parsley sauce – otherwise known as “liquor” – which is an optional extra. Both meat veg pie options are available.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.SweeneyToddNYC.com, at the Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow Street at 7th Ave South (Box Office open 1pm daily), or by calling OvationTix at 866-811-4111. Tickets for performances range in price from $55 to $150. Premium seating is available.

When purchasing tickets, patrons can select an option to add the pie and mash meal to their order for an additional $22.50 ($29 for beef wellington). The meal also includes a beer, glass of wine, or non-alcoholic beverage to be enjoyed in the pie-shop starting 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to each performance. Please note that this option can only be purchased in advance with tickets.

A limited number of $39 tickets will be made available to every performance of Sweeney Todd via the TodayTix app. The entry period for all performances will begin each performance day at 12:01am EST and continue until winners are notified via email and push notification 2-4 hours before the selected performance begins. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. A photo ID is required for pickup and lottery tickets and seat locations are subject to availability.

This production of the classic tale of blood thirsty barber Sweeney Todd and resourceful pie shop proprietress Mrs. Lovett immerses audiences in a completely new theatrical experience. This Sweeney Todd comes to New York City following sold-out runs in London where the show debuted in the 35-seat Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop, the oldest continuously operating pie shop in the city, before transferring (by special arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh) to a 69- seat West End venue on Shaftesbury Avenue. The working pie-shop environment has been re-created in the 130-seat Barrow Street Theatre.

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Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Phillip James Brannon, Cindy Cheung, Ian Harvie, Talene Monahon and Dolly Wells in World Premiere of LOG CABIN through July 15

Ian Harvie, Dolly Wells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Phillip James Brannon, and Cindy Cheung. Photo by Joan Marcus

The Playwrights Horizons (Tim Sanford, Artistic Director; Leslie Marcus, Managing Director) world premiere production of Log Cabin, a new play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Jordan Harrison (Marjorie Prime, Maple and Vine, Doris to Darlene at Playwrights; “Orange Is the New Black”) is currently in previews. Directed by Tony Award and Obie Award winner Pam MacKinnon (Clybourne Park, The Qualms at Playwrights; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Parisian Woman), Log Cabin is the sixth and final production of the theater company’s current 2017/2018 Season.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus
Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus

Log Cabin has an opening night set for Monday, June 25 at 7:30 PM at the company’s Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street). The limited engagement is currently scheduled to play through Sunday, July 15.

Cindy Cheung and Dolly Wells. Photo by Joan Marcus
Cindy Cheung and Dolly Wells. Photo by Joan Marcus

The cast features Obie Award winner Phillip James Brannon (Bootycandy at Playwrights, The Antipodes, The City of Conversation), Cindy Cheung (Iowa at Playwrights, “High Maintenance,” “13 Reasons Why”), five-time Emmy Award nominee and two-time Drama Desk Award winner, stage and screen star Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Modern Family,” Fully Committed, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), stand-up comedian and actor Ian Harvie (“Transparent,” Margaret Cho’s Sensuous Woman, The Ian Harvie Show),Talene Monahon (Bobbie Clearly, Tell Hector I Miss Him, The Wild Party) and Dolly Wells (The Whirligig, “Doll & Em,” Bridget Jones’s Diary).

Cindy Cheung, Dolly Wells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus
Cindy Cheung, Dolly Wells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus

It’s a faraway age of hope and inclusivity; in other words, it’s 2015. When a tight-knit circle of married gays and lesbians – comfy in the new mainstream – sees themselves through the eyes of their rakish transgender pal (Mr. Harvie), it’s clear that the march toward progress is anything but unified. With stinging satire and acute compassion, Jordan Harrison’s pointed comedy charts the breakdown of empathy that happens when we think our rights are secure, revealing conservative hearts where you’d least expect.

Dolly Wells and Ian Harvie. Photo by Joan Marcus
Dolly Wells and Ian Harvie. Photo by Joan Marcus
Talene Monahon, Ian Harvie, and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus
Talene Monahon, Ian Harvie, and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus
Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus
Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus
Ian Harvie, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Cindy Cheung. Photo by Joan Marcus
Ian Harvie, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Cindy Cheung. Photo by Joan Marcus
Dolly Wells, Talene Monahon, and Cindy Cheung. Photo by Joan Marcus
Dolly Wells, Talene Monahon, and Cindy Cheung. Photo by Joan Marcus
Ian Harvie, Dolly Wells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Phillip James Brannon, and Cindy Cheung. Photo by Joan Marcus
Ian Harvie, Dolly Wells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Phillip James Brannon, and Cindy Cheung. Photo by Joan Marcus
Cindy Cheung, Dolly Wells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus
Cindy Cheung, Dolly Wells, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Phillip James Brannon. Photo by Joan Marcus

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Jocelyn Bioh, Kirsten Childs and Charles Busch To Receive Dramatists Guild Awards on July 28

The Dramatists Guild of America will present their annual awards at their national conference on Saturday, July 28, 2018, at The Hilton Midtown in New York.

This year’s awards go to Jocelyn Bioh, recipient of the Hull-Warriner Award for her play School Girls; or the African Mean Girls Play; Kirsten Childs, recipient of the Frederick Loewe Award for Dramatic Composition for her score to Bella: An American Tall Tale; Charles Busch, recipient of the Flora Roberts Award. At the awards presentation, they will join James Anthony Tyler, the previously-announced recipient of the Horton Foote Playwriting Award; the recipients of the Lanford Wilson Award and the DLDF Defender Award will be announced at a later date.

The Hull-Warriner Award is the only award given by dramatists to dramatists; it is presented annually by the Dramatists Guild Council to an author or team of authors in recognition of their play dealing with controversial subjects involving the fields of political, religious, or social mores of the times. Previous winners include Paula Vogel, Lynn Nottage, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Annie Baker, August Wilson, Stephen Karam, Marsha Norman and Dael Orlandersmith.

Jocelyn Bioh
Jocelyn Bioh

Jocelyn Bioh is a Ghanaian-American writer/performer from New York City. Her plays include 2015 Kilroys’ List selection Nollywood Dreams, which was presented in the spring of 2017 as part of the Cherry Lane Mentor Project; School Girls; or the African Mean Girls Play (Lortel Award, OCC John Gassner Award, Drama Desk nomination, Drama League nomination, Kilroys’ List 2016, produced at MCC Theater in 2017 and returning for an encore run in October, 2018), Happiness and Joe (2017), African Americans (Ruby Prize Finalist 2011), Goddess (book writer), and The Ladykiller’s Love Story, of which she conceived the story and wrote the libretto with music/lyrics by Cee Lo Green. She is a commissioned playwright with MTC, Atlantic Theater Company, and Williamstown Theater Festival (2018 Lilly Award) and is a Resident Playwright at Lincoln Center and is a Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence with MCC Theater for 2017/18. Jocelyn received a B.A in English/Theatre from The Ohio State University and the MFA in Playwriting.

Myra Lucretia Taylor, Palmer Hefferan, MaameYaa Boafo, Paige Gilbert, Jocelyn Bioh, Zainab Jah and Dede Ayite at the Drama Desk Awards luncheon at Friedmans inside The Hotel Edison in New York on May 9, 2018. Photo: Facebook
Myra Lucretia Taylor, Palmer Hefferan, MaameYaa Boafo, Paige Gilbert, Jocelyn Bioh, Zainab Jah and Dede Ayite at the Drama Desk Awards luncheon at Friedmans inside The Hotel Edison in New York on May 9, 2018. Photo: Facebook

The Frederick Loewe Award, given by the Frederick Loewe Foundation and presented annually by the Dramatists Guild Council to a composer, recognizes achievement in a theatrical score presented in New York during the previous theatrical season. Past winners include Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, Jeanine Tesori, Amanda Green & Trey Anastasio, Alan Menken, Michael John LaChiusa, Robert Lopez, Trey Parker & Matt Stone, John Kander, Tom Kitt, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Scott Frankel.

Kirsten Childs. Photo by Zack DeZon
Kirsten Childs. Photo by Zack DeZon

Kirsten Childs is the composer/lyricist/librettist of Bella: An American Tall Tale, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Miracle Brothers, Fly(with Rajiv Joseph and Bill Sherman), and Funked Up Fairy Tales. For her work she has received Obie, Kleban, Larson, Richard Rodgers, Audelco, and Gilman/Gonzalez-Falla awards, as well as Lortel and Drama Desk nominations. She is a professor in NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program, a member of both the Dramatists Guild Council and the Dramatists Guild Foundation, and is proud to be a mentor in Theatre Development Fund’s Open Doors program.

The company of BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE. Photo by Joan Marcus
The company of BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE. Photo by Joan Marcus

The Flora Roberts Award, administered by the Dramatists Guild Foundation, is presented to a dramatist in recognition of distinguished work in the theatre and to encourage the continuation of that work. Previous recipients include Mac Wellman, Dael Orlandersmith, Charles Fuller, Arthur Kopit, Philip Kan Gotanda, Michael Weller, Polly Pen, Craig Lucas, Ed Bullins, Adrienne Kennedy, and Tina Howe.

Charles Busch is the author and star of such plays as The Confession of Lily Dare, Cleopatra, The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history. His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and won Mr. Busch the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner Award and received a Tony nomination for Best Play. He wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays Psycho Beach Party and Die Mommie Die, the latter of which won him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2003, Mr. Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright. He is also the subject of the documentary film The Lady in Question is Charles Busch.

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May Adrales Receives The Alan Schneider Director Award

May Adrales. Photo by Lia Chang

Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Associate Artistic Director May Adrales is the recipient of this year’s Alan Schneider Director Award. The award was presented late yesterday at Theatre Communications Group’s national conference in St. Louis, MS. The award is designed to identify and assist exceptional directors whose talent has been demonstrated through work in specific regions, but who may not be well known nationally. With it comes a cash prize of $7,500, which may be used for travel, research or other activities specifically focused on the directing craft or related career opportunities.

May Adrales. Photo by Lia Chang
May Adrales. Photo by Lia Chang

May Adrales joined Milwaukee Rep as Associate Artistic Director in 2016 directing past season’s The Who & The What and Animal Farm. This fall she is directing the much-anticipated musical In The Heights which is a co-production with Seattle Repertory Theater and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Adrales has worked nationally, primarily directing new plays including Qui Nguyen’s award-winning Vietgone (Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Seattle Rep), JC Lee’s Luce (LCT3), Katori Hall’s Whaddabloodclot!!! (Williamstown Theatre Festival), A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Thomas Bradshaw’s Mary (The Goodman Theatre), The Bereaved (Partial Comfort Productions), In This House (Two River Theater Company), Richard Dresser’s Trouble Cometh (SF Playhouse), Qui Nguyen’s Five Days ‘Til Saturday (NYU Tisch) and Tommy Smith’s The Wife (Access Theater). She is currently at Oregon Shakespeare Festival directing Idris Goodwin’s The Way the Mountain Moved.

Jon Hoche, Raymond Lee, Paco Tolson, Jennifer Ikeda and Samantha Quan. Photo: Carol Rosegg
Jon Hoche, Raymond Lee, Paco Tolson, Jennifer Ikeda and Samantha Quan in VIETGONE. Photo: Carol Rosegg

Click here to watch the video of her speech.

The Alan Schneider Director Award was established in honor of Alan Schneider’s significant contribution to the American theatre and his lifelong concern for the development of career opportunities for freelance directors. A prolific director and mentor, Alan Schneider was responsible for over one hundred productions in the American theatre, introducing American audiences to playwrights such as Samuel Beckett (Schneider directed the 1956 American premiere of Waiting for Godot); Edward Albee (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?); Michael Weller (Moonchildren and Loose Ends); Harold Pinter (The Birthday Party, The Dumb Waiter and The Collection); and Bertolt Brecht (The Caucasian Chalk Circle). Schneider taught at Catholic University, the Juilliard School, and the University of California at San Diego; was associated with Arena Stage for thirty years; was the co-artistic director of The Acting Company; and at the time of his death was the president of the Board of Directors for Theatre Communications Group. Following his death in a 1984 London traffic accident, the Alan Schneider Memorial Fund was established by TCG, The Acting Company and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Proceeds from the Fund go to the Alan Schneider Director Award, which provides national visibility to the recipient as well as a grant to support activities specifically tied to the development of the craft of directing.

For more information about Milwaukee Repertory Theater, please visit www.MilwaukeeRep.com

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International Play Reading Festival: TIME BOMB at Lenfest Center for the Arts on June 15

Ed Sylvanus Iskandar. Photo by Lia Chang
Ed Sylvanus Iskandar. Photo by Lia Chang
Ed Sylvanus Iskandar. Photo by Lia Chang

Tonight, I am going to a reading of Time Bomb by N. Riantiarno (Indonesia), the first play of three featured in the Inaugural Columbia University School of the Arts International Play Reading Festival, organized by Dean Carol Becker and David Henry Hwang, at the Flexible Performance Space, Lenfest Center for the Arts, 615 W. 129 St. in New York at 7pm.

The other plays in the Festival by living international playwrights that were not originally written in English include Shaitan Lake by Rinat Tashminov (Russia) and Where Can I Find Someone Like You, Ali? by Raeda Taha (Palestine).

The goal of the festival is to expand contemporary American understanding of theatre beyond that of English-speaking countries, and to present new theatrical voices to US audiences.

Time Bomb was translated from Indonesian by Barbara Hatley and will be helmed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar.

The cast includes Jorja Brown, Debbie Christine*, Karl Josef Co*, Kim Fischer*, Sevan Greene*, Megan Masako Haley, Katie Lee Hill*,Frank Licari, Paolo Montalban*, Aaron L. Morishita*, and Kate Rigg*

*Appearing courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association

Dramaturg: Cobina Gillitt
Consultant: Jason Williamson
Music Director: Enrico de Trizio
Stage Manager: Daniel Vaughn
Associate Stage Manager: Tzipora Reman

This is a story about those who are marginalized. A story of those living under bridges and in foul sewers, who can only stare up at the moon and speculate on their fortunes, daydreaming about the luxurious lives stowed away behind bright shop windows. When the state comes to raze their small riverside town in order to develop the land, these villagers—forgotten, abused, oppressed—find their bodies and spirits in danger of being buried underneath the demolished rubble.

Born in Cirebon, Indonesia, in 1949, N. Riantiarno founded Teater Koma in Jakarta in 1977. His over-140 stage and television productions include The Cockroach Opera Trilogy; Sorry.Sorry.Sorry; Succession; Sampek Engtay; The Primadonna Opera; Burisrawa The Corporate Mogul; Semar Protests; Constipated Opera; The Republic of Bagong; The Republic of Togog; The Republic of Petruk; Metaphore of Love; and the Siejinkwie tetralogy. He is the author of the novels Evening Romance; Red Mirror; Clear Mirror; Love Mirror; and Primadonna.

Time Bomb
List of Characters
Jumini, woman who has lost her husband and child
Roima, good-looking young gangster
Julini, transvestite, Roima’s girlfriend
Kumis, security guard
Bleki, security guard
Abung, mad philosopher who lives in a tree
Tarsih, pretty and popular prostitute
Kasijah, prostitute
Turkana, Jumini’s companion and admirer
Tibal, young villager newly arrived in the city
Tuminah, Tibal’s sister
Sawil and Bilun, pair of dreamers & schemers
Subdistrict Head, government bureaucrat
Secretary, subdistrict head’s secretary
Singer
Prostitute 1
Prostitute 2
Other Prostitutes
Diners
Beggars
Guards

Setting: A fetid slum under a bridge along a Jakarta canal. On a higher level and visible throughout the play, five diners of apparent wealth are seated at a table at a fine restaurant. Statue-like, they eat their sumptuous meals without speaking.

Click here for other events in the Festival.

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Signature’s Revival of OUR LADY OF 121ST STREET Announces Student Rush Policy

Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Hill Harper, & Deirdre Friel. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni
Joey Auzenne, Jimonn Cole, Hill Harper & John Doman. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni
Joey Auzenne, Jimonn Cole, Hill Harper & John Doman. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni

Student rush tickets will be offered for the final week of performances of the Signature Theatre production of Our Lady of 121st Street, by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis and directed by Tony Award-winner Phylicia Rashad. Student rush tickets will be sold for $30 when the ground floor Box Office opens each day up until performance time. The tickets are only available for purchase in person at 480 West 42nd Street and are subject to availability. Limit two tickets per person. Valid student ID must be presented at the time of purchase.

Erick Betancourt & Maki Borden. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni
Erick Betancourt & Maki Borden. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni

Our Lady of 121st Street is the second production of Guirgis’ Signature residency, which began last fall with the critically-acclaimed, extended production of Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, directed by Mark Brokaw. Our Lady of 121st Street marks Rashad’s New York City directorial debut. The production opened on May 20, 2018 on The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). The production was described as “uproariously fun and viscerally piercing” by The Daily Beast, while The Hollywood Reporter called it “a superb production, staged to perfection.”

 Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Hill Harper, & Deirdre Friel. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni

Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Hill Harper, & Deirdre Friel. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni

After the death of the beloved Sister Rose, a group of her former students return to their Harlem neighborhood to pay respects. But at the Funeral Home, there’s a problem-her dead body has been stolen. An irreverently brash and insightful dark comedy, Our Lady of 121st Street paints a vivid comic portrait of what happens when old friends meet old wounds and how old habits die hard.

Quincy Tyler Bernstine & Paola Lazaro. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni
Quincy Tyler Bernstine & Paola Lazaro. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni

The cast includes Joey Auzenne ( “House of Cards”), Obie Award-winner Quincy Tyler Bernstine (Ruined), Erick Betancourt (Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train), Maki Borden (A 24-Decade History of Popular Music), Jimonn Cole (Peter and the Starcatcher), John Doman (“The Wire”), Dierdre Friel (“Search Party”), Hill Harper (“The Good Doctor”), Kevin Isola (“Billions”), Stephanie Kurtzuba (“The Good Wife”), Paola Lázaro (To the Bone), John Procaccino (Incident at Vichy).

The creative team includes Walt Spangler (Scenic Design), Alexis Forte (Costume Design), Keith Parham (Lighting Design), Robert Kaplowitz (Sound Design), Cookie Jordan (Hair & Wig Design), Susan Finch (Dialect Coach). Charles M. Turner III is the Production Stage Manager. Casting by Caparelliotis Casting.

Erick Betancourt & Maki Borden. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni
Erick Betancourt & Maki Borden. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni

Signature is also currently producing Paradise Blue, by Dominique Morisseau and directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson; performances began on April 24 and the production has been extended twice through June 17, 2018. The company also recently announced programming for the 2018-19 Season, which will include plays by Will Eno, Athol Fugard, Dave Malloy, Lynn Nottage and Sam Shepard.

Joey Auzenne and John Procaccino. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni
Joey Auzenne and John Procaccino. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni
“Superb production, staged to perfection! Moving and riotously funny!”

– Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

“Raucous! Undoubtedly the most enjoyable screw-ups you can catch right now on a New York Stage!”

– Jesse Green, The New York Times

“Brilliant! Uproariously fun and viscerally piercing!”

– Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast

Hill Harper & John Doman. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni
Hill Harper & John Doman. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni

Waitlist tickets are available for sold-out performances at the ground floor Box Office window one hour prior to show time. To purchase tickets for all Signature Productions or to subscribe to the 2018-19 Season, call Ticket Services at 212-244-7529 (Tues. – Sun., 11am – 6pm) or visit www.SignatureTheatre.org.

Click here for an interview with Stephen Adly Guirgis, actress Quincy Tyler Bernstine and director Phylicia Rashad.

Chukwudi Iwuji, Heather Lind, Corey Stoll, Alison Wright and More in Shakespeare in the Park Company of OTHELLO

Heather Lind and Chukwudi Iwuji. Photo: Joan Marcus
Chukwudi Iwuji. Photo: Joan Marcus
Chukwudi Iwuji. Photo: Joan Marcus

The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of OTHELLO is currently running at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park through Sunday, June 24.

Corey Stoll and Thomas Schall. Photo: Joan Marcus
Corey Stoll and Thomas Schall. Photo: Joan Marcus

OTHELLO is directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. The complete cast of OTHELLO features Peter Jay Fernandez (Duke of Venice); Motell Foster (Roderigo); Andrew Hovelson (Lodovico); Chukwudi Iwuji (Othello); David Kenner (Ensemble); Heather Lind (Desdemona); Tim Nicolai (Ensemble); Flor De Liz Perez (Bianca); Miguel Perez (Brabantio);Thomas Schall (Montano); Caroline Siewert (Ensemble); Corey Stoll (Iago); Babak Tafti (Cassio); Peter Van Wagner (Gratiano); and Alison Wright (Emilia). The non-equity ensemble will feature Kevin Rico Angulo, Christopher Cassarino, Lily Santiago, and Allen Tedder.

Chukwudi Iwuji and Corey Stoll. Photo: Joan Marcus
Chukwudi Iwuji and Corey Stoll. Photo: Joan Marcus

Set amid war and palace intrigue in the 17th-century Mediterranean, this classic drama about a noble Black Venetian general whose marriage is sabotaged by theater’s most infamous villain, Iago, remains Shakespeare’s most urgent and relevant tragedy today. A lush, romantic vision gives way to the violent tangle of love and jealousy, race and revenge in this must-see production of Shakespeare’s great tragedy, OTHELLO.

Chukwudi Iwuji and Corey Stoll. Photo: Joan Marcus
Chukwudi Iwuji and Corey Stoll. Photo: Joan Marcus

OTHELLO features scenic design by Rachel Hauck, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Jane Cox, sound design by Jessica Paz, hair and wig design by Matthew B. Armentrout, music composition by Derek Wieland, fight direction by Thomas Schall, and movement direction by Adesola Osakalumi.

Chukwudi Iwuji and Heather Lind. Photo: Joan Marcus
Chukwudi Iwuji and Heather Lind. Photo: Joan Marcus
Corey Stoll and Alison Wright. Photo: Joan Marcus
Corey Stoll and Alison Wright. Photo: Joan Marcus
Heather Lind and Chukwudi Iwuji. Photo: Joan Marcus
Heather Lind and Chukwudi Iwuji. Photo: Joan Marcus
Alison Wright, Chukwudi Iwuji, and Heather Lind. Photo: Joan Marcus
Alison Wright, Chukwudi Iwuji, and Heather Lind. Photo: Joan Marcus
Corey Stoll and Alison Wright. Photo: Joan Marcus
Corey Stoll and Alison Wright. Photo: Joan Marcus
Corey Stoll and Chukwudi Iwuji. Photo: Joan Marcus
Corey Stoll and Chukwudi Iwuji. Photo: Joan Marcus
 Heather Lind and Chukwudi Iwuji. Photo: Joan Marcus
Heather Lind and Chukwudi Iwuji. Photo: Joan Marcus
Corey Stoll and Motell Foster. Photo: Joan Marcus
Corey Stoll and Motell Foster. Photo: Joan Marcus
Babak Tafti and Heather Lind. Photo: Joan Marcus
Babak Tafti and Heather Lind. Photo: Joan Marcus
Heather Lind and Chukwudi Iwuji. Photo: Joan Marcus
Heather Lind and Chukwudi Iwuji. Photo: Joan Marcus
Heather Lind and Alison Wright. Photo by Joan Marcus
Heather Lind and Alison Wright. Photo by Joan Marcus

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