HADESTOWN Garners 12 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations and Sets Release Date for Original Broadway Cast Recording

Hadestown, the new musical by Anaïs Mitchell, developed with Rachel Chavkin, will digitally release the show’s Original Cast Recording on Friday, June 7. Additionally, the recording will be available as a double-CD with a release date to be announced.

Eva Noblezada, André De Shields, Reeve Carney, Patrick Page, Amber Gray and Company. Photo by Lia Chang

The Hadestown Original Broadway Cast Recording will be produced by David Lai and Todd Sickafoose who previously produced the beloved 2017 live recording from the show’s earlier run at New York Theatre Workshop. To date, the live recording has been streamed an astounding 14 million times according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Front Row: HADESTOWN Choreographer David Neumann, Director Rachel Chavkin and Creator Anaïs Mitchell with the company. Photo by Lia Chang
Front Row: HADESTOWN Choreographer David Neumann, Director Rachel Chavkin and Creator Anaïs Mitchell with the company. Photo by Lia Chang

Hadestown received 12 Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, more than any other show this season. The show, currently playing to sold-out audiences at the Walter Kerr Theatre (219 West 48th Street), is led by Reeve Carney, André De Shields, Amber Gray, Eva Noblezada, and Patrick Page. They are joined by Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, and Kay Trinidad as the Fates. The Workers Chorus is played by Afra Hines, Timothy Hughes, John Krause, Kimberly Marable, and Ahmad Simmons. The full cast includes swings Malcolm Armwood, T. Oliver Reid, Jessie Shelton, and Khaila Wilcoxon.

Hadestown garnered nominations for Outstanding New Broadway Musical, Outstanding Actor in a Musical for Reeve Carney, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for Amber Gray, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for André De Shields, Outstanding Book of a Musical and Outstanding New Score for Anaïs Mitchell, Outstanding Director of a Musical for Rachel Chavkin, Outstanding Choreographer David Neumann, Outstanding Scenic Design for Rachel Hauck, Outstanding Lighting Design for Bradley King and  Outstanding Sound Design for Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Outstanding Orchestrations for Michael Chorney, Todd Sickafoose.

Amber Gray and André De Shields have been nominated for 2019 Drama League Awards. Photo by Lia Chang

Hadestown has also received 3 Drama League nominations for Outstanding Production of a Play, while Amber Gray and André De Shields have been nominated for Distinguished Performance Awards.

Hadestown marks the first time in over a decade that a woman has been the solo author of a musical: writing the music, lyrics, and book, and is the fourth time in Broadway history a woman has accomplished this creative feat. The show originated as Mitchell’s indie theater project that toured Vermont which she then turned into an acclaimed album. With Chavkin, her artistic collaborator, Hadestown has been transformed into a genre-defying new musical that blends modern American folk music with New Orleans-inspired jazz to reimagine a sweeping ancient tale.

Rachel Chavkin and Anaïs Mitchell. Photo by Lia Chang

Following two intertwining love stories – that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone – Hadestown invites audiences on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back. Mitchell’s beguiling melodies and Chavkin’s poetic imagination pit industry against nature, doubt against faith, and fear against love. Performed by a vibrant ensemble of actors, dancers, and singers, Hadestown delivers a deeply resonant and defiantly hopeful theatrical experience.

Todd Sickafoose, Liam Robinson, Rachel Hauck, David Neumann, Erica Sweany, Rachel Chavkin and Cody Owen Stine. Photo by Lia Chang

The creative team for Broadway features Drama Desk Award nominee Rachel Hauck (set design), three-time Tony Award nominee Michael Krass (costume design), Tony Award winner Bradley King (lighting design), Tony Award nominee Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz (sound design), three-time Bessie Award® winner David Neumann (choreography), Liam Robinson (music direction and vocal arrangements), Michael Chorney, Sickafoose (arrangements and orchestrations), Ken Cerniglia (dramaturgy), and Stewart/Whitley (casting).

Inside the Opening Night Afterparty of HADESTOWN with André De Shields 

Andrea Abello, Purva Bedi, Yair Ben-Dor, Lizan Mitchell, K.K. Moggie, Howard W. Overshown, Linda Powell, and David Ryan Smith Set for Soho Rep’s NY Premiere of Christopher Chen’s PASSAGE, April 23 – May 26

Soho Rep. presents the New York Premiere of Obie Award-winning playwright Christopher Chen’s Passage (April 23-May 26), a fantasia on colonialism past and present that asks the question: if Country Y occupies Country X, can someone from Country X and someone from Country Y ever form a mutual relationship? Directed by Saheem Ali, Passage is a playful and gripping experiment that isolates power as the sole differentiator between people challenging the arbitrary binaries that define how we live.

Saheem Ali, the rising star director behind Donja R. Love’s Fireflies and The Sugar in Our Wounds, and the upcoming performance of Christopher Urch’s The Rolling Stone at Lincoln Center Theater, directs a cast including Andrea Abello, Purva Bedi, Yair Ben-Dor, Lizan Mitchell, K.K. Moggie, Howard W. Overshown, Linda Powell, and David Ryan Smith. The creative team includes Arnulfo Maldonado (Scenic), Toni-Leslie James (Costumes), Amith Chandrashaker (Lighting), Mikaal Sulaiman (Sound), Ryan Courtney (Props), and Nicole Marconi (PSM).

Saheem Ali, who grew up in Kenya amidst the legacy of British colonial rule, describes the play’s themes as intensely, personally relevant. Ali is drawn to the structural and theatrical challenge Chen’s script poses: to stage a representation of power without the typical signifiers. One way of addressing this challenge, for Ali, was to cast all actors of color eschewing the overt social connotations of casting white people as the oppressors and people of color as the oppressed. Ali explains, The process has been a real stripping away Chris’ script starts by stripping away identity in all its forms (characters in the play are named for letters in the alphabet), and even as we’ve been exploring possibilities of the play’s physical landscape in rehearsal, it’s continued to be, ‘take away, take away, take away.’ We’re in the process of getting to the core of the theatrical event.

Chen’s distinctive and exhilarating storytelling (The Brooklyn Rail) was last on display in New York in 2016, in his intricately constructed, unrelentingly destabilizing puzzle of a play (The New York Times, in a Critics’ Pick review), Caught. He refers to Passage as his most instinctive, impulsive play, saying, I am a mixed race person, and I almost feel my cultural inheritance is defined by the duality at play here; I’ve simultaneously sort of but not fully fit in anywhere, and understood and not understood both sides fully. I wanted to put this struggle to understand and connect my own vulnerabilities on the table with this one. Openness is a big part of the play, I wanted to make this play an open vessel, allowing POC movements past and present across a century of time, across different continents to course through the work.

Soho Rep. Artistic Director Sarah Benson says, I could not be more thrilled to be producing Chris Chen’s brilliant and highly inventive play. This is writing for the theater at its very best Chris pries open an imaginative space that is exhilarating and unsettling. Saheem Ali has championed Chris’ writing (and this play in particular) and I simply cannot wait to see the production they make together. I have followed the productions Saheem has created for several years and have been blown away by his irreverence and wit his practice melds true theater experimentation with bold populism.

Performance Schedule and Ticketing
Performances of Passage will take place April 23 – May 26 (see schedule of times above) at Soho Rep., located at 46 Walker Street in Manhattan. Critics are welcome beginning May 1 at 7:30PM for an official opening May 5. Admission tickets are $35 general/$65 premium through May 26, and can be purchased by visiting sohorep.org or calling 212.352.3101. $30 general rush and $20 student rush (with a valid school ID) tickets are available at the box office 30 minutes prior to curtain for each performance. $0.99 Sunday tickets will be offered on May 5, 12, and 19 at 7:30pm and are available first come, first served at the box office only. There are no advance sales for Rush or $0.99 Sunday tickets.

Passage was developed with support from The Ground Floor at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Berkeley CA. It was originally produced by the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia (Blanka Zizka, Artistic Director), and was presented as part of the Contemporary American Voices Festival at Long Wharf Theatre, 2017.

About the Artists
Christopher Chen (Playwright) is an Obie Award-winning playwright whose work has been produced across the United States and abroad. His plays include Caught (Obie Award for Playwriting, Barrymore Award, Drama League Nomination), The Hundred Flowers Project (Glickman Award, Rella Lossy Award, James Tait Black Award shortlist), Into The Numbers (Belarus Free Theater International Contest of Modern Drama- 2nd Place), The Late Wedding, Mutt and You Mean To Do Me Harm. Chris is the recipient of the Lanford Wilson Award, The Sundance Institute/Time Warner Fellowship, the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, and he is the inaugural recipient of the Ollie Award. Current commissions include The Aurora, LCT3, Manhattan Theatre Club, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights Horizons and the Royal Shakespeare Company. A San Francisco native, Chris is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, and holds an M.F.A. in playwriting from S.F. State.

Saheem Ali (Director) is a proud immigrant from Kenya. Recent credits include Fireflies (Atlantic Theater Company), Dangerous House (Williamstown Theater Festival), Sugar in Our Wounds (MTC), Tartuffe (Playmakers Rep), Where Storms Are Born (Williamstown), Henry V (NYU Tisch), Twelfth Night (Public Theater), Kill Move Paradise (National Black Theater), Diaspora (Gym at Judson), Nollywood Dreams (Cherry Lane), The Booty Call (Inner Voices) and Dot (Detroit Public Theater). He has workshopped new plays at Playwrights Horizons, Playwrights Realm, MCC, New York Stage & Film, Page 73 and The Lark. He is a Usual Suspect and former Directing Fellow at New York Theater Workshop, Sir John Gielgud SDCF Fellow and a Shubert Fellow.

Cast
Andrea Abello is a Colombian-American actor, poet, and teaching artist. She is stoked to be making her Off-Broadway debut at Soho Rep! Regional: Emmy in A Doll’s House, Part II (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis), World Premiere of Dave Malloy and Anne Washburn’s Little Bunny Foo Foo (Actors Theatre of Louisville). NYC workshops: How to Defend Yourself (Humana Festival workshop), The Place Women Go (WP Theatre and Colt Coeur) and more at The Lark, INTAR, The Drama League, Repertorio Espa ol. Professional Training Company at Actors Theatre of Louisville. BFA from NYU Tisch. A gigantic thanks to the folks over at HCKR Agency, TBD Casting, Saheem, my parents, Nathi, Abuelito, and Cal for all of their support. andreaabello.com

Purva Bedi Soho Rep Debut. Off-Broadway: India Pale Ale (Manhattan Theatre Club), Dance Nation (Playwrights Horizons), An Ordinary Muslim (NYTW), Uncommon Sense (Tectonic), IDIOT! (HERE), Veil’d (WP), Rise of Dorothy Hale (St. Luke’s). with Target Margin as Associate Artist: Reread Another, Tempest, Second Language, Ten Blocks on the Camino Real, Old Comedy, 5 Hysterical Girls Theorem. Regional: Rice Boy (Mark Taper), My Wandering Boy (South Coast Rep). Film: Sully, Equity, Kumare, Cosmopolitan, Green Card Fever, American Desi. TV: “High Maintenance,” “She’s Gotta Have It,” “Person of Interest,” “Madame Secretary”, “Nurse Jackie.” Member The Actor’s Center Workshop Company, Founding member Disha Theatre. Teacher Anthony Meindl Actors Workshop. She Co-Created Assembled Identity (HERE) last spring. Purva studied at Williams College, BADA and Public Theatre Shakespeare Lab. Purva is represented by Artists & Representatives and managed by Sirensong Entertainment.

Yair Ben-Dor Everything Yair has done in the 8 years since moving from Israel – every play, every film, every subway improv and method acting class, has led him here and he is thrilled to have made it this far. He studied at the Lee Strasberg Film & Theatre Institute and has been all around the US working ever since. He acts, he writes (both for fun and professionally), He performs stand up, he produces, he directs… Hell, he’ll sing for you if the lighting is right and he’d be happy to tell you all about it. You can find out some at www.yairbendor.com but you can find out more by tapping him on the shoulder and saying “Hey, good show! By the way ”

Lizan Mitchell Broadway credits include Electra, Having Our Say and So Long on Lonely Street. Off-Broadway credits include The First Noel, Brownsville Song, Cell, The Hurricane Katrina Comedy Festival, Rosmersholm, For Colored Girls, Gum, Salt and Ma Rose. Regional credits include Richard III (Shakespeare Theatre), Dead and Breathing (London, Liverpool, National Black Theater and CATF), Skeleton Crew (Trinity Rep), A Raisin in the Sun (Arena Stage, Helen Hayes Award), My Lord What a Night (Premiere Stages), The Good Peaches (Cleveland Play House), The House That Will Not Stand (Yale Repertory, Berkeley Repertory, Victory Gardens), An Issue of Blood (Victory Gardens), Dead and Breathing (CATF), The Last Fall (Crossroads Theater), Having Our Say (McCarter), Fabulation (Center Stage) and Woolly Mammoth, Pittsburgh Public Theater, TheaterWorks, Goodman, Proposition Theatre, San Jose Repertory, Crossroads Theatre and the Humana Festival. Film/TV credits include Of Monsters and Men, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” Detroit, Brooklynification, Deadbeat, We’ll Never Have Paris, Golden Boy, “John Adams’ (HBO), “The Good Wife,” “Law & Order,” The Human Stain, The Preacher’s Wife, “Sesame Street” and “The Wire”.

K.K. Moggie Off Broadway Includes: The Gravediggers Lullaby (The Actor’s Company) Daphne’s Dive (Signature Theater Company) Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery (NAATCO), Bareknuckle (Vertigo Theater Company), One Night (Cherry Lane) The Golden Dragon (The Play Company), Bottom of the World (Atlantic Theater Company), The Bereaved (Partial Comfort), Grace (MCC), Richard III (CSC), Regional: Mary Stuart (Title role, Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Film: After Party (Best Feature Comedy 2017 Madrid International Film Industry), Home (Dances With Films 2013 Industry Choice Award), Anna and the King, The Sleeping Dictionary. Short Film: You Beautiful Blind Crazy Cripple (lead), The Audition (directed by Martin Scorsese), Memory Box. TV Includes: “The Good Wife” (CBS), “Gossip Girl” (CW), “Mercy” (NBC), “White Collar” (USA) Love to Kevin and Wiley.

Howard W. Overshown Broadway: Saint Joan, Julius Caesar w/ Denzel Washington, A Free Man of Color, Richard III dir. by Sam Mendes. Off-Broadway: YellowMan, Never the Sinner, Beauty On The Vine, Cost of Living. Most Recent: King John (Folger Theatre), Evanston Salt Costs Climbing (White Heron Theatre), View From the Bridge (CTG-Kennedy Center), King Lear (The Guthrie). Film: Never Here, Pride and Glory, Body Of Lies, Lost Cat Corona, Grand Street. TV: “Bull,” “The Affair,” “Elementary,” “White Collar,” “Law & Order/Criminal Intent/SVU,” “Brain Dead,” “Kings”. 2018 Lunt Fontanne Fellow.

Linda Powell’s recent credits include Jen Silverman’s The Roommate at Long Wharf Theater, Waterwell Theater’s The Courtroom and Portia in Compangnia Colombari’s Merchant of Venice. Her Broadway credits include The Trip to Bountiful, On Golden Pond and Wilder, Wilder, Wilder. Off Broadway she has been seen in The Moors, The Christians, A Doll’s House, The Overwhelming, Jar the Floor, Jitney, and Angela’s Mixtape among others. Linda works frequently in regional theaters around the country and her numerous TV and film credits include the current season of “House of Cards” and the upcoming film The Report with Adam Driver and Annette Benning.

David Ryan Smith: Broadway: One Man, Two Guvnors; Passing Strange. Off Broadway: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V, Twelfth Night, Romeo & Juliet, The Comedy of Errors, Pericles (The Public Theater), Gone Missing (City Center/Encores! Off Center), Mankind (Playwrights Horizons), The Death of the Last Black Man (Signature Theater), The Glory of the World (BAM), #9 (59E59); Marat/Sade (Classical Theater of Harlem). Regional: Shakespeare Theater Company, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theater of Louisville, Barrington Stage, American Conservatory Theater, Dallas Theater Center, Triad Stage, Crossroads Theater Company, California Shakespeare Theater, etc. Film: The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Medal of Victory, Bee Season. Education: MFA, American Conservatory Theater.

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Chay Yew Helmed CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND by Lauren Yee Set for Signature Theatre, February 4 – March 8, 2020

World Premieres from Dominique Morisseau, Katori Hall, and More Lined Up for Signature's 2019/20 Season

Steinberg Award-winner Lauren Yee begins her Residency 5 with the New York premiere of Cambodian Rock Band, directed by Chay Yew, February 4 – March, 2020 on the Irene Diamond Stage during the 2019-2020 Signature Theatre Season.

Lauren Yee Wins Steinberg-ATCA Award For CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND

Ms. Yee recently received the Steinberg-ATCA Award and the Whiting Award for Cambodian Rock Band, awarded to ten diverse emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama.

Don’t miss this powerful play, currently running at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, directed by Chay Yew and Victory Gardens in Chicago, directed by Marti Lyons.

Greg Watanabe, Rammel Chan, Eileen Doan, Peter Sipla, Aja Wiltshire and Matthew Yee in Chicago Premiere Of CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Victory Gardens 

The Rise of Playwright Lauren Yee

Yee joins four other resident playwrights in a season that will feature six works  including two productions by Signature’s new Residency 1 playwright Anna Deavere Smith, world premiere plays from Residency 5 playwrights Katori Hall and Dominique Morisseau, and a new production of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play from Legacy playwright Horton Foote.

All performances will take place at the company’s Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). Signature is proud to continue the groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, its one-of-a-kind commitment to providing subsidized, affordable tickets to every seat at every performance during a production’s regular run. All tickets will be $35 for the 2019-2020 Season.

Obie, Lortel and MacArthur Award winner Anna Deavere Smith will join Signature as Residency 1 playwright in the 2019-2020 Season. Residency 1 is Signature’s core Playwright-in-Residence program that produces multiple plays by one writer over the course of a year. Signature will produce two of Smith’s plays – Fires in the Mirror, directed by Saheem Ali, and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, directed by Taibi Magar – in the 2019-20 Season, with a new play to be produced in an upcoming season.

Residency 5 will feature two world premieres, with The Hot Wing King by Katori Hall, directed by Steve H. Broadnax III, and Confederates by Dominique Morisseau, directed by Kamilah Forbes. The groundbreaking Residency 5 program supports playwrights with exceptional resources for five years, so they can create new work, and guarantees each playwright a minimum of three productions at The Pershing Square Signature Center. The program includes a diverse community of playwrights as they build bodies of work, and offers commission support, health benefits and a stipend to attend theatre. In addition to Hall, Morisseau and Yee, the program’s current playwrights are Annie Baker, Martha Clarke, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Samuel D. Hunter, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, The Mad Ones and Dave Malloy.

Signature’s Legacy Program, a homecoming for past Signature Playwrights-in-Residence, will feature a new production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Young Man from Atlanta by Horton Foote, directed by Foote’s longtime collaborator Michael Wilson.

Signature’s current 2018-2019 Season continues with a new production of Curse of the Starving Class by Legacy playwright Sam Shepard, directed by Terry Kinney, beginning performances on April 23, 2019, and the world premiere of the chamber choir musical, Octet by Residency 5 writer Dave Malloy, directed by Annie Tippe, beginning performances on April 30, 2019.

Tickets to the initial runs of all Signature Productions at The Pershing Square Signature Center are $35, part of the groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, a program that guarantees affordable tickets to every Signature production through 2031. This spring, Signature will offer its millionth subsidized ticket through the Signature Ticket Initiative. Serving as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country, the Initiative was founded in 2005 and is made possible by lead partner The Pershing Square Foundation with additional support provided by the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, Margot Adams, The SHS Foundation, Unlikely Collaborators, the Lily AuchinclossFoundation, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

Subscriptions to the 2019-2020 Season are on sale now by calling Ticket Services at 212-244-7529 (Tues. – Sun., 11am – 6pm) or by visiting www.signaturetheatre.org.

PRIDE PLAYS by Chay Yew, Paula Vogel, Terrence McNally, Philip Dawkins & More to Commemorate Stonewall Uprising, June 20 – 24

Chay Yew. Photo by Lia Chang
Chay Yew. Photo by Lia Chang
Chay Yew. Photo by Lia Chang

Doug Nevin, Michael Urie, and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater present Pride Plays, an upcoming festival of play readings to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Nick Mayo serves as Festival Director.

More than a dozen play readings from celebrated LBTQIA voices will be presented from June 20th through 24th at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, capturing the prideful spirit of the LGBTQIA community and celebrating 50 years of theatrical voices.

Set against the backdrop of World Pride and the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, Pride Plays hopes to be a reflection of the queer experience the community has braved in the years since its heroes took their stand.

The advisory committee for Pride Plays is Chay Yew, Moises Kaufman, Lucy Thurber, Sam Hunter, Lisa Scheps, Michael Sheppard, Miranda Haymon, and Ted Snowdon.

“Throughout our various collaborations, Michael and I have continually discussed the need to both honor the broad scope of past LGBTQIA-related work and to support the next generation of out writers, directors, and performers,” said Festival Producer Doug Nevin. “When Daniella Topol mentioned that she was looking for a way in which Rattlestick could celebrate Stonewall 50 and world pride, this seemed like a perfect marriage. Michael, Nick and I are thrilled that Rattlestick has offered us a home as we bring together important LGBTQ works and artists old and new.”

“I’m proud to join Daniella and The Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, my friends Doug and Nick, and this amazing group of artists as we bring queer theater voices to the West Village during World Pride,” said Festival Producer Michael Urie. “I have longed for a place where LGBTQIA theater creators are number one and during Pride Plays, we will be. The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising couldn’t be a better time to commemorate the heroes who started our fight, the artists who chronicled it, and the young geniuses who benefit from it.”

“The Stonewall Uprising happened just down the street from where Rattlestick is located and we are honored to celebrate these 50 years of liberation with this exciting festival,” said Daniella Topol, Artistic Director of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. “There is a stunning body of work over these past 50 years that deserve to be remembered, celebrated, or to be seen for the very first time. The works in Pride Plays are so very different but are aligned in their courage and complexity creating a thrilling opportunity for amazing artists – veterans and emerging – to be in conversation with one another. I am so impressed by Doug Nevin, Michael Urie, and Nick Mayo’s vision for this festival, in partnership with an Advisory Board of thoughtful artists and leaders.”

Pride Plays
BLUEPRINTS TO FREEDOM: AN ODE TO Bayard Rustin

By Michael Benjamin Washington

Directed by Moises Kaufman

LAST SUMMER AT BLUEFISH COVE

By Jane Chambers

Directed by Miranda Haymon

BRAVE SMILES…ANOTHER LESBIAN TRAGEDY

By the Five Lesbian Brothers:

Maureen Angelos, Babs Davy, Dominique Dibbell, Peg Healey and Lisa Kron

SOME MEN

By Terrence McNally

Directed by Logan Reed

AS IS

By William Hoffman

Directed by Sheryl Kaller

EAT AND YOU BELONG TO US

By MJ Kaufman

ON THIS MORNING

By Caroline Prugh

Directed by Kevin Newbury

ROOM ENOUGH (FOR US ALL)

By Daaimah Mubashshir

NORA HIGHLAND

By Ryan Spahn

LE SWITCH

By Philip Dawkins

Directed by Stephen Brackett

A PROGRAM OF ORIGINAL WORKS FROM TRANS LAB

http://www.transtheaterlab.org

Directed by Èamon Boylan

MARIQUITAS

By Eduardo Machado

ONE LEG

By Eri Nox

THE BALTIMORE WALTZ

By Paula Vogel

LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE

By Jonathan Tolins

Directed by Nic Cory

A LANGUAGE OF THEIR OWN

By Chay Yew

Marjorie Johnson and Sandra Scott Mills Star in Nan-Lynn Nelson’s GLORY! at Dixon Place through April 27

Dixon Place presents Glory!, a new play written by Nan-Lynn Nelson and directed by Kevin R. Free, previewing Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 7:30pm and running three weekends through April 27 at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie Street) in Manhattan. Tickets are $18 in advance, $21 at the door for adults, and $15 in advance, $18 at the door for students and seniors. Group rates are available. For tickets and further information please visit www.dixonplace.org

Marjorie Johnson and Sandra Scott Mills in GLORY!

Glory! is a ‘traumatic’ comedy that takes two elder African American sisters through a harrowing, albeit hilarious experience — mystery and mayhem result when family secrets get spilled, shots are fired, and the truth is revealed.

Starring two extraordinary Audelco Award-winning veteran actresses Marjorie Johnson (Dotty in Colman Domingo’s Dot at The Vineyard Theatre) and Sandra Scott Mills (Ida in Maid’s Door at the Billie Holiday Theater), the play revolves around the two sisters whose friendship and escapades are reminiscent of last century’s beloved Lucy Ricardo and Ethyl Mertz.

New York audiences have scant opportunities to see older women in starring roles, and Black older women, even more rare. With wide appeal, Glory! gives voice to characters seldom seen in the entertainment industry.

This Dixon Place production is made possible, in part, with public funds from NYC Department of Cultural Affairs with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NY State Legislature.

The Dixon Place Lounge is open before and after the show. Proceeds from the bar directly support Dixon Place’s artists and mission.

Dixon Place is located at 161A Chrystie Street (between Rivington and Delancey), in Manhattan’s Lower East Side (By subway: B/D to Grand, F to 2nd Ave, J/Z to Bowery, 6 to Spring St, M to Essex St).

Nan-Lynn Nelson (Playwright) started her career as an actor Off-Broadway at The Public Theater. She has starred on Broadway three times in addition to being a principal player on episodic television and daytime programming. As a playwright, Nelson was chosen by the Tony Award-winning regional theatre Crossroads, for their Genesis Project of New African American Voices in Theatre where she developed Leaving Watermaine, which was also part of the acclaimed Kitchen Sink Reading Series at the Coronet Theatre in LA. She was in EST’s Women of Color Playwrights GOING TO THE RIVER festival of short plays, and was an artist-in-residence at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center where she developed Enemy of the B.R.E.A.D. Other plays include The Unfamiliar, A Town Called Witness and House of Lattisville.

Kevin R Free (Director) Selected Credits: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill (Portland Stage); David Lawson’s Nazis and Me (Under St. Marks); Forged in Fire (Theatreworks CityTech); The Bright Edges of the World (Quicksilver Theater POC Summit); Top Dog/Underdog (University of Arkansas, 2019); The Last Five Years (Portland Stage, 2019; Blue Fire on the Water (Fresh Fruit Festival); several readings with his longtime collaborator, Tracey Conyer Lee.

Jesse Holmes (actor) NYC stage credits include Frank in Dance Card (La Mama Etc.), George Jones in Street Scene (Willow Cabin Theatre), and Martin Dysart in Equus (127th Street Rep Ensemble). Regional credits include Wolf in Two Trains Running (Portland Rep.), Oronte in The Misanthrope (Artist Rep Theatre), Simon in The Whipping Man (Cape May Stage) Mike in Wait Until Dark (Syracuse Stage) and Jonious in the awarding Meet Me At The Oak (Avery Schreiber Playhouse.). His television and film credits include HBO’s VEEP, the award-winning short GETTING LUCKY as well as various daytime dramas and national commercials.

Marjorie Johnson has created and recreated a wide range of roles across the country and abroad. Roles include Dotty in Colman Domingo’s Dot at The Vineyard Theatre (received Audelco Award for Lead Actress); Candylady in Katori Hall’s Hoodoo Love at the Cherry Lane Theatre (Audelco Award for Best Supporting Actress); Mrs. Antrobus in The Skin of Our Teeth at The Delaware Theatre; Rose in Fences at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Elizabeth in John Henry Redwoods’ The Old Settler at the Buffalo Studio Arena; and she portrayed Sojourner Truth and Zora Neale Hurston in The Pen and the Podium at the Edinburg Festival in Scotland. Most recently she was seen in Having Our Say at The Jubilee Theatre in Ft. Worth, TX. TV and Film credits include Sneaky Pete, “Mozart in the Jungle,” “Nurse Jackie,” “The Leftovers,” “Law & Order SVU,” American Gangster and Boiler Room.

Sandra Mills Scott has appeared on stages in New York, regionally, and internationally. Most notably, Sandra received an Audelco Award for Best Actress in the Billie Holiday Theater premiere of Maid’s Door, which was also performed at the National Black Theatre Festival in both 2015/2017. Short list of other favorites: Intimate Apparel, Fabulation, The Dance on Widows’ Row, Tamer of Horses, and Dael Orlandersmith’s premiere of My Red Hand, My Black Hand at The Long Wharf Theater. TV/Film: “Law & Order,” “L&O Criminal Intent,” “The Jury,” “Golden Boy,” numerous commercials, industrials, & voiceovers. Sandra received an MFA from New York University.

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Lauren Yee Wins Steinberg-ATCA Award For CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND

From the first rehearsal: actors Brooke Ishibashi, Jane Lui, Abraham Kim, Joseph Ngo, Daisuke Tsuji and Raymond Lee with playwright Lauren Yee (center). Courtesy of Facebook

“Cambodian Rock Band” by Lauren Yee has been named the winner of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for the best scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2018.

Brooke Ishibashi, Joe Ngo, Jane Lui, Raymond Lee and Abraham Kim in South Coast Repertory's world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Tania Thompson/SCR.
Brooke Ishibashi, Joe Ngo, Jane Lui, Raymond Lee and Abraham Kim in South Coast Repertory’s world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Tania Thompson/SCR.

According to adjudicators on the ATCA New Plays Committee, “Cambodian Rock Band” offers “a very involving story about war, selfishness, atrocity, betrayal, revenge, retribution, and guilt-laden survival.” “The notion of exploring the Cambodian holocaust through contemporary investigation, past survivor memories, and rock and roll is absolutely inspired, and to execute it with such unexpected humor and supple time shifts is a real accomplishment.” “It’s refreshing to see a playwright move so deftly between three eras. The transitions felt seamless.” “This play felt at once fresh and deeply grounded in history.”

From the first rehearsal: actors Brooke Ishibashi, Jane Lui, Abraham Kim, Joseph Ngo, Daisuke Tsuji and Raymond Lee with playwright Lauren Yee (center). Courtesy of Facebook
From the first rehearsal: actors Brooke Ishibashi, Jane Lui, Abraham Kim, Joseph Ngo, Daisuke Tsuji and Raymond Lee with playwright Lauren Yee (center). Courtesy of Facebook

The award, presented April 6 at the 2019 Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, carries a $25,000 prize. “Cambodian Rock Band” had its world premiere at South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, California.

Abraham Kim, Daisuke Tsuji, Joe Ngo, Brooke Ishibashi, Raymond Lee and Jane Lui in South Coast Repertory's world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Danielle Bliss/SCR.
Abraham Kim, Daisuke Tsuji, Joe Ngo, Brooke Ishibashi, Raymond Lee and Jane Lui in South Coast Repertory’s world premiere production of Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee. Photo by Danielle Bliss/SCR.

Ms. Yee recently received The Whiting Award for “Cambodian Rock Band,” awarded to ten diverse emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama.

Don’t miss this powerful play, currently running at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, directed by Chay Yew and Victory Gardens in Chicago, directed by Marti Lyons.

Rammel Chan, Eileen Doan, Peter Sipla, Greg Watanabe, Aja Wiltshire and Matthew Yee Set for Chicago Premiere Of CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Victory Gardens 

The Rise of Playwright Lauren Yee

Lauren Yee is a playwright born and raised in San Francisco. She lives in New York City. She received her bachelor’s degree from Yale University and her MFA in playwriting from UCSD. Lauren’s work includes King of the Yees, The Great Leap, Cambodian Rock Band, Ching Chong Chinaman, The Hatmaker’s Wife, and others. She was a Dramatists Guild fellow, a MacDowell fellow, a MAP Fund grantee, and others. She is the winner of the Kesselring Prize and the Francesca Primus Prize. She has been a finalist for the Edward M. Kennedy Prize, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the ATCA/Steinberg Award, and others. The Hatmaker’s Wife was an Outer Critics Circle nominee for the John Gassner Award for best play by a new American playwright. Lauren is a member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab, a 2018/2019 Hodder fellow at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, and a New Dramatists playwright.

Two citations, with prizes of $7,500 each, were awarded to Noah Haidle for his play “Birthday Candles” and to Jen Silverman for her play “Witch.”

The ATCA adjudicators assessed that “Birthday Candles,” which chronicles a woman’s life while she makes an onstage cake “somehow bakes up the simple and the cosmic into a profound experience.” “Far from a gimmick play. It’s a beautiful one that walks a fine line that stays specific while occupying the universal.” “Birthday Candles” had its world premiere at Detroit Public Theatre.

According to panelists, “Witch” is “a beautifully balanced play” centered on “a silver-tongued Devil, and a gutsy unpopular woman with a great head on her shoulders.” “I’ve never seen a ‘deal with the devil’ concept blow away my expectations the way this one did.” “Witch” had its world premiere at Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois.

At $40,000, the Steinberg-ATCA is the largest national new play award program of its kind. ATCA began honoring new plays produced at regional theaters outside New York City in 1977. Plays receiving a production in New York City during the award cycle are not eligible for consideration. The Steinberg/ATCA award has been generously funded by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust since 2000.

Six finalists and the award and citation recipients were selected from eligible scripts recommended by ATCA members from around the country. They were evaluated by a committee of theater critics, led by Lou Harry of louharry.com and the podcast “Lou Harry Gets Real.” Other participants included Nancy Bishop (Chicago, IL), Lindsay Christians (Madison, WI), Mike Fischer (Milwaukee, WI), Amanda Finn (Chicago, IL), Melissa Hall (Indianapolis, IN), Pam Harbaugh (Indialantic, FL), Mark Lowry (Dallas, TX), Jonathan Mandell (New York, NY), Julius Novick (New York, NY), Marjorie Oberlander (New York, NY), Kathryn Osenlund (Philadelphia, PA), Wendy Parker (Midlothian, VA), Wendy Rosenfield (Philadelphia, PA), Martha Wade Steketee (New York, NY), and Perry Tannenbaum (Charlotte, NC).

“Short of having an unlimited travel account, there’s no better way to get a sense of the vibrancy of theater across America than serving on the Steinberg judging panel,” said committee chair Lou Harry. “Once again, the wealth of offerings prompted fierce, thoughtful debate leading not only to a set of deserving honorees but also to a renewed hope for the future of American theater. Thanks to the Steinbergs, these plays will have extra light shining on them.”

Since the inception of ATCA’s new play award, honorees have included Lanford Wilson, Marsha Norman, August Wilson, Arthur Miller, Mac Wellman, Adrienne Kennedy, Donald Margulies, Moises Kaufman, Craig Lucas, and Robert Schenkkan. Last year’s honoree was The Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson. Visit americantheatrecritics.org for a full list of previous winners and finalists.

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust was created in 1986 by Harold Steinberg on behalf of himself and his late wife. Pursuing its primary mission to support the American theater, it has provided grants totaling millions of dollars for new productions of American plays and educational programs for those who may not ordinarily experience live theater.

The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) was founded in 1974 and works to public awareness of the role of theatre critics and to raise critical standards within the profession. It is the only national association of professional theater critics, with over two hundred members working in print, broadcast, and online media. ATCA is a section of the International Association of Theatre Critics / Association internationale des critiques de théâtre (IATC-AICT), a UNESCO-affiliated organization that sponsors seminars and congresses worldwide.

Other playwriting awards presented by ATCA include:

The M. Elizabeth Osborn Award, honoring emerging playwrights.
The Francesca Primus Prize, bestowing an annual $10,000 award funded by the Francesca Ronnie Primus Foundation, to honor outstanding contributions to the American theatre by female artists who have not yet achieved national prominence.
Additionally, ATCA members recommend candidates for the Tony Award for Regional Theatre presented annually by the American Theatre Wing/Broadway League, and also vote on the annual inductions into the Theater Hall of Fame.

Rammel Chan, Eileen Doan, Peter Sipla, Greg Watanabe, Aja Wiltshire and Matthew Yee Set for Chicago Premiere Of CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at Victory Gardens

Greg Watanabe
Greg Watanabe
Greg Watanabe

Victory Gardens Theater continues its 44th season with the Chicago Premiere of Cambodian Rock Band, written by Lauren Yee, featuring songs by Dengue Fever and directed by Marti Lyons. Cambodian Rock Band runs April 5 – May 5, 2019, with press performance on Friday, April 12, 2019 at 7:30pm at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue. Victory Gardens is also pleased to announce a partnership with Lincoln Hall to present Dengue Fever in concert on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

Cambodian Rock Band is presented with City Theatre Company and Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Following the run at Victory Gardens Theater, Cambodian Rock Band will be presented at City Theatre Company in Pittsburgh, PA, September 14 – October 6, 2019, and Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell, MA, October 16 – November 10, 2019.

Part comedy, part mystery, part rock concert, this thrilling story toggles back and forth in time, as father and daughter face the music of the past. Neary, a young Cambodian American, has found evidence that could finally put away individuals who carried out the Cambodian genocide. But her work is far from done. When Dad shows up unannounced-his first return to Cambodia since fleeing 30 years ago-it’s clear this isn’t just a pleasure trip. A wild rock-and-roll journey through the eyes of father and daughter, Artistic Director Chay Yew brings the world premiere journey of Lauren Yee’s (Samsara) Cambodian Rock Band from South Coast Repertory Theatre to Victory Gardens.

“Yee’s play is a fierce, gorgeous, heartwarming, comedic fairy tale.” – Los Angeles Times

“Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band is a work of incredible theatrical deftness, brutal honesty, pure heart and wit. Her play breathes life to the timely issues in our divided nation: immigration, race, genocide and human rights abuses; the rights of refugees and emigres; the consequences of apathy when a country shifts under a brutal regime; and the destruction of freedom of expression in the midst of political transitions and upheavals,” says Chay Yew, Artistic Director. “In Lauren’s astute eyes, one thing remains consistent throughout our temperamental world: the constancy, the resilience and enduring power of art and artists. Cambodian Rock Band celebrates the indomitable legacy of art and music; how artists capture our individual and national spirit and hopes; and the uncanny ability of art to inspire, to affirm our humanity, and to bring us together.”

The cast of Cambodian Rock Band includes Rammel Chan (Duch), Eileen Doan (Pou/Guard/Keyboard), Peter Sipla (Rom/Journalist/Drums), Greg Watanabe (Chum/Bass), Aja Wiltshire (Neary/Sothea/Vocals), and Matthew Yee (Leng/Ted/Guitar).

The creative team includes Matt MacNelly (music direction), Yu Shibagaki (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Keith Parham (lighting design), and Mikhail Fiskel (sound design).

Lead Partner for the Victory Gardens Theater production of Cambodian Rock Band is the National Cambodian Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial located at 2831 W. Lawrence Avenue, Chicago, IL. www.cambodianmuseum.org

Lia Chang
Lia Chang

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Tiffany Villarin, Jeanne Sakata,Tom Aulino, Ugo Chukwu, Megan Hill, Greg Keller and Justin Long in DO YOU FEEL ANGER? at the Vineyard Theatre, Opens April 2

Tiffany Villarin, Jeanne Sakata. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg

Vineyard Theatre is presenting the New York premiere of Mara Nelson-Greenberg’s DO YOU FEEL ANGER?, directed by Margot Bordelon.

Ugo Chukwu, Justin Long. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Ugo Chukwu, Justin Long. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg

DO YOU FEEL ANGER? is currently in previews at Vineyard Theatre (108 East 15th Street) with opening night set for Tuesday, April 2. The cast includes Tom Aulino (ON THE TOWN), Ugo Chukwu (WHAT TO SEND UP WHEN IT GOES DOWN), Megan Hill (EDDIE AND DAVE), Greg Keller (Vineyard’s THE AMATEURS), Justin Long (Live Free or Die Hard), Jeanne Sakata (HOLD THESE TRUTHS) and Tiffany Villarin (TEENAGE DICK).

Ugo Chukwu, Megan Hill, Justin Long. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Ugo Chukwu, Megan Hill, Justin Long. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg

In Mara Nelson-Greenberg’s dazzling dark comedy, Sofia (Villarin) is hired as an empathy coach at a debt collection agency — and clearly, she has her work cut out for her. These employees can barely identify what an emotion is, much less practice deep, radical compassion for others. As they painstakingly stumble towards enlightenment, someone keeps mugging Eva (Hill) in the kitchen, and the unspoken dynamics of their seemingly blithe workplace culture become increasingly unsettling. This absurdly funny and potent new play, directed by Margot Bordelon, reminds us that change is not always easy, and may come with unexpected costs.

Tiffany Villarin, Justin Long, Ugo Chukwu. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Tiffany Villarin, Justin Long, Ugo Chukwu. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg

Tickets for DO YOU FEEL ANGER? can be purchased online at vineyardtheatre.org, by phone at 212-353-0303, or in person at 108 East 15th Street.

Tiffany Villarin, Jeanne Sakata. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Tiffany Villarin, Jeanne Sakata. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Tiffany Villarin. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Tiffany Villarin. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Tiffany Villarin, Megan Hill. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Tiffany Villarin, Megan Hill. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Tom Aulino, Megan Hill. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Tom Aulino, Megan Hill. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Tiffany Villarin, Megan Hill. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Tiffany Villarin, Megan Hill. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Tiffany Villarin, Megan Hill, Ugo Chukwu, Justin Long. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Tiffany Villarin, Megan Hill, Ugo Chukwu, Justin Long. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Ugo Chukwu, Justin Long. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Ugo Chukwu, Justin Long. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Greg Keller, Tiffany Villarin. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Greg Keller, Tiffany Villarin. Photo credit: Carol Rosegg

 

 

Marva Hicks, Amber Iman, Stanley Wayne Mathis, Stacey Sergeant and More Star in the Ruben Santiago-Hudson Helmed OO-BLA-DEE by Regina Taylor at Two River Theater, June 8 – 30

Marva Hicks. Photo by Lia Chang
Marva Hicks. Photo by Lia  Chang
Marva Hicks. Photo by Lia Chang

Two River Theater is presenting Oo-Bla-Dee, written by Golden Globe Award winner Regina Taylor (Crowns, I’ll Fly Away), featuring original songs by Taylor and Obie Award winning composer Diedre L. Murray (Running Man, Eli’s Comin’), directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson (August Wilson’s Jitney, Lackawanna Blues).

Performances will begin in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, on Saturday, June 8 and continue through Sunday, June 30. The opening night performance is Friday, June 14 at 7pm.

The play follows Evelyn Waters and the Diviners, an all-black, all-female jazz band, as they travel from St. Louis to Chicago in order to set up a record deal following the end of World War II. On this trip toward freedom the latest member of the group, sax player Gin Del Sol, must wrestle with the complex timing of the music as well as the complicated times in which she lives.

The Acting Company includes Marva Hicks (Motown the Musical; Caroline, or Change) as Evelyn Waters; Amber Iman (Hamilton First National Tour, Shuffle Along) as Luna C; Jonathan Kirkland (Hamilton original Chicago company, Cabin in the Sky) as Arthur/Soldier; Stanley Wayne Mathis (The Book of Mormon, The Lion King) as Shorty; Monica J. Palmer (The Lion King National Tour, Sistas the Musical) as Ruby; Stacey Sargeant (Two River’s Intimate Apparel, Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future) as Lulu; Allison Semmes (Motown the Musical, The Book of Mormon) as Gin Del Sol; and Chesney Snow (In Transit, The Unwritten Law) as the Vocal Foley.

Additional information about the musicians and design team for Oo-Bla-Dee will be announced soon.

Ticket prices range from $40 to $70, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets are available for every performance; $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 and include the best available seats at every performance. Tickets are available from tworivertheater.org or 732.345.1400.

Corey Cott, Mikaela Bennett, Brett Thiele, Amanda Castro, Manuel Stark, Paul HeeSang Miller and More  Set for Lyric’s WEST SIDE STORY, May 3 – June 2

Paul HeeSang Miller
Paul HeeSang Miller

The Chicago premiere of Lyric’s new co-production of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece West Side Story features nearly 100 artists from Chicago and across the country. Performances of the grand-scale musical run at the Lyric Opera House from May 3 – June 2, 2019 (press opening May 4). Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at lyricopera.org or by calling 312-827-5600.

The supporting cast for West Side Story includes artists who have performed on and off Broadway, at Lyric, and around the country. The Lyric Stage will be transformed into the streets of New York City when-along with the leading cast members announced earlier this year, Corey Cott (Tony), Mikaela Bennett (Maria), Brett Thiele (Riff), Amanda Castro (Anita) and Manuel Stark Santos (Bernardo)-a stellar ensemble of singers, dancers and actors will perform the romantic and moving story of Tony and Maria. James Lowe will conduct members of the Lyric Opera Chorus and Orchestra.

The talented supporting cast for West Side Story includes: Adam Soniak (Action), Taylor Simmons (A-rab), Jarred Manista (Baby John), Callan Bergmann (Snowboy), Jeffrey C. Sousa (Diesel), Wesley Ryan (Big Deal), Paul HeeSang Miller (Gee-tar), Juan Caballer (Tiger), Alexa Magro (Anybodys), Alyssa Sarnoff (Pauline), Veronica Sofia Burt (Velma), Julio Rey (Chino), Mark Deler (Pepe), Joshua Lamar (Indio), Michael J. Rios (Nibbles), Sebastian Garcia (Toro), Linedy Genao (Rosalia), Addie Morales (Francisca), Alexandra Matteo (Consuelo), Kayla Moniz (Teresita), Antonia Raye (Estella), and Carolina Villaraos (Margarita).

Chicago-based cast members include: Kyra Sorce (Graziella), Paige Fraser (Minnie), Shannon Alvis (Clarice), Joseph A. Hernandez (Luis), Greg Blackmon (Anxious),Martín Ortiz Tapia (Juano), David Alan Anderson (Doc), Bret Tuomi (Lt. Schrank), Jerry Kernion (Officer Krupke), and Ed Kross (Glad Hand).

Members of the Lyric Opera Chorus performing in West Side Story include: Desirée Hassler, Maia Surace, Corinne Wallace-Crane, Sherry Watkins, Michelle Wrighte,Hoss Brock, Matthew Carroll, William M. Combs, Tyler Samuel Lee, Kenneth Nichols, Ronald Watkins and Nikolas Wenzel.

West Side Story is a co-production with Houston Grand Opera and Glimmerglass Festival. It is directed by Francesca Zambello, internationally acclaimed opera and theater director. Zambello-who also serves as the artistic director of the Glimmerglass Festival and Washington National Opera-returns to Lyric for the first time since the premiere of her production of Show Boat (2011/12). She has also directed Lyric Productions of Tristan und Isolde (2008/09) and Salome (2006/07).

West Side Story will feature the original choreography by Jerome Robbins, recreated for Lyric by Julio Monge. Set designs are by Peter J. Davison, with costumes designed byJessica Jahn and lighting designed by Mark McCullough. Mark Grey is sound designer and Michael Black is chorus master.