Brandon J. Dirden to Helm August Wilson’s KING HEDLEY II Featuring Brittany Bellizeare, Harvy Blanks, Brian D. Coats, Elain Graham, Charlie Hudson III and Blake Morris at Two River Theater, November 10 -December 16 

Brandon J. Dirden. Photo by Lia Chang
Brandon J. Dirden Photo by Lia Chang
Brandon J. Dirden
Photo by Lia Chang

Marking the halfway point in its commitment to present all 10 plays of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle, Two River Theater is presenting Wilson’s “exhilarating” (The New York Times) and incendiary drama King Hedley II, directed by Brandon J. Dirden. For the first time, the theater will be presenting one of Wilson’s plays in its intimate 110-seat Marion Huber Theater, with performances beginning on November 10 and continuing for an extended five-week run through Sunday, December 16. The opening night performance is Friday, November 16 at 7pm. Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or tworivertheater.org. The production sponsors are Monmouth University and Collex Collision Experts.

August Wilson is the 10th most produced playwright of the current season in the United States, according to American Theater magazine. Two River’s staging of King Hedley II is currently the only production of this rarely seen play happening anywhere in the world.

The year is 1985 and Pittsburgh’s Hill District has been ravaged by violence, unemployment, and Urban Blight. King Hedley II returns to his home after a seven-year prison term looking to re-build his life, save some money, and start a family. However, both he and those around him quickly find that in 1980s America, the rules have changed.

Brandon J. Dirden-the award-winning actor/director who has appeared in five Two River productions, including, most recently, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and A Raisin in the Sun-directs this sequel to Seven Guitars, which was produced under his direction at Two River in 2015. King Hedley II picks up the stories of Ruby and Canewell (known here as Stool Pigeon) from the earlier drama, which is set in the 1940s.

The cast of King Hedley II includes Brittany Bellizeare (Tonya), Harvy Blanks (Elmore), Brian D. Coats (Stool Pigeon), Elain Graham (Ruby), Charlie Hudson III (Mister), and Blake Morris (King Hedley II).

The creative team includes scenic designer Michael Carnahan, costume designer Karen Perry, lighting designer Kathy A. Perkins, sound designer Kay Richardson, and wigs designer Erin Hicks. The fight direction is by UnkleDave’s Fight-House, the casting is by Heidi Griffiths & Kate Murray, and the stage manager is Laura Wilson.

Says Artistic Director John Dias, “Over the past decade, Two River Theater has made a commitment to producing plays that deal with issues of race, social justice, and our shared history. These include four plays from August Wilson’s majestic American Century Cycle: Jitney, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. With each production, the artists who work here-and the audiences who are coming here to see these plays-are engaged in emotional and complex conversations about race. We believe that, as a theater, we have a unique opportunity to contribute to this evolving civic discourse.”

Ticket prices range from $40 to $80, 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.

Inside Two River is a series of events specially curated for each Two River Theater production. For more information or to reserve a free spot, patrons should visit tworivertheater.org or call 732.345.1400.

Book Club: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Monday, November 26 at 6:30pm in the Victoria Mastrobuono Library
Ta-Nehisi Coates pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son in this Pulitzer Prize finalist and #1 New York Times bestseller from 2015. The journalist, thinker, and writer offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crises all the while trying to convey and interrogate what it is like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it. Coates works to untangle these difficult questions by writing a letter to his adolescent son. In connection with King Hedley II, Literary Manager Taylor Barfield will discuss how a broader socio-political history can be explored through the lens of familial bonds and personal stories.

First Monday Masters is series of master classes led by artists affiliated with Two River Theater’s recent productions and current season. Classes take place in locations throughout the Two River Theater arts complex, on Monday evenings from 6pm-8pm. To reserve a spot, patrons should visit tworivertheater.org or call 732.345.1400.

November 5: Costume Design with Karen Perry

For adults and high school students, limited to 16 participants, 6-8:00pm, $40 per person

King Hedley II costume designer Karen Perry previously designed August Wilson’s Jitney, Two Trains Running and Seven Guitars at Two River Theater, as well as Lives of Reason, Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, Guadalupe in the Guest Room, Third and Trouble in Mind. This season, she will also design Oo-Bla-Dee. She has also designed costumes for Encores!, Dallas Theater Center, Second Stage, Signature Theatre, Goodman, and The Public Theater, among others. Karen will walk the class through the costume design process from the page to the stage by discussing her work on new musicals and classic plays. This workshop will take place in Two River Theater’s Costume Shop.

Before Play and Lobby Display

Audiences will learn about August Wilson and King Hedley II in Two River’s Before Play lecture series, which takes place 45 minutes prior to every performance, and Lobby Display.

Post-Play Conversations

Discussions with the cast and a member of Two River’s Artistic staff will take place on Wednesday, November 21 at 1pm; Sunday, November 25 at 3pm; and Wednesday, November 28 at 7pm.

Working with Google, Two River has created and launched a virtual tour of its facility, which lives on Google Maps and tworivertheater.org. This virtual tour provides an additional level of support and benefit for patrons who use wheelchairs or require other assistance by allowing them to virtually come through the theater’s front doors and view the space in detail in advance of their visit.

An audio-described performance is scheduled for Wednesday, December 5 at 1pm, and an open-captioned performance is scheduled for Saturday, December 8 at 3pm. Tickets are available at a discounted rate of $25 for patrons using these services. To reserve wheelchair-accessible seating or tickets to a performance listed above, patrons should call 732.345.1400 or e-mail boxoffice@trtc.org.

Artists

BRITTANY BELLIZEARE
BRITTANY BELLIZEARE

Brittany Bellizeare (Tonya) previously appeared at Two River Theater as Ruby in Seven Guitars and is happy to return to work on yet another August Wilson masterpiece. New York credits include an interactive play, In the Blue Hour (Emily) at La Maison d’Art Gallery in Harlem, and A Raisin in the Sun (Beneatha) at The Gallery Players. Regional: Portland Center Stage (Oregon) JAW Festival: three girls never learnt the way home (Edith); Baltimore Center Stage: Skeleton Crew (Shanita); The Guthrie: The Bluest Eye (Pecola); TheaterWorks Hartford: Sunset Baby (Nina); La Jolla/Berkeley Rep: The Last Tiger in Haiti (Rose); Northern Stage: The Mountaintop(Camae); the Yard: Archy & Mehitabel (Ensemble) Educational Tour: McCarter: Sunjata Kamalenya (Player 3). Film/TV: The BlacklistEye CandyThe Knick. Education: MFA: The New School for Drama; BS: Spelman College. NAACP Theatre for Best Ensemble nomination for The Last Tiger in Haiti(2017/18). brittanybellizeare.com

HARVY BLANKS
HARVY BLANKS

Harvy Blanks (Elmore) appeared on Broadway as Shealy in the Tony-winning production of Jitney. Off-Broadway, he received the Drama Desk Award for his performance in Tabletop. Other Off-Broadway credits include First Breeze of Summerand The Guest at Central Park West. His regional appearances include Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow (Williamstown), Familiar (Yale Rep, The Guthrie and Seattle Rep) and Fire on the Mountain _(TheatreWorks Palo Alto). At the Denver Center he starred in _RuinedFencesJoe Turner’s Come and GoneGem of the OceanSeven Guitars _and _Radio Golf, among others. Harvy can be seen this season in Terrence Nance’s Random Acts of Flyness (HBO). His other television appearances include Preacher _and _Crime Story. He is very happy to return to Two River where he appeared in JitneyTwo Trains Running and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

BRIAN D. COATS
BRIAN D. COATS

Brian D. Coats (Stool Pigeon) Broadway: Jitney. He was previously seen at Two River Theater in Seven Guitars and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Off-Broadway includes: Travisville (Ensemble Studio Theatre), La Ruta (Working Theater), The First Noel (Classical Theatre of Harlem/The Apollo), On the Levee (Lincoln Center), The Merry Wives of WindsorTwo Gentlemen of Verona (Public/ NYSF). Regional: The Royale (Cleveland Play House), The Nest (Denver Center Theatre), Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (Huntington Theatre, Studio Theatre DC), FencesA Raisin in the Sun(Geva Theatre), Distant Fires (People’s Light and Theatre), Clybourne Park (Caldwell Theatre), The Wedding Giftpen/man/ship (Contemporary American Theatre Fest), Count (PlayMakers Rep). TV includes: Law & OrderLaw & Order: SVUJAGBlue BloodsThe SopranosBoardwalk EmpireLuke Cage, and The Blacklist.

CHARLIE HUDSON III
CHARLIE HUDSON III

Charlie Hudson III (Mister) is thrilled to be appearing again at Two River, where he was previously seen in A Raisin in the Sun and Seven Guitars . Previous shows include Detroit ’67 (Playmakers Rep); The Mountaintop (Northern Stage); Father Comes Home from the Wars (American Repertory Theatre); A Raisin in the Sun(Barrymore Theatre, Broadway);The Raisin Cycle: Clybourne Park & Beneatha’s Place (Baltimore Centerstage);Hurt Village (Signature); Fences (Virginia Stage); The Piano Lesson (Yale Rep); Bike Wreck (Ensemble Studio Theatre); White Women Street (Irish Rep); “Master Harold”…and the boys (Portland Stage); Fly (Crossroads and Vineyard Playhouse); ARaisin in the Sun,Richard IIIA Christmas Carol* , All the King’s Men *,*  Cyrano de Bergerac (Trinity Rep); Hillary (New Georges); Old Comedy (Classic Stage); Mother Courage (Public Theater/NYSF); Sweet Bird of Youth (Williamstown); Romeo and Juliet (Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble); Julius Caesar* , Topdog/Underdog(Brown/ Trinity Consortium). TV includes: ManifestThe Night OfShades of BluesThe Good FightUnforgettableForever,The Rosa Parks Story, and A Raisin in the Sun “Revisited.” Film credits include Roxanne RoxanneComplete UnknownTwelveNewlyweedsLillian; and his voice is featured in the McGraw-Hill’s PodClass GRE Vocabulary Study Guide. Mr. Hudson is the 2003 KC/ACTF Irene Ryan Best Actor Award winner (Region IV) and is a graduate of Alabama State University and the Brown University/Trinity Repertory Consortium. Charlie would like to thank God for this opportunity and his loving family for their support.

BLAKE MORRIS
BLAKE MORRIS

Blake Morris (King Hedley II) Off-Broadway: Ain’t No Mo’ (The Public Studio), Kings of Harlem (New Horizon Theater). Festivals: New Black Fest, 48 Hrs. in Harlem, NYSAF Reading Series. TV: Pose (FX), Jessica Jones (Netflix).

ELAIN GRAHAM
ELAIN GRAHAM

Elain Graham (Ruby) i s pleased to be back at Two River Theater, where she was seen as Mrs. Dickson in the critically acclaimed production of Intimate Apparel. Other stage credits include: Intimate Apparel, Dorset Theatre Festival; Dolores, While I Yet Live, Primary Stages; The Picture Box, Negro Ensemble Company; Mum in SoHo Rep’s critically acclaimed Born Bad; The Woman in Lynn Nottage’s Banana Beer Bath, Going to the River Festival/EST; Lena Younger, A Raisin in the Sun, Virginia Stage Company; Permanent Collection, Baltimore Center Stage; Mama Benin, Playboy of the West Indies, Lincoln Center. Film/Television: The Last O.G.The BreaksThe DetourLaw & Order: SVULaw & Order666 Park AvenueSmashUnforgettableAcross the UniverseCity TeacherArthur!: A Celebration of LifeThe JuryMessengers100 Centre StreetOzThird WatchTurn It Up. She was also Etta Mae Burrell on the daytime soap opera, Another World.

August Wilson (April 27, 1945-October 2, 2005) authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II,and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of the descendants of Africans in North America, decade-by-decade, over the course of the twentieth century, forming the complication entitled The American Century Cycle. His plays have been produced on Broadway, at regional theaters across the country and all over the world. In 2003, Mr. Wilson made his professional stage debut in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned, _currently touring and featuring Eugene Lee reprising Mr. Wilson’s role. Mr. Wilson’s works garnered many awards including Pulitzer Prizes for _Fences (1987) and The Piano Lesson _(1990); a Tony Award for Fences; Great Britain’s Olivier Award for _Jitney; as well as seven New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running, Seven Guitars, and Jitney. Additionally, the cast recording of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award, and Mr. Wilson received a 1995 Emmy Award nomination for his screenplay adaptation of The Piano Lesson. Mr. Wilson’s early works included the one-act plays The Janitor, Recycle, The Coldest Day of the Year, Malcolm X, The Homecoming, and the musical satire Black Bart and the Sacred Hills. Mr. Wilson received many fellowships and awards, including the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships in Playwriting, the Whiting Writers Award, and the 2003 Heinz Award. He was awarded a 1999 National Humanities Medal by President Bill Clinton, and received numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, as well as the only high school diploma ever issued by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He was an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 1995 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and on October 16, 2005, Broadway renamed the theater located at 245 West 52nd Street—The August Wilson Theatre. Today, his plays continue to be produced, and his place in the American Theater continues to grow. New York Public Radio recorded all ten plays in The American Century Cycle at the Greene Space, casting many of the actors that worked on the original productions. PBS aired a documentary on Mr. Wilson entitled, The Ground on Which I Stand, as part of the American Masters series. Mr. Wilson was born and raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and lived in Seattle, Washington at the time of his death. He is immediately survived by his two daughters, Sakina Ansari and Azula Carmen Wilson, and his wife, costume designer Constanza Romero, who is the executor of his estate.

Brandon J. Dirden (Director) made his directing debut at Two River Theater with August Wilson’s Seven Guitars. He has appeared at Two River in A Raisin in the Sun; August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Jitney; the world premiere of Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine; and Topdog/Underdog, in which he starred opposite his brother Jason Dirden under the direction of the play’s author, Suzan-Lori Parks. An award-winning actor/director, he is best known for portraying Agent Dennis Aderholt in the acclaimed FX series The Americans. ?A Morehouse College and University of Illinois graduate, he is also known for appearing on Broadway as Martin Luther King Jr. in the successful Tony Award-winning Broadway production of Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way opposite Bryan Cranston’s Lyndon B. Johnson. Other Broadway credits include August Wilson’s Jitney (2017 Tony Award for Best Revival), Prelude to a Kiss, Enron and Clybourne Park. In 2012 he was awarded an Obie and a Theatre World Award and was nominated for Drama League and Lucille Lortel Awards for his portrayal of Boy Willie in the Signature Theatre Company revival of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson. ?He has guest starred in TV series such as The Good WifeThe Big CBlue BloodsPublic MoralsBraindead andBaz Luhrmann’s The Get Down on Netflix. Brandon is married to actress Crystal Dickinson and currently lives in West Orange, NJ with their four-year-old son, Chase.

Michael Carnahan (Scenic Designer) previously designed The Ballad of Little JoYour Blues Ain’t Sweet Like MineThirdOn Borrowed Time, and August Wilson’s Seven Guitars _and _Two Trains Running at Two River. Off-Broadway—Atlantic Theater Company: Skeleton Crew; 59E59: I and You; Second Stage: The Happiest Song Plays Last; Signature Theatre: The Piano LessonThe First Breeze of Summer; Life Could Be A DreamThe Marvelous WonderettesThree Mo’ TenorsPygmalionHowie the RookieBrando.  Tours— Cheers, Live On StageA Christmas Story The Musical, Peter & The Starcatcher. Regional credits include Mark Taper Forum, Arena Stage, American Conservatory Theater, The Kennedy Center, McCarter Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Baltimore Center Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Pasadena Playhouse, Two River Theatre, Chautauqua Theater Company, Cleveland Play House, Detroit Public Theater, Laguna Playhouse, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Northlight Theatre, Signature Theatre, Bucks County Playhouse, Ogunquit Playhouse, Arsht Center, Musical Theatre West, San Jose Repertory, Center Repertory. michaelcarnahandesign.com Instagram: Carnypics Twitter: @mike_carnahan

Karen Perry (Costume Designer) previously designed Lives of ReasonYour Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, Guadalupe in the Guest RoomThirdTrouble in Mind, and August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black BottomJitneyTwo Trains Running and Seven Guitars at Two River. Recent credits include Cabin in the Sky (Encores!); The Happiest Song Plays Last (Second Stage); DreamgirlsClybourne ParkA Raisin in the Sun (Dallas Theater Center); stop. reset. and The Piano Lesson (Signature); Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (dir. Phylicia Rashad, Mark Taper); the 10th Anniversary production of Crowns, written and dir. by Regina Taylor (Goodman); Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky, dir. Sheldon Epps (Pasadena Playhouse); John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, dir. Ethan McSweeny (Arena); Regina Taylor’s Trinity River Plays, dir. McSweeny (Dallas Theater Center, Goodman); The Trip to Bountiful, Walter Mosley’s The Fall of Heaven, dir. Marion McClinton (Cincinnati Playhouse); The Brother/Sister Plays by Tarell McCraney, dir. Tina Landau (The Public) and Landau and Robert O’Hara (McCarter); Things of Dry Hours by Naomi Wallace (NYTW); Having Our Say, written and dir. by Emily Mann (McCarter); and Resurrection by Daniel Beaty (Arena). She has designed eight of the 10 August Wilson plays including: Gem of the OceanThe Piano LessonKing Hedley IIRadio GolfTwo Trains Running, and Seven Guitars. Select film/TV credits include: Gregory Hines ShowSaturday Night Live, and The Brother from Another Planet by director John Sayles.

Kathy A. Perkins (Lighting Designer) made her Two River debut with Seven Guitars. She has designed both nationally and internationally including Switzerland and South Africa. In New York, she has designed for New Federal Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club. and in such venues as Carnegie Hall and Brooklyn Academy of Music. Regionally, Kathy has designed for Goodman Theatre, Arena Stage, Steppenwolf, Alliance Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Berkeley Repertory, Actors Theatre of Louisville, St. Louis Black Repertory, American Conservatory Theater, Indiana Repertory, Seattle Repertory, Congo Square, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Writers Theatre and Playmakers Repertory Company. She is the editor/co-editor of six anthologies focusing on African/African Diaspora women. A graduate of Howard University and the Univ. of Michigan, Kathy is Professor Emerita of Theatre at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Kay Richardson (Sound Designer) is a two-time Suzi Bass nominated Sound Designer and Audio Engineer. This production marks her Two River Theater debut. Regional theater designs include: Eclipsed at Synchronicity Theatre; Thurgood at Theatrical Outfit; Smart People; Fetch Clay, Make Man; and Gut Bucket Blues for Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company in Atlanta, GA; Sister Act in Whitefish, MT; the Medora Musical in Medora, North Dakota; and Crowns in Savannah, GA. Other designs include A Man of No ImportanceSpring AwakeningThe Colored MuseumA Song for CorettaHoodoo Love, and Seven Guitars. As an Audio Engineer she’s toured with Jekyll & HydeRing of FireChurch Basement Ladies and The Honky Tonk Angels. At the Alpine Theatre Project in Whitefish, MT she’s mixed Matilda the MusicalSmokey Joe’s CafeSingin’ in the RainThe Addams FamilySister ActBig RiverThe Who’s TommyLittle Shop of Horrors and Master Class. She has also toured in over 45 countries around the world mixing live for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines International. Kay is currently the Resident Sound Engineer at the Lewis Center for the Arts in Princeton, NJ.

Erin Hicks (Wig Designer) grew up in Harlem, NY. She began styling hair as an assistant on The Winter’s Tale _at the New York Shakespeare Festival, starring Alfre Woodard, Mandy Patinkin, and Diane Venora. Over the last 20 years she has worked on various Broadway, film and TV shows. This is Erin’s fourth show at Two River, following _Guadalupe in the Guest Room and August Wilson’s Seven Guitars and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Unkle Dave’s Fight-House (Fight Direction) UnkleDave’s Fight-House is a company of fight-directors founded by Dave Anzuelo. The core members of the team are Jesse Geguzis, Gerry Rodriguez, and Sean Griffin. Two River Theater credits: Be More Chill, SevenGuitars, A Raisin in the Sun, El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom. Broadway credits: Tuck Everlasting (Broadhurst); An American in Paris (Palace); Disgraced (Lyceum). Off-Broadway: Oedipus El Rey, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Public Theater); Downtown Race RiotSticks and Bones (New Group); Alligator (New Georges/Sol Project); And I And Silence (Signature); The Hill Town Plays (Rattlestick; Axis; Cherry Lane); To the Bone (Cherry Lane); Adoration of the Old Woman (Intar). National Tour: An American in Paris. Regional: Macbeth (Northern Stage); Oklahoma (Goodspeed); Disgraced(Goodman, Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Rep).

Heidi Griffiths (Casting) has worked for more than 25 years at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in NYC, where she has cast over 200 productions Off-Broadway and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, including Shakespeare, new plays, and musicals. On Broadway: Sweat; Shuffle Along; The Crucible, Eclipsed; A Delicate BalanceA Raisin in the SunLucky GuyChinglishThe Motherf*ker with the HatThe Merchant of VeniceHairPassing StrangeCaroline, or ChangeTake Me Out (Tony Award, Best Play 2003); Topdog/Underdog (Pulitzer Prize, 2002); The Wild Party;Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da FunkOn the Town; and The Tempest. She also cast the films The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love, MURDER and murderSaving Face and Ladybird. King Hedley II is her 10th collaboration with Two River Theater.

Kate Murray (Casting) Two River Theater: The Importance of Being EarnestThe Women of Padilla, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Ma Rainey’s Black BottomSeven GuitarsYour Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, and The School for Wives. Broadway (as Casting Associate): The CrucibleA View from the Bridge, A Delicate Balance, A Raisin in the SunLucky Guy _(Casting Assistant). Additional casting credits include work with Center Theater Group, The Cherry Lane, Bedlam, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, LAByrinth, New Georges, TheaterWorks Hartford, The Studio Theatre, and Throughline Artists._ Kate is a Casting Director at The Public Theater.

Laura Wilson (Production Stage Manager) Previously at TRT: Ma Rainey’s Black BottomSeven GuitarsYour Blues Ain’t Sweet Like MineThird, No Place to Go._ Broadway: _Roman Holiday (OOT Tryout), JitneyAll The WayFirst DateA Free Man of ColorThe People in the Picture. Off-Broadway: Paradise Blue (Signature Theatre); School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play (MCC); Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company); Exit Strategy (Primary Stages); The Really Big OnceA Family of Perhaps Three (Target Margin Theater). Regional: Bull Durham (Alliance Theatre); Guys and Dolls (Riverside Theatre); The Three Sisters, The Boys from Syracuse, and Things of Dry Hours(Centerstage, Baltimore); Tom Stoppard’s On the Razzle (Clarence Brown Theatre).

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JITNEY on Numerous Best Theater of 2017 Lists

Ray Anthony Thomas, Keith Randolph Smith, Anthony Chisholm, John Douglas Thompson, Brandon J. Dirden, Carra Patterson, André Holland, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks at the closing night curtain call of August Wilson’s JITNEY at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on March 12, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

Manhattan Theatre Club’s  critically acclaimed Broadway debut of August Wilson’s Jitney, which was named the 2017 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play in June, has landed on several Best Theater of 2017 lists.

Celebrating MTC’s JITNEY Win for 2017 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play

Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Photo by Lia Chang
Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Photo by Lia Chang

Helmed by Tony winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the cast featured Harvy Blanks as “Shealy;” Tony Award nominee Anthony Chisholm as “Fielding,” Obie and Theatre World Award winner Brandon Dirden as “Booster;” André Holland as “Youngblood;” Carra Patterson as “Rena,”  Michael Potts as “Turnbo,” Ray Anthony Thomas as “Philmore;” Keith Randolph Smith, as “Doub” and Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk Award winner John Douglas Thompson as “Becker.”

(1) New York Times: The Best Theater of 2017- Ben Brantley
‘JITNEY’ The first Broadway production of one of August Wilson’s earliest plays, this group portrait of workers at a gypsy cab company in a beleaguered African-American neighborhood in Pittsburgh, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, served up the most vibrant — and fine-tuned — ensemble work of the year.

André Holland, John Douglas Thompson, Ray Anthony Thomas, Carra Patterson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Anthony Chisholm, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Keith Randolph Smith and Brandon J. Dirden. Photo by Lia Chang
André Holland, John Douglas Thompson, Ray Anthony Thomas, Carra Patterson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Anthony Chisholm, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Keith Randolph Smith and Brandon J. Dirden. Photo by Lia Chang

(2) The Hollywood Reporter -David Rooney: The Best New York Theater of 2017
“Every major production of an August Wilson work is a stinging reminder of the loss of one of American drama’s most uniquely resonant voices. But this belated Broadway debut of the play that launched his magnificent 10-part chronicle of African-American experience in the 20th century — directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson with penetrating emotional depth and irrepressible humor — was something extraordinary. Gritty and lyrical, joyful and sorrowful, the play examines black struggle through the prism of a Pittsburgh gypsy-cab company in 1977, its denizens portrayed here by a peerless ensemble that found music in every note.”

John Douglas Thompson, André Holland and Cara Patterson in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang
John Douglas Thompson, André Holland and Cara Patterson in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang

(3) Variety: Marilyn Stasio’s 10 Best New York Theater Productions of 2017
4. “Jitney”
This was a pitch-perfect revival of August Wilson’s first play, an ensemble piece about gypsy cab drivers in Pittsburgh trying to make an honest living during the 1970s depression. “Moonlight” star Andre Holland and the powerful John Douglas Thompson squared off in a memorable battle royal.

Michael Potts, Anthony Chisholm, Harvy Blanks and André Holland in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang
Michael Potts, Anthony Chisholm, Harvy Blanks and André Holland in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang

(4) Asbury Park Press Best of Broadway and off-Broadway: Here are the top 10 shows of 2017-Bill Canacci
5. August Wilson’s “Jitney”
Set in Pittsburgh in 1977, “Jitney” tells the story of cab drivers trying to get by during tough economic times and the threat of gentrification. The business is run by Becker (John Douglas Thompson), a good man who is proud of what he has created and the service he provides to the community. This brilliant play takes a turn when Becker’s 39-year-old son Booster (Brandon J. Dirden) walks in after spending 20 years in jail for murder.

Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson treats Wilson’s work with care and respect, which should not be surprising. He won a Tony in 1996 for Wilson’s “Seven Guitars,” and brilliantly directed the 2012 off-Broadway production of Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson.” He also directed a production of “Jitney” at Red Bank’s Two River Theater.

“Jitney,” which concluded its limited run on March 12, won the 2017 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.

Ray Anthony Thomas, Keith Randolph Smith, Anthony Chisholm, John Douglas Thompson, Brandon J. Dirden, Carra Patterson, André Holland, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks at the closing night curtain call of August Wilson’s JITNEY at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on March 12, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Ray Anthony Thomas, Keith Randolph Smith, Anthony Chisholm, John Douglas Thompson, Brandon J. Dirden, Carra Patterson, André Holland, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks at the closing night curtain call of August Wilson’s JITNEY at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on March 12, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

(5) The Wrap: 11 Best Theater Productions of 2017, From Oscar Isaac to ‘A Doll’s House Part 2’-Robert Hofler
6. “Jitney,” by August Wilson (Broadway) Wilson’s early play finally made it to Broadway in a near-definitive production directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

Awoye Timpo, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Ayisha Hunt, Laura Wilson, James Latus. Photo by Lia Chang
Awoye Timpo, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Ayisha Hunt, Laura Wilson, James Latus. Photo by Lia Chang

(6) Forbes.com: The Best Theater Of 2017: Broadway And Beyond
Simply the best acting ensemble on a Broadway stage all year. It was, unfortunately, last season’s token non-white show, but it made the most of that position, building a brilliant platform for August Wilson’s unique voice. If nothing else, it was a potent reminder that Time And The Conways and its ilk aren’t the only choice for revivals – a reminder Broadway producers will hopefully take to heart.

MTC's Artistic Director Lynne Meadow, Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and MTC's Executive Director Barry Grove at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre after the Tony Awards Ceremony on June 11, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
MTC’s Artistic Director Lynne Meadow, Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and MTC’s Executive Director Barry Grove at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre after the Tony Awards Ceremony on June 11, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

In her acceptance speech for the Tony Award, MTC’s Artistic Director Lynne Meadow said,  “Thank you so much! The actors, my partner, Barry Grove and I are so thrilled, and on behalf of all of us at Manhattan Theatre Club, and our co-producing partners. We want to tell you, it was a complete privilege and an honor to produce this show. Thank you to a fantastic acting company and an amazing company of designers; they’re great. And special thanks to our director, the great Ruben Santiago. Ruben was determined that Jitney would make its Broadway bow, and he was an inspiration to all of us. He brought out the best in all of us, and we are so grateful to him. August Wilson wrote ten plays, one for every decade in the 20th century that chronicled African American life and culture. Jitney is a shining example of his brilliance, his poetry, his deep insight into the human heart, and his belief in the importance of coming together in community, to overcome adversity, and to celebrate our humanity, our shared humanity. Thank you so much!”

After the Tony Awards ceremony at Radio City Musical Hall, director Ruben Santiago-Hudson was the first to arrive at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, followed by Constanza Romero and Jitney cast members Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon J. Dirden and Carra Patterson. Lynne Meadow and Barry Grove brought up the rear with the Tony Award in tow.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson said, “We got the big one. It was not possible without everyone here that works at MTC from the front of the house, backstage, security, everybody – you all made us feel like family and we can never forget that. And hopefully, as we move forward, we bring you all – the memory and the love that you have instilled in us. More than anything I’m grateful to Lynne and Barry, Eric Falkenstein and all the people that continue to fight for Jitney to continue living. John Legend, we thank you, wherever John is. Like Bill Sims Jr. said, “We ain’t done yet y’all!. So Party on!”

Jitney began previews on December 28th and opened on January 19th at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

Barry Grove, André Holland, John Douglas Thompson, Ray Anthony Thomas, Carra Patterson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Constanza Romero, Anthony Chisholm, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Keith Randolph Smith, Lynne Meadow and Brandon J. Dirden at the opening night party at the Copacabana on January 19, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Barry Grove, André Holland, John Douglas Thompson, Ray Anthony Thomas, Carra Patterson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Constanza Romero, Anthony Chisholm, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Keith Randolph Smith, Lynne Meadow and Brandon J. Dirden at the opening night party at the Copacabana on January 19, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

Inside the Opening Night Party with JITNEY Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Company 

Anthony Chisholm and Keith Randolph Smith. Photo by Lia Chang
Anthony Chisholm and Keith Randolph Smith. Photo by Lia Chang

Set in the early 1970s, this richly textured piece follows a group of men trying to eke out a living by driving unlicensed cabs, or Jitneys. When the city threatens to board up the business and the boss’ son returns from prison, tempers flare, potent secrets are revealed and the fragile threads binding these people together may come undone at last.

Jitney was also nominated in the categories of Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (John Douglas Thompson), Best Scenic Design of a Play (David Gallo), Best Costume Design of a Play (Toni-Leslie James) Best Lighting Design of a Play (Jane Cox) and Best Director of a Play (Ruben Santiago-Hudson).

Jitney scooped up three Drama Desk Awards out of six nominations in the categories of Outstanding Play Revival, Outstanding Director for Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Outstanding Music for Bill Sims Jr. Other awards include a special citation from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle for director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and the ensemble cast; the 2017 Drama League Award for Outstanding Revival, the 2017 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival and the 2017 Drama League Award for Outstanding Revival of a Play.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette August Wilson’s ‘Jitney’ captures best play revival at 2017 Tony Awards

Billboard.com: John Legend Wins Tony Award for ‘Jitney,’ Is One Emmy Away from EGOT Status

Actors’ Equity Foundation Honors Anthony Chisholm, Katrina Lenk, Will Pullen and Barbara Barrie 

David Henry Hwang, Baayork Lee, Eva Noblezada, Linda Cho, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, John Douglas Thompson, Richard Thomas, Laura Linney and More at Tony Honors Special Honorees of 2017 Cocktail Party

Complete List of 2017 Tony Nominees

August Wilson’s JITNEY Receives 6 Tony Nominations including Best Revival 

OSLO, JITNEY, COME FROM AWAY, HELLO DOLLY! Among 2017 Drama Desk Award Winners

Livestream the 2017 Drama Desk Awards at The Town Hall Tonight 

Ruben Santiago-Hudson and the cast of JITNEY, OSLO, THE BAND’S VISIT & More Among 2017 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award Winners 

HELLO DOLLY!, COME FROM AWAY, JITNEY, OSLO and More Garner Outer Critics Circle Awards

SKELETON CREW, PACIFIC OVERTURES, TURN ME LOOSE and More Among 2017 Off Broadway Alliance Award Nominees

MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY Garners Nominations for Six Drama Desk Awards, Two Drama League Awards and an Outer Critics Circle Award

August Wilson’s JITNEY Starring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon Dirden, Andre Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas and John Douglas Thompson, Ends Run on Broadway

Inside the Opening Night Party with JITNEY Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Company 

Getting to Know the Cast of August Wilson’s JITNEY at Manhattan Theatre Club; Previews Begin Dec. 28

Inside Rehearsals of MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY; Previews Begin December 28

Meet the Cast of MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY, Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Featuring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon Dirden, André Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas, John Douglas Thompson 

André De Shields, Billy Eugene Jones, George Faison, Constanza Romero, Lori Tan Chinn and More Celebrate August Wilson’s SEVEN GUITARS Opening Night at Yale Rep 

MAURICE HINES TAPPIN’ THRU LIFE, Dominique Morriseau’s SKELETON CREW, Marjorie Johnson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tina Fabrique, Joe Morton and Debra Ann Byrd Among 2016 AUDELCO Winners 

Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks, Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams 

Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn
Lia Chang. Photo by Lori Tan Chinn

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.

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Broadway’s JITNEY Cast Members Jerome Preston Bates, Brian D. Coats, Brandon J. Dirden, and Ray Anthony Thomas to Perform Readings at Queens Library on August 7

Ray Anthony Thomas, Brandon J. Dirden, Brian D. Coats and Jerome Preston Bates. Photos by Lia Chang

Cast members from August Wilson’s Jitney (the 2017 Tony Winner for Best Revival of a Play) will perform select readings from the show, followed by a Q&A with the audience, at Queens Library on Monday, August 7, at 6:30 p.m.

The four very capable Wilsonians from the Broadway premiere of Jitney are: Jerome Preston Bates, Brian D. Coats, Brandon J. Dirden, and Ray Anthony Thomas.

Get a special autographed copy of August Wilson’s Jitney. In order to receive this autographed copy, you must attend the event – select the “Autographed Copy of Jitney & General Admission” ticket option when registering. Please be sure to print your ticket and bring it to the event in order to claim your copy. Limited quantities available.

For more information, visit www.queenslibrary.org, or call 718 990 0728 for more details. Free tickets are available through here.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Jerome Preston Bates is an American actor known for his role in Broadway’s Seven Guitars and Stickfly. His Off-Broadway credits includes The Public Theatre,The Abingdon, Circle Rep, NEC and New Federal Theatre. Jerome has made TV appearances on the HBO series OZ, All My Children, Law & Order, and more.

Brian D. Coats is known for his role in Broadway in Jitney and for some Off-Broadway shows including The First Noel (CTH/ The Apollo), On the Levee (Lincoln Center), The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Two Gentlemen of Verona (Public). Some of Coats’ TV appearances include “Law & Order,” “Blue Bloods,” “The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Luke Cage,” and more.

Brandon J. Dirden made his professional acting debut at the age of 12 in a production of August Wilson’s play Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the Alley Theatre in his hometown of Houston, TX. On Broadway, his credits include the 2014 Tony award winning play All the Way, in which he starred as Martin Luther King Jr. Off-Broadway credits include The First Breeze of Summer and Day of Absence (Signature Theatre); Detroit ’67 (Public Theater and Classical Theatre of Harlem); and Peter and the Starcatcher (New York Theatre Workshop). Television audiences may recognize Dirden as Agent Aderholt on FX’s critically acclaimed drama, “The Americans”. Other television appearances include guest starring turns on “The Good Wife,” “The Big C,” “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne,” “Public Morals” and “Brain Dead.” View some of Brandon’s videos here.

As a member of the Atlantic Theater Company, Ray Anthony Thomas has appeared in such productions as Human Error, The Beginning of August, The Lights, Edmond, and Distant Fires. Thomas was on Broadway in David Mamet’s Race, and his off-Broadway credits include: The Most Deserving (The Women’s Project), Volunteer Man, Kindness (Playwrights Horizons), The Exonerated, Saved or Destroyed, Black Eagles (at MTC), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (at NY Shakespeare Festival/Public). TV and Film appearances include: Their Eyes Were Watching God, “The Sopranos,” “Oz,” “Law and Order,” Sleepwalk with Me, Manchurian Candidate, Changing Lanes, among others.

Note: Queens Library programs are a free to the public. In order to make the programs available to the most number of people we are limiting general admission free tickets to two per individual. Multiple orders per individual are not allowed and will be cancelled. This policy ensures that no-shows are reduced and tickets are available to the most number of people.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. 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.

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Celebrating MTC’s JITNEY Win for 2017 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play

MTC's Artistic Director Lynne Meadow, Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and MTC's Executive Director Barry Grove at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre after the Tony Awards Ceremony on June 11, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

On June 11, 2017, the audience of Manhattan Theatre Club’s viewing party at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre went wild when the critically acclaimed Broadway debut of August Wilson’s Jitney, directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson was announced as the winner of the 2017 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play by Orlando Bloom at Radio City Music Hall.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Lynne Meadow and Barry Grove accept the award for Best Revival of a Play for August Wilson's Jitney onstage during the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 11: Lynne Meadow and Barry Grove accept the award for Best Revival of a Play for August Wilson’s Jitney onstage during the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

MTC’s Artistic Director Lynne Meadow and Executive Director Barry Grove led the procession to the stage and were joined by director Ruben Santiago-Hudson, cast member John Douglas Thompson, August Wilson’s widow, Constanza Romero, producers John Legend and his Get Lifted partner Mike Jackson,  Eric Falkenstein, Ron Simons, and cast members Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon J. Dirden and Carra Patterson.

In her acceptance speech, MTC’s Artistic Director Lynne Meadow said,  “Thank you so much! The actors, my partner, Barry Grove and I are so thrilled, and on behalf of all of us at Manhattan Theatre Club, and our co-producing partners. We want to tell you, it was a complete privilege and an honor to produce this show. Thank you to a fantastic acting company and an amazing company of designers; they’re great. And special thanks to our director, the great Ruben Santiago. Ruben was determined that Jitney would make its Broadway bow, and he was an inspiration to all of us. He brought out the best in all of us, and we are so grateful to him. August Wilson wrote ten plays, one for every decade in the 20th century that chronicled African American life and culture. Jitney is a shining example of his brilliance, his poetry, his deep insight into the human heart, and his belief in the importance of coming together in community, to overcome adversity, and to celebrate our humanity, our shared humanity. Thank you so much!”

After the Tony Awards ceremony at Radio City Musical Hall, director Ruben Santiago-Hudson was the first to arrive at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, followed by Constanza Romero and Jitney cast members Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon J. Dirden and Carra Patterson.  Lynne Meadow and Barry Grove brought up the rear with the Tony Award in tow.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson said, “We got the big one. It was not possible without everyone here that works at MTC from the front of the house, backstage, security, everybody – you all made us feel like family and we can never forget that. And hopefully, as we move forward, we bring you all – the memory and the love that you have instilled in us. More than anything I’m grateful to Lynne and Barry, Eric Falkenstein and all the people that continue to fight for Jitney to continue living. John Legend, we thank you, wherever John is. Like Bill Sims Jr. said, “We ain’t done yet y’all!. So Party on!”

John Legend attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions
John Legend attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Jitney began previews on December 28th and opened on January 19th at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

Barry Grove, André Holland, John Douglas Thompson, Ray Anthony Thomas, Carra Patterson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Constanza Romero, Anthony Chisholm, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Keith Randolph Smith, Lynne Meadow and Brandon J. Dirden at the opening night party at the Copacabana on January 19, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Barry Grove, André Holland, John Douglas Thompson, Ray Anthony Thomas, Carra Patterson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Constanza Romero, Anthony Chisholm, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Keith Randolph Smith, Lynne Meadow and Brandon J. Dirden at the opening night party at the Copacabana on January 19, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast featured Harvy Blanks as “Shealy;” Tony Award nominee Anthony Chisholm as “Fielding,” Obie and Theatre World Award winner Brandon Dirden as “Booster;” André Holland as “Youngblood;” Carra Patterson as “Rena,”  Michael Potts as “Turnbo,” Ray Anthony Thomas as “Philmore;” Keith Randolph Smith, as “Doub” and Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk Award winner John Douglas Thompson as “Becker.”

Ray Anthony Thomas, Keith Randolph Smith, Anthony Chisholm, John Douglas Thompson, Brandon J. Dirden, Carra Patterson, André Holland, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks at the closing night curtain call of August Wilson’s JITNEY at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on March 12, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Ray Anthony Thomas, Keith Randolph Smith, Anthony Chisholm, John Douglas Thompson, Brandon J. Dirden, Carra Patterson, André Holland, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks at the closing night curtain call of August Wilson’s JITNEY at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on March 12, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

Jitney ended its limited run on March 12, 2017.

John Douglas Thompson, André Holland and Cara Patterson in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang
John Douglas Thompson, André Holland and Cara Patterson in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang

Set in the early 1970s, this richly textured piece follows a group of men trying to eke out a living by driving unlicensed cabs, or Jitneys. When the city threatens to board up the business and the boss’ son returns from prison, tempers flare, potent secrets are revealed and the fragile threads binding these people together may come undone at last.

Michael Potts, Anthony Chisholm, Harvy Blanks and André Holland in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang
Michael Potts, Anthony Chisholm, Harvy Blanks and André Holland in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang

Jitney was also nominated in the categories of Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (John Douglas Thompson), Best Scenic Design of a Play (David Gallo), Best Costume Design of a Play (Toni-Leslie James) Best Lighting Design of a Play (Jane Cox) and Best Director of a Play (Ruben Santiago-Hudson).

MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Photo by Lia Chang
MTC's Tony Award viewing party at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in New York on June 11, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
MTC’s Tony Award viewing party at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in New York on June 11, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Constanza Romero, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Jeannie Santiago-Hudson. Photo by Lia Chang
Constanza Romero, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Jeannie Santiago-Hudson. Photo by Lia Chang

Jitney scooped up three Drama Desk Awards out of six nominations in the categories of Outstanding Play Revival, Outstanding Director for Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Outstanding Music for Bill Sims Jr. Other awards include a special citation from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle for director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and the ensemble cast; the 2017 Drama League Award for Outstanding Revival, the 2017 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival and the 2017 Drama League Award for Outstanding Revival of a Play.

MTC's Tony Award viewing party at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in New York on June 11, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
MTC’s Tony Award viewing party at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in New York on June 11, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette August Wilson’s ‘Jitney’ captures best play revival at 2017 Tony Awards

Billboard.com: John Legend Wins Tony Award for ‘Jitney,’ Is One Emmy Away from EGOT Status

Actors’ Equity Foundation Honors Anthony Chisholm, Katrina Lenk, Will Pullen and Barbara Barrie 

David Henry Hwang, Baayork Lee, Eva Noblezada, Linda Cho, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, John Douglas Thompson, Richard Thomas, Laura Linney and More at Tony Honors Special Honorees of 2017 Cocktail Party

Complete List of 2017 Tony Nominees

August Wilson’s JITNEY Receives 6 Tony Nominations including Best Revival 

OSLO, JITNEY, COME FROM AWAY, HELLO DOLLY! Among 2017 Drama Desk Award Winners

Livestream the 2017 Drama Desk Awards at The Town Hall Tonight 

Ruben Santiago-Hudson and the cast of JITNEY, OSLO, THE BAND’S VISIT & More Among 2017 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award Winners 

HELLO DOLLY!, COME FROM AWAY, JITNEY, OSLO and More Garner Outer Critics Circle Awards

SKELETON CREW, PACIFIC OVERTURES, TURN ME LOOSE and More Among 2017 Off Broadway Alliance Award Nominees

MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY Garners Nominations for Six Drama Desk Awards, Two Drama League Awards and an Outer Critics Circle Award

August Wilson’s JITNEY Starring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon Dirden, Andre Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas and John Douglas Thompson, Ends Run on Broadway

Inside the Opening Night Party with JITNEY Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Company 

Getting to Know the Cast of August Wilson’s JITNEY at Manhattan Theatre Club; Previews Begin Dec. 28

Inside Rehearsals of MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY; Previews Begin December 28

Meet the Cast of MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY, Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Featuring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon Dirden, André Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas, John Douglas Thompson 

André De Shields, Billy Eugene Jones, George Faison, Constanza Romero, Lori Tan Chinn and More Celebrate August Wilson’s SEVEN GUITARS Opening Night at Yale Rep 

MAURICE HINES TAPPIN’ THRU LIFE, Dominique Morriseau’s SKELETON CREW, Marjorie Johnson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tina Fabrique, Joe Morton and Debra Ann Byrd Among 2016 AUDELCO Winners 

Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks,Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams 

Lia Chang and Carra Patterson. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang and Carra Patterson. Photo by Garth Kravits

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.

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August Wilson’s JITNEY Receives 6 Tony Nominations including Best Revival

JITNEY'S John Douglas Thompson and Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Photo by Lia Chang
JITNEY'S John Douglas Thompson and Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Photo by Lia Chang
JITNEY’S John Douglas Thompson and Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Photo by Lia Chang

The critically acclaimed Broadway debut of August Wilson’s Jitney, directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre has garnered six Tony Award nominations including Best Revival of a Play, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for John Douglas Thompson, Best Scenic Design of a Play for David Gallo, Best Costume Design of a Play for Toni-Leslie James and Best Lighting Design of a Play for Jane Cox and Best Director of a Play for Santiago-Hudson.

Complete List of 2017 Tony Nominees

Ray Anthony Thomas, Keith Randolph Smith, Anthony Chisholm, John Douglas Thompson, Brandon J. Dirden, Carra Patterson, André Holland, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks at the closing night curtain call of August Wilson’s JITNEY at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on March 12, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Ray Anthony Thomas, Keith Randolph Smith, Anthony Chisholm, John Douglas Thompson, Brandon J. Dirden, Carra Patterson, André Holland, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks at the closing night curtain call of August Wilson’s JITNEY at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on March 12, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast featured Harvy Blanks as “Shealy;” Tony Award nominee Anthony Chisholm as “Fielding,” Obie and Theatre World Award winner Brandon Dirden as “Booster;” André Holland as “Youngblood;” Carra Patterson as “Rena,”  Michael Potts as “Turnbo,” Ray Anthony Thomas as “Philmore;” Keith Randolph Smith, as “Doub” and Drama Desk Award winner John Douglas Thompson as “Becker.”

John Douglas Thompson, André Holland and Cara Patterson in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang
John Douglas Thompson, André Holland and Cara Patterson in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang

Set in the early 1970s, this richly textured piece follows a group of men trying to eke out a living by driving unlicensed cabs, or Jitneys. When the city threatens to board up the business and the boss’ son returns from prison, tempers flare, potent secrets are revealed and the fragile threads binding these people together may come undone at last.

John Douglas Thompson as Becker, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Anthony Chisholm as Fielding and Brandon J. Dirden as Booster. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
John Douglas Thompson as Becker, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Anthony Chisholm as Fielding and Brandon J. Dirden as Booster. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Jitney scooped up three Drama Desk Awards out of six nominations in the categories of Outstanding Play Revival, Outstanding Director for Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Outstanding Music for Bill Sims Jr.

OSLO, JITNEY, COME FROM AWAY, HELLO DOLLY! Among 2017 Drama Desk Award Winners

Livestream the 2017 Drama Desk Awards at The Town Hall Tonight 

Harvy Blanks as Shealy, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Brandon J. Dirden (kneeling) as Booster and Andre Holland as Youngblood. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Harvy Blanks as Shealy, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Brandon J. Dirden (kneeling) as Booster and Andre Holland as Youngblood. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Other awards include a special citation from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle for director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and the ensemble cast; the 2017 Drama League Award for Outstanding Revival, the 2017 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival and the 2017 Drama League Award for Outstanding Revival of a Play.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson and the cast of JITNEY, OSLO, THE BAND’S VISIT & More Among 2017 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award Winners 

HELLO DOLLY!, COME FROM AWAY, JITNEY, OSLO and More Garner Outer Critics Circle Awards

Michael Potts, Anthony Chisholm, Harvy Blanks and André Holland in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang
Michael Potts, Anthony Chisholm, Harvy Blanks and André Holland in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang

The American Theatre Wing’s 71st Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Tony and Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey, will air live from Radio City Music Hall on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, June 11, 2017 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT).

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Barry Grove, André Holland, John Douglas Thompson, Ray Anthony Thomas, Carra Patterson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Constanza Romero, Anthony Chisholm, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Keith Randolph Smith, Lynne Meadow and Brandon J. Dirden. Photo by Lia Chang
Barry Grove, André Holland, John Douglas Thompson, Ray Anthony Thomas, Carra Patterson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Constanza Romero, Anthony Chisholm, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Keith Randolph Smith, Lynne Meadow and Brandon J. Dirden. Photo by Lia Chang

SKELETON CREW, PACIFIC OVERTURES, TURN ME LOOSE and More Among 2017 Off Broadway Alliance Award Nominees

MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY Garners Nominations for Six Drama Desk Awards, Two Drama League Awards and an Outer Critics Circle Award

August Wilson’s JITNEY Starring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon Dirden, Andre Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas and John Douglas Thompson, Ends Run on Broadway

Inside the Opening Night Party with JITNEY Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Company 

Getting to Know the Cast of August Wilson’s JITNEY at Manhattan Theatre Club; Previews Begin Dec. 28

Inside Rehearsals of MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY; Previews Begin December 28

Meet the Cast of MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY, Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Featuring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon Dirden, André Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas, John Douglas Thompson 

André De Shields, Billy Eugene Jones, George Faison, Constanza Romero, Lori Tan Chinn and More Celebrate August Wilson’s SEVEN GUITARS Opening Night at Yale Rep 

MAURICE HINES TAPPIN’ THRU LIFE, Dominique Morriseau’s SKELETON CREW, Marjorie Johnson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tina Fabrique, Joe Morton and Debra Ann Byrd Among 2016 AUDELCO Winners 

Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks,Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams 

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

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.

André De Shields, Rachel Leslie, Antoinette Crowe-Legacy and Fan Zhang Receive Connecticut Critics Circle Award Nominations for Yale Rep’s SEVEN GUITARS; Full List of Nominees

André De Shields in August Wilson's "Seven Guitars," directed by Timothy Douglas. Photo by Joan Marcus 2016.

The 27th annual Connecticut Critics Circle Awards event will be held Monday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart University’s Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts in Fairfield.

André De Shields in August Wilson's "Seven Guitars," directed by Timothy Douglas. Photo by Joan Marcus 2016.
André De Shields in August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars,” directed by Timothy Douglas. Photo by Joan Marcus 2016.

Yale Rep’s production of August Wilson’s play “Seven Guitars,”  directed by Timothy Douglas, received 4 Connecticut Critics Circle Award nods including Outstanding Featured actor in a play for two-time Tony nominee André De Shields, Outstanding Featured actress in a play for Rachel Leslie and Antoinette Crowe-Legacy and Outstanding Sound Design for Fan Zhang.

“André De Shields is mesmerizing as Hedley, the resident crazy sage whose presence, however allegorical, lends an earthy mysticism to the community.” – New Haven Register

“De Shields steals the show as Hedley, a character who could easily be a symbol or a stereotype, but in this seasoned veteran’s hands becomes a fully realized human being, brimming with humor and menace.” – New Haven Independent

“Highest praise goes to De Shields’ staggering shifts in the role of Hedley, a man who can go from matter-of-fact comments to a kind of personal language whose significance often perplexes the others…”- New Haven Review

André De Shields, Billy Eugene Jones, George Faison, Constanza Romero, Lori Tan Chinn and More Celebrate August Wilson’s SEVEN GUITARS Opening Night at Yale Rep

New Haven Register: André De Shields adds dramatic voice to August Wilson’s ‘Seven Guitars’ at Yale Rep

TheaterWork’s production of the musical “Next to Normal” received 10 nominations, including best musical. Westport Country Playhouse’s production of Ayad Akhtar’s play “The Invisible Hand” led the non-musicals, receiving seven nominations, including outstanding play.

Other outstanding play nominees are: “The Comedy of Errors” at Hartford Stage; “Mary Jane” at Yale Repertory Theatre; “Scenes From Court Life” at Yale Repertory Theatre and “Midsummer” at TheaterWorks.

Also nominated for outstanding musical are: “Assassins” at Yale Repertory Theatre; “Bye Bye Birdie” at Goodspeed Opera House, “Man of La Mancha” at Ivoryton Playhouse and “West Side Story” at Summer Theatre of New Canaan.

The awards show, which celebrates the best in professional theater in the state, is free and open to the public.

Three-time Tony Award-nominee Terrence Mann will be the master of ceremonies for the event. Mann joined the Connecticut theater community this year as artistic director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s Nutmeg Summer Series at the University of Connecticut at Storrs.

Last year’s top honorees — Yale Repertory Theatre’s play “Indecent” and Hartford Stage’s musical “Anastasia” — are currently on Broadway.

Also receiving special awards this year are James Lecesne for his work using theater as a way to connect with LGBT youths in works such as his solo show “The Absolute Brightness off Leonard Pelkey,” which was presented this spring at Hartford Stage, and Paxton Whitehead, for his longtime career in theater, especially in Connecticut.

Receiving the Tom Killen Award for lifetime achievement is Paulette Haupt, who is stepping down after 40 years from her position as founding artistic director of the National Music Theater Conference at Waterford’s Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.

Other nominees are:
Actor in a play: Jordan Lage, “Other People’s Money,” Long Wharf Theatre; Tom Pecinka, “Cloud Nine,” Hartford Stage; Michael Doherty, “Peter and the Starcatcher,” Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s Nutmeg Summer Series; Eric Bryant, “The Invisible Hand,” Westport Country Playhouse; M. Scott McLean, “Midsummer,” TheaterWorks.

Actress in a play: Semina DeLaurentis, “George & Gracie,” Seven Angels Theatre; Emily Donahoe, “Mary Jane,” Yale Repertory Theatre; Ashlie Atkinson, “Imogen Says Nothing,” Yale Repertory Theatre; Vanessa R. Butler, “Queens for a Year,” Hartford Stage; Rebecca Hart, “Midsummer,” TheaterWorks

Actor in a musical: Robert Sean Leonard, “Camelot,” Westport Country Playhouse; Riley Costello, “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying,” Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s Nutmeg Summer Series; David Harris, “Next To Normal,” TheaterWorks; David Pittsinger, “Man of La Mancha,” Ivoryton Playhouse; Zach Schanne, “West Side Story,” Summer Theatre of New Canaan.

Brian Binion, Talia Thiesfield and AJ Hunsucker in "Man of LaMancha" at Ivoryton Playhouse. Photo Credit: Anne Hudson
Brian Binion, Talia Thiesfield and AJ Hunsucker in “Man of LaMancha” at Ivoryton Playhouse. Photo Credit: Anne Hudson

Actress in a musical: Ruby Rakos, “Chasing Rainbows,” Goodspeed Opera House; Christiane Noll, “Next to Normal,” TheaterWorks; Julia Paladino, “West Side Story,” Summer Theatre of New Canaan; Karen Ziemba, “Gypsy,” Sharon Playhouse; Talia Thiesfield, “Man of La Mancha,” Ivoryton Playhouse.

Director of a play: Darko Tresnjak, “The Comedy of Errors,” Hartford Stage; David Kennedy, “The Invisible Hand,” Westport Country Playhouse; Marc Bruni, “Other People’s Money,” Long Wharf Theatre; Tracy Brigden, “Midsummer,” TheaterWorks; Gordon Edelstein, “Meteor Shower,” Long Wharf Theatre.

Director of a musical: Rob Ruggiero, “Next to Normal,” TheaterWorks; David Edwards, “Man of La Mancha,” Ivoryton Playhouse; Melody Meitrott Libonati, “West Side Story,” Summer Theatre of New Canaan; Jenn Thompson, “Bye Bye Birdie,” Goodspeed Opera House; Kevin Connors, “Gypsy,” Music Theater of Connecticut in Norwalk.

Choreography: Denis Jones, “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” Goodspeed Opera House; Chris Bailey, “Chasing Rainbows,” Goodspeed Opera House; Doug Shankman, West Side Story,” Summer Theatre of New Canaan; Patricia Wilcox, “Bye Bye Birdie,” Goodspeed Opera House; Darlene Zoller, “Rockin’ the Forest,” Playhouse on Park.

Ensemble: Cast of “Smart People,” Long Wharf Theatre; Cast of “Trav’lin’ ” at Seven Angels Theatre; cast of “Meteor Shower,” Long Wharf Theatre; cast of “Assassins,” Yale Repertory Theatre; cast of “The 39 Steps” at Ivoryton Playhouse.

Debut performance: Maya Keleher, “Next to Normal,” TheaterWorks; Dylan Frederick, “Assassins,” Yale Repertory Theatre; Nick Sacks, “Next to Normal, TheaterWorks.

Solo Performance: Jodi Stevens, “I’ll Eat You Last,” Music Theater of Connecticut; Jon Peterson, “He Wrote Good Songs,” Seven Angels Theatre.

André De Shields and Antoinette Crowe-Legacy in August Wilson's Seven Guitars, directed by Timothy Douglas. Photo by Joan Marcus 2016.
André De Shields and Antoinette Crowe-Legacy in August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars,” directed by Timothy Douglas. Photo by Joan Marcus 2016.

Featured actor in a play: Jameal Ali, “The Invisible Hand,” Westport Country Playhouse; André De Shields, “Seven Guitars,” Yale Repertory Theatre; Cleavant Derricks, “The Piano Lesson,” Hartford Stage; Steve Routman, “Other People’s Money,” Long Wharf Theatre; Paxton Whitehead, “What the Butler Saw,” Westport Country Playhouse

Stephanie Berry and Rachel Leslie in August Wilson's Seven Guitars, directed by Timothy Douglas. Photo by Joan Marcus 2016.
Stephanie Berry and Rachel Leslie in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, directed by Timothy Douglas. Photo by Joan Marcus 2016.

Featured actress in a play: Miriam Silverman, “Mary Jane,” Yale Repertory Theatre; Rachel Leslie, “Seven Guitars,” Yale Repertory Theatre; Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, “Seven Guitars,” Yale Repertory Theatre; Mia Dillon, “Cloud Nine,” Hartford Stage; Christina Pumariego, “Napoli, Brooklyn,” Long Wharf Theatre

Featured actor in a musical: Mark Nelson, “The Most Beautiful Room in New York,” Long Wharf Theatre; Edward Watts, “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” Goodspeed Opera House; John Cardoza, “Next to Normal,” TheaterWorks; Jonny Wexler, “West Side Story,” Summer Theater of New Canaan; Rhett Guter, “Bye Bye Birdie,” Goodspeed Opera House; Michael Wartella, “Chasing Rainbows,” Goodspeed Opera House

Featured actress in a musical: Maya Keleher, “Next to Normal,” TheaterWorks; Jodi Stevens, “Gypsy,” Music Theater of Connecticut; Katie Stewart, “West Side Story,” Summer Theater of New Canaan; Kristine Zbornik, “Bye Bye Birdie,” Goodspeed Opera House; Kate Simone, “Gypsy,” Music Theater of Connecticut.

Set design: Colin McGurk, “Heartbreak House,” Hartford Stage; Michael Yeargan, “The Most Beautiful Room in New York,” Long Wharf Theater; Wilson Chin, “Next to Normal,” TheaterWorks; Adam Rigg, “The Invisible Hand,” Westport Country Playhouse; Darko Tresnjak, “The Comedy of Errors,” Hartford Stage.

Costume design: Ilona Somogyi, “Heartbreak House,” Hartford Stage; Marina Draghici, “Scenes from Court Life,” Yale Repertory Theater; Fabio Toblini, “The Comedy of Errors,” Hartford Stage; Gregory Gale, “Thorough Modern Millie,” Goodspeed Opera House; Lisa Steier, “Rockin’ the Forest,” Playhouse on Park.

Lighting design: Matthew Richards, “The Invisible Hand,” Westport Country Playhouse; Yi Zhao, “Assassins,” Yale Repertory Theatre; John Lasiter, “Next to Normal,” TheaterWorks; Matthew Richards, “Comedy of Errors,” Hartford Stage; Christopher Bell, “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” Playhouse on Park, Hartford.

Sound design: Jane Shaw, “The Comedy of Errors,” Hartford Stage; Fan Zhang, “Seven Guitars,” Yale Repertory Theatre; Shane Rettig, “Scenes from Court Life,” Yale Repertory Theatre; Karen Graybash, “The Piano Lesson,” Hartford Stage; Fitz Patton, “The Invisible Hand,” Westport Country Playhouse.

DIRECTIONS: Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts, at Sacred Heart University, 5151 Park Ave., Fairfield. — Just off Exit 47 on the Merritt Parkway

André De Shields, Kelly McCreary, Jonah Broscow, Andrew Lippa and More Preview Bay Street’s 2017 Summer Lineup at Curtain Up! Gala Benefit Honoring Richard Kind and Jules Feiffer

Hillside High School Celebrates André De Shields, Lawrence Evans, Chuck Davis and Nancy Pinckney; Debuts THE GLORY OF GOSPEL This Weekend 

Video: André De Shields, Billy Eugene Jones, Rachel Leslie, Stephanie Berry, Danny Johnson, Wayne T. Carr and Antoinette Crowe-Legacy in Yale Rep’s SEVEN GUITARS

Yale School of Drama Beinecke Fellow André De Shields in BLACK BY POPULAR DEMAND at Yale Rep

André De Shields’ CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens- Tech to Closing Night 

Click here for more articles on André De Shields.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

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Kenny Leon to Host 9th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition on May 1

The 9th Annual National August Wilson Monologue Competition, hosted by Tony Award Winning Director, Kenny Leon, with special musical performance by blues guitarist and storyteller, Guy Davis, will take place on Monday, May 1st at 7:00 p.m. at the August Wilson Theatre (245 West 52nd Street).

A panel of celebrity judges will include: Brandon Dirden, Russell Hornsby, Obie Award and Lortel Award winner Roslyn Ruff, Tony Award and Obie Award winning actor, playwright and director Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tony Award and Obie Award winning set designer David Gallo, and BET Humanitarian Award winner Pauletta Washington.

Bill Nunn
Bill Nunn

The 9th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition is presented by True Colors Theatre Company (Kenny Leon, Co-Founding Artistic Director) and Jujamcyn Theaters (Jordan Roth, President).  The event, which is free and open to the public, features high school students from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Portland and Seattle performing monologues by the late, legendary American playwright. There will be a special performance by American Blues musician and actor, Guy Davis and a tribute to legendary actor Bill Nunn.

Guy Davis. Photo credit: Joseph A. Rosen Photography
Guy Davis. Photo credit: Joseph A. Rosen Photography

Founded in 2007, the Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition aims to expose a new generation of creative minds to the life’s work and artistic legacy of this seminal American playwright. Program participants in cities across the country encounter Wilson’s ten-play cycle and receive coaching from teaching artists as they prepare their monologues for local, city-wide and national competitions.

True Colors Theatre Company is based in Atlanta, GA and lead by Artistic Director Kenny Leon, and Managing Director Jennifer Dwyer McEwen. True Colors’ mission is grounded and centered in the rich canon of African American classics with a strong commitment to diverse new voices. True Colors strives to be an important voice in the American discussion of diversity including plays and playwrights from various times, cultures and perspectives. True Colors’ next shows are Stephen Adly Guirgis’ 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner Between Riverside and Crazy in July 2017 and the regional premiere of the Tupac Shakur musical Holler If You Hear Me in September 2017.

Jujamcyn Theaters, founded in 1956, is widely recognized as a Broadway innovator, championing shows that push theatrical boundaries and delivering service and hospitality that redefines both the theatergoing and theatre-making experiences. The company owns and operates five Broadway theatres including the St. James, Al Hirschfeld, August Wilson, Eugene O’Neill, and Walter Kerr. The dynamic leadership team is led by Jordan Roth, Paul Libin and Jack Viertel, the company’s President, Executive Vice President and Senior Vice President, respectively. Jujamcyn presents some of the most influential and successful musicals and plays on Broadway today. Current productions include The Book of Mormon, Groundhog Day, Amélie, Kinky Boots, and Present Laughter. Past productions include Jersey Boys, Something Rotten!, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, American Idiot, Angels in America, Big River, Caroline or Change, Clybourne Park, Fela!, Grey Gardens, Guys & Dolls, Hair, How to Succeed in Business, Into the Woods, M. Butterfly, The Producers, Proof, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Spring Awakening and 6 plays by August Wilson. In addition to its core theatre business, Jujamcyn operates Givenik.com and Red Awning. Givenik.com is a unique service allowing theatergoers to buy discounted tickets and give 5% of their ticket price to the charity of their choice. The program currently supports over 500 charitable organizations from major national agencies to local PTA groups. Red Awning provides executive producing services and creative consulting to a variety of Broadway and touring productions.

For more information, visit www.AugustWilsonMonologue.com.

MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY Garners Nominations for Six Drama Desk Awards, Two Drama League Awards and an Outer Critics Circle Award

August Wilson’s JITNEY Starring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon Dirden, Andre Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas and John Douglas Thompson, Ends Run on Broadway

Inside the Opening Night Party with JITNEY Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Company 

Getting to Know the Cast of August Wilson’s JITNEY at Manhattan Theatre Club; Previews Begin Dec. 28

Inside Rehearsals of MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY; Previews Begin December 28

Meet the Cast of MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY, Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Featuring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon Dirden, André Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas, John Douglas Thompson 

André De Shields, Billy Eugene Jones, George Faison, Constanza Romero, Lori Tan Chinn and More Celebrate August Wilson’s SEVEN GUITARS Opening Night at Yale Rep 

MAURICE HINES TAPPIN’ THRU LIFE, Dominique Morriseau’s SKELETON CREW, Marjorie Johnson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tina Fabrique, Joe Morton and Debra Ann Byrd Among 2016 AUDELCO Winners 

Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks,Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams 

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

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.

MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY Garners Nominations for Six Drama Desk Awards, Two Drama League Awards and an Outer Critics Circle Award

Ray Anthony Thomas, Keith Randolph Smith, Anthony Chisholm, John Douglas Thompson, Brandon J. Dirden, Carra Patterson, André Holland, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks at the closing night curtain call of August Wilson’s JITNEY at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on March 12, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

The critically acclaimed Broadway debut of August Wilson’s Jitney, directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, racked up six Drama Desk Award nods on the late playwright’s birthday, April 27th, including Outstanding Play Revival, Outstanding Actor for John Douglas Thompson, Outstanding Director for Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Outstanding Music for Bill Sims Jr., Outstanding Set Design for David Gallo and Outstanding Costume Design for Toni Lesli-James.

Ray Anthony Thomas, Keith Randolph Smith, Anthony Chisholm, John Douglas Thompson, Brandon J. Dirden, Carra Patterson, André Holland, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks at the closing night curtain call of August Wilson’s JITNEY at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on March 12, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang
Ray Anthony Thomas, Keith Randolph Smith, Anthony Chisholm, John Douglas Thompson, Brandon J. Dirden, Carra Patterson, André Holland, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks at the closing night curtain call of August Wilson’s JITNEY at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on March 12, 2017. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast featured Harvy Blanks as “Shealy;” Tony Award nominee Anthony Chisholm as “Fielding,” Obie and Theatre World Award winner Brandon Dirden as “Booster;” André Holland as “Youngblood;” Carra Patterson as “Rena,”  Michael Potts as “Turnbo,” Ray Anthony Thomas as “Philmore;” Keith Randolph Smith, as “Doub” and Drama Desk Award winner John Douglas Thompson as “Becker.”

Michael Potts, Anthony Chisholm, Harvy Blanks and André Holland in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang
Michael Potts, Anthony Chisholm, Harvy Blanks and André Holland in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang

Jitney also garnered Drama League Award nominations for Outstanding Revival of a Play and a Distinguished Performance Award for John Douglas Thompson, and the Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Play.

John Douglas Thompson, André Holland and Cara Patterson in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang
John Douglas Thompson, André Holland and Cara Patterson in JITNEY. Photo by Lia Chang

Set in the early 1970s, this richly textured piece follows a group of men trying to eke out a living by driving unlicensed cabs, or Jitneys. When the city threatens to board up the business and the boss’ son returns from prison, tempers flare, potent secrets are revealed and the fragile threads binding these people together may come undone at last.

John Douglas Thompson as Becker, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Anthony Chisholm as Fielding and Brandon J. Dirden as Booster. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
John Douglas Thompson as Becker, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Anthony Chisholm as Fielding and Brandon J. Dirden as Booster. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The Drama Desk nominees will receive their official nomination certificates at the nominees’ reception on May 10th at The New York Marriott Marquis.

Harvy Blanks as Shealy, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Brandon J. Dirden (kneeling) as Booster and Andre Holland as Youngblood. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Harvy Blanks as Shealy, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Brandon J. Dirden (kneeling) as Booster and Andre Holland as Youngblood. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The full list of nominees is available here.

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The 62nd Annual Drama Desk Awards, hosted by Michael Urie, will be held at The Town Hall (123 W. 43rd Street) on Sunday, June 4th. Tickets can be purchased  at www.DramaDeskAwards.com.

Barry Grove, André Holland, John Douglas Thompson, Ray Anthony Thomas, Carra Patterson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Constanza Romero, Anthony Chisholm, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Keith Randolph Smith, Lynne Meadow and Brandon J. Dirden. Photo by Lia Chang
Barry Grove, André Holland, John Douglas Thompson, Ray Anthony Thomas, Carra Patterson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Constanza Romero, Anthony Chisholm, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Keith Randolph Smith, Lynne Meadow and Brandon J. Dirden. Photo by Lia Chang

In keeping with the Drama Desk’s mission, nominators considered shows that opened on Broadway, Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway during the 2016-2017 New York theater season. Eligibility and award category designations for the productions under consideration this season were determined by the Drama Desk Board of Directors with recommendations from the Nominating Committee.

August Wilson’s JITNEY Starring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon Dirden, Andre Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas and John Douglas Thompson, Ends Run on Broadway

Inside the Opening Night Party with JITNEY Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Company 

Getting to Know the Cast of August Wilson’s JITNEY at Manhattan Theatre Club; Previews Begin Dec. 28

Inside Rehearsals of MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY; Previews Begin December 28

Meet the Cast of MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY, Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Featuring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon Dirden, André Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas, John Douglas Thompson 

André De Shields, Billy Eugene Jones, George Faison, Constanza Romero, Lori Tan Chinn and More Celebrate August Wilson’s SEVEN GUITARS Opening Night at Yale Rep 

MAURICE HINES TAPPIN’ THRU LIFE, Dominique Morriseau’s SKELETON CREW, Marjorie Johnson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tina Fabrique, Joe Morton and Debra Ann Byrd Among 2016 AUDELCO Winners 

Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks,Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams 

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

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.

August Wilson’s JITNEY Starring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon Dirden, André Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas and John Douglas Thompson, Ends Run on Broadway

Ray Anthony Thomas, Keith Randolph Smith, Anthony Chisholm, John Douglas Thompson, Brandon J. Dirden, Carra Patterson, André Holland, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks. Photo by Lia Chang

 

André Holland, John Douglas Thompson, Ray Anthony Thomas, Carra Patterson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Anthony Chisholm, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Keith Randolph Smith and Brandon J. Dirden. Photo by Lia Chang
André Holland, John Douglas Thompson, Ray Anthony Thomas, Carra Patterson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Anthony Chisholm, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Keith Randolph Smith and Brandon J. Dirden. Photo by Lia Chang

The critically-acclaimed Broadway debut of August Wilson’s Jitney, directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, ends run today. Jitney began previews on December 28th and opened on January 19th.

Ray Anthony Thomas, Keith Randolph Smith, Anthony Chisholm, John Douglas Thompson, Brandon J. Dirden, Carra Patterson, André Holland, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks. Photo by Lia Chang
Ray Anthony Thomas, Keith Randolph Smith, Anthony Chisholm, John Douglas Thompson, Brandon J. Dirden, Carra Patterson, André Holland, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast features Harvy Blanks (Jitney in WNYC’s Greene Space American Century Cycle recording, Two Trains Running at Two River Theater Company) as “Shealy;” Tony Award nominee Anthony Chisholm (Radio GolfGem of the OceanTwo Trains RunningJitney at Second Stage) as “Fielding,” Obie and Theatre World Award winner Brandon Dirden (The Piano LessonClybourne Park, “The Americans”) as “Booster;” André Holland (Joe Turner’s Come and GoneMoonlight,”American Horror Story”) as “Youngblood;” Carra Patterson (Significant OtherWitStraight Outta Compton) as “Rena,”  Michael Potts (The Book of MormonAubergine) as “Turnbo,” Ray Anthony Thomas (Jitney and Fences in WNYC’s Greene Space American Century Cycle recordings, Between Riverside and Crazy) as “Philmore;” Keith Randolph Smith (FencesKing Hedley II), as “Doub” and Drama Desk Award winner John Douglas Thompson (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the Mark Taper Forum, Satchmo at the Waldorf) as “Becker.”

John Douglas Thompson as Becker, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Anthony Chisholm as Fielding and Brandon J. Dirden as Booster. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
John Douglas Thompson as Becker, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Anthony Chisholm as Fielding and Brandon J. Dirden as Booster. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Only one of the ten plays in two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s masterful The American Century Cycle has never been seen on Broadway – until now. Set in the early 1970s, this richly textured piece follows a group of men trying to eke out a living by driving unlicensed cabs, or Jitneys. When the city threatens to board up the business and the boss’ son returns from prison, tempers flare, potent secrets are revealed and the fragile threads binding these people together may come undone at last. MTC has a long history of co-producing works by this legendary playwright (King Hedley IISeven Guitars and Piano Lesson) and is proud to produce this Broadway debut. Jitney is being produced in association with John Legend and his Get Lifted partner Mike Jackson,  Eric Falkenstein, Ron Simons and Ken Wirth.

Harvy Blanks as Shealy, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Brandon J. Dirden (kneeling) as Booster and Andre Holland as Youngblood. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Harvy Blanks as Shealy, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Brandon J. Dirden (kneeling) as Booster and Andre Holland as Youngblood. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The creative team for Jitney includes David Gallo (scenic design); Toni-Leslie James (costume design); Jane Cox (lighting design), Darron L West (sound design); Bill Sims, Jr. (original music); and Thomas Schall (fight director).

Andre Holland as Youngblood and Ray Anthony Thomas as Philmore. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Andre Holland as Youngblood and Ray Anthony Thomas as Philmore. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Click here for tickets and more information. Use code AUGUST for $47-$77 tickets through January 22nd and $47-$89 tickets for January 24th- March 12th. In person at the box office, call 212-947-8844 or visit telechargeoffers.com.

Keith Randolph Smith as Doub and Harvy Blanks as Shealy. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Keith Randolph Smith as Doub and Harvy Blanks as Shealy. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

For more information on MTC, please visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.

Michael Potts as Turnbo, John Douglas Thompson as Becker, Anthony Chisholm as Fielding, Keith Randolph Smith as Doub and Andre Holland as Youngblood. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Michael Potts as Turnbo, John Douglas Thompson as Becker, Anthony Chisholm as Fielding, Keith Randolph Smith as Doub and Andre Holland as Youngblood. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
John Douglas Thompson as Becker and Michael Potts as Turnbo. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
John Douglas Thompson as Becker and Michael Potts as Turnbo. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Andre Holland as Youngblood and Carra Patterson as Rena. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Andre Holland as Youngblood and Carra Patterson as Rena. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Brandon J. Dirden as Booster and John Douglas Thompson as Becker. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Brandon J. Dirden as Booster and John Douglas Thompson as Becker. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Awoye Timpo, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Ayisha Hunt, Laura Wilson, James Latus. Photo by Lia Chang
Awoye Timpo, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Ayisha Hunt, Laura Wilson, James Latus. Photo by Lia Chang
Barry Grove, André Holland, John Douglas Thompson, Ray Anthony Thomas, Carra Patterson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Constanza Romero, Anthony Chisholm, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Keith Randolph Smith, Lynne Meadow and Brandon J. Dirden. Photo by Lia Chang
Barry Grove, André Holland, John Douglas Thompson, Ray Anthony Thomas, Carra Patterson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Constanza Romero, Anthony Chisholm, Michael Potts, Harvy Blanks, Keith Randolph Smith, Lynne Meadow and Brandon J. Dirden. Photo by Lia Chang

Inside the Opening Night Party with JITNEY Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Company 

Getting to Know the Cast of August Wilson’s JITNEY at Manhattan Theatre Club; Previews Begin Dec. 28

Inside Rehearsals of MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY; Previews Begin December 28

Meet the Cast of MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY, Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Featuring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon Dirden, André Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas, John Douglas Thompson 

André De Shields, Billy Eugene Jones, George Faison, Constanza Romero, Lori Tan Chinn and More Celebrate August Wilson’s SEVEN GUITARS Opening Night at Yale Rep 

MAURICE HINES TAPPIN’ THRU LIFE, Dominique Morriseau’s SKELETON CREW, Marjorie Johnson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tina Fabrique, Joe Morton and Debra Ann Byrd Among 2016 AUDELCO Winners 

Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks,Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams 

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

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 Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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MTC’s Production of August Wilson’s JITNEY Helmed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Opens on Broadway

Andre Holland as Youngblood and Carra Patterson as Rena. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

I’ll see you at the opening night performance of Manhattan Theatre Club’s Broadway debut of August Wilson’s Jitney, directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson (The Piano LessonSeven GuitarsGem of the Ocean) at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) on Thursday, January 19th. Jitney began previews on December 28th and will play a limited run through March 12th.

 Folks from JITNEY director Ruben Santiago-Hudson's hometown of Lackawanna, NY, including students from the Ruben Santiago-Hudson Fine Arts Learning Center, took an 8 hour bus ride to see the Sunday matinee at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on January 15, 2017, and visited with the cast after the show. Global Concepts Charter School runs the school. Photo by Lia Chang
Folks from JITNEY director Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s hometown of Lackawanna, NY, including students from the Ruben Santiago-Hudson Fine Arts Learning Center, took an 8 hour bus ride to see the Sunday matinee at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on January 15, 2017, and visited with the cast after the show. Global Concepts Charter School runs the school. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast features Harvy Blanks (Jitney in WNYC’s Greene Space American Century Cycle recording, Two Trains Running at Two River Theater Company) as “Shealy;” Tony Award nominee Anthony Chisholm (Radio GolfGem of the OceanTwo Trains RunningJitney at Second Stage) as “Fielding,” Obie and Theatre World Award winner Brandon Dirden (The Piano LessonClybourne Park, “The Americans”) as “Booster;” André Holland (Joe Turner’s Come and GoneMoonlight,”American Horror Story”) as “Youngblood;” Carra Patterson (Significant OtherWitStraight Outta Compton) as “Rena,”  Michael Potts (The Book of MormonAubergine) as “Turnbo,” Ray Anthony Thomas (Jitney and Fences in WNYC’s Greene Space American Century Cycle recordings, Between Riverside and Crazy) as “Philmore;” Keith Randolph Smith (FencesKing Hedley II), as “Doub” and Drama Desk Award winner John Douglas Thompson (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the Mark Taper Forum, Satchmo at the Waldorf) as “Becker.”

John Douglas Thompson as Becker, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Anthony Chisholm as Fielding and Brandon J. Dirden as Booster. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
John Douglas Thompson as Becker, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Anthony Chisholm as Fielding and Brandon J. Dirden as Booster. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Only one of the ten plays in two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s masterful The American Century Cycle has never been seen on Broadway – until now. Set in the early 1970s, this richly textured piece follows a group of men trying to eke out a living by driving unlicensed cabs, or Jitneys. When the city threatens to board up the business and the boss’ son returns from prison, tempers flare, potent secrets are revealed and the fragile threads binding these people together may come undone at last. MTC has a long history of co-producing works by this legendary playwright (King Hedley IISeven Guitars and Piano Lesson) and is proud to produce this Broadway debut. Jitney is being produced in association with John Legend and his Get Lifted partner Mike Jackson,  Eric Falkenstein, Ron Simons and Ken Wirth.

Harvy Blanks as Shealy, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Brandon J. Dirden (kneeling) as Booster and Andre Holland as Youngblood. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Harvy Blanks as Shealy, Michael Potts as Turnbo, Brandon J. Dirden (kneeling) as Booster and Andre Holland as Youngblood. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The creative team for Jitney includes David Gallo (scenic design); Toni-Leslie James (costume design); Jane Cox (lighting design), Darron L West (sound design); Bill Sims, Jr. (original music); and Thomas Schall (fight director).

Andre Holland as Youngblood and Ray Anthony Thomas as Philmore. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Andre Holland as Youngblood and Ray Anthony Thomas as Philmore. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Click here for tickets and more information. Use code AUGUST for $47-$77 tickets through January 22nd and $47-$89 tickets for January 24th- March 12th. In person at the box office, call 212-947-8844 or visit telechargeoffers.com.

Keith Randolph Smith as Doub and Harvy Blanks as Shealy. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Keith Randolph Smith as Doub and Harvy Blanks as Shealy. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

For more information on MTC, please visit www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com.

Michael Potts as Turnbo, John Douglas Thompson as Becker, Anthony Chisholm as Fielding, Keith Randolph Smith as Doub and Andre Holland as Youngblood. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Michael Potts as Turnbo, John Douglas Thompson as Becker, Anthony Chisholm as Fielding, Keith Randolph Smith as Doub and Andre Holland as Youngblood. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
John Douglas Thompson as Becker and Michael Potts as Turnbo. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
John Douglas Thompson as Becker and Michael Potts as Turnbo. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Andre Holland as Youngblood and Carra Patterson as Rena. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Andre Holland as Youngblood and Carra Patterson as Rena. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Brandon J. Dirden as Booster and John Douglas Thompson as Becker. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Brandon J. Dirden as Booster and John Douglas Thompson as Becker. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Getting to Know the Cast of August Wilson’s JITNEY at Manhattan Theatre Club; Previews Begin Dec. 28

Inside Rehearsals of MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY; Previews Begin December 28

Meet the Cast of MTC’s Broadway Debut of August Wilson’s JITNEY, Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Featuring Harvy Blanks, Anthony Chisholm, Brandon Dirden, André Holland, Carra Patterson, Michael Potts, Keith Randolph Smith, Ray Anthony Thomas, John Douglas Thompson 

André De Shields, Billy Eugene Jones, George Faison, Constanza Romero, Lori Tan Chinn and More Celebrate August Wilson’s SEVEN GUITARS Opening Night at Yale Rep 

MAURICE HINES TAPPIN’ THRU LIFE, Dominique Morriseau’s SKELETON CREW, Marjorie Johnson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tina Fabrique, Joe Morton and Debra Ann Byrd Among 2016 AUDELCO Winners 

Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks,Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams 

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

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 Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.