March On!

Heyooooo! This month actually has a BUNCH of great shows but we were a little short of time and couldn’t see them all… SO, we decided to shout out the ones we were super interested in and share them here too!

IF PRETTY HURTS UGLY MUST BE A MUHFUCKA
@ Playwrights Horizons
until Mar. 31

Akim is the prettiest girl in her town, receiving the adoration of everybody… Well, nearly everybody. When a boy (Kasim) turns on one of her friends to start flirting with Akim, all bets are off. With live music and fantastic dancing, this modern folktale explores womanhood and what it means to chase beauty.

 Cast:

Rotimi Agbabiaka — Chorus
Maechi Aharanwa — Ma
Jason Bowen — Dad
Antoinette Crowe-Legacy — Massassi
Leland Fowler — Kasim
Níkẹ Uche Kadri — Akim
Mirirai Sithole — Adama
Phumzile Sitole — Kaya
Carla R. Stewart — The Voice of the River

Produced by Playwrights Horizons
Written by Tori Sampson
Directed by Leah C. Gardiner
Choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly
Scenic Designer – Louisa Thompson
Costume Designer – Dede Ayite
Lighting Designer – Matt Frey
Original Music & Sound Design – Ian Scot
Hair & Wig Designer – Cookie Jordan
Production Stage Manager – Alyssa K. Howard
Assistant Stage Manager – Noah Silva

 

MARYS SEACOLE @ Claire Tow Theater until Apr. 7

Mary Seacole was a 19th century Jamaican nurse who tended to the soldiers fighting in the Crimean War. Generations later, black caretakers all over the world continue to uphold her legacy. Merging history with the present day, Marys Seacole is an extraordinary, dream-like, exploration of black migrants who are paid to care.

Cast:

Gabby Beans - Mamie
Quincy Tyler Bernstine - Mary
Marceline Hugot - Merry
Karen Kandel – Duppy Mary
Ismenia Mendes - Miriam
Lucy Taylor - May

Produced by LCT3
Written by Jackie Sibblies Drury
Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz
Scenic Designer – Mariana Sanchez
Costume Designer – Kaye Voyce
Lighting Designer – Jiyoun Chang
Sound Designer – Palmer Hefferan
Stage Manager – Charles M. Turner III  


BONUS SHOWS! SHOUT OUT TO THESE PRODUCTIONS WE’RE EXCITED ABOUT!


DADDY @ The Signature Theatre until Mar. 31

“Franklin (Ronald Peet), a young black artist on the verge of his first show, meets Andre (Alan Cumming), an older white art collector, and before long their feverish link deepens into an irresistible bond. But when Franklin’s Christian mother, Zora (Charlayne Woodard), decides that her son is in peril, she enters into a battle of wills with Andre over the soul of the man they both call baby. Basquiats and Birkins, gospel and pop, and fantasy and reality collide around a Bel Air swimming pool in this deeply surreal exploration of intimacy and identity.” - from official website.

Cast:

Carrie Compere - Gospel Choir
Alan Cumming - Andre
Tommy Dorfman - Max
Kahyun Kim - Bellamy
Denise Manning - Gospel Choir
Hari Nef - Alessia
Onyie Nwachukwu - Gospel Choir
Ronald Peet - Franklin
Charlayne Woodard - Zora

Produced by Vineyard Theatre + The New Group
Written by Jeremy O. Harris
Directed by Danya Taymor
Scenic Designer - Matt Saunders
Costume Designer - Montana Levi Blanco
Lighting Designer - Isabella Byrd
Hair, Wig, and Make Up Designer - Cookie Jordan
Original Music & Sound Designer - Lee Kinney
Original Vocal Music & Vocal Arrangements - Darius Smith and Brett Macias
Music Supervision - Brett Macias
Intimacy and Fight Directior - Claire Warden
Movement Director - Darrell Grand Moultrie
Doll Designer - Tschabalala Self

 

HATEFUCK @ WP Theater until Mar. 31

“Passions ignite when Layla, an intense literature professor, accuses Imran, a brashly iconoclastic novelist, of trading in anti-Muslim stereotypes. But as their attraction grows into something more, they discover that good sex doesn’t always make good bedfellows. Conflicting cultural identities collide in this thornily clever antidote to a “meet-cute” romance.” - from official website.

Cast:

Kavi Ladnier - Layla
Sendhil Ramamurthy - Imran

Produced by WP Theater + Colt Coeur
Written by Rehana Lew Mirza
Directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt
Scenic Designer - Anshuman Bhatia
Costume Designer - Sarita Fellows
Lighting Designer - Barbara Samuels
Sound Designer - Joanna Lynne Staub

HAPPY (LUNAR) NEW YEAR AGAIN!

Polar vortexes followed by 61 degree, spring weather, February has been a temperature roller coaster so far. So dramatic! Supreme Leader Orangina Trump just gave the State Of The Union address stating that we can either have a working government or investigations but we cannot have both… What? How has this show not been cancelled yet?

Anyway! We got great shows for you this month. One of them is MY show so, yes, the recommendation is super bias but come support me!

GOD SAID THIS @ Cherry Lane Theatre until Feb. 15

A Japanese matriarch, diagnosed with cancer, brings this all-American family back together where they must face everything that has been buried for years. Taking place 7 years after Kentucky, will daughters Hiro and Sophie be able to restore their relationships? Will their stern and reluctant father step up and heal the open wounds from the past?

Cast:

Ako - Masako
Satomi Blair - Hiro
Tom Coiner - John
Emma Kikue - Sophie
Jay Patterson - James

Produced by Primary Stages
Written by Leah Nanako Winkler
Directed by Morgan Gould
Scenic Designer - Arnulfo Maldonado
Sound Designer - M.L. Dogg
Props Supervisor - Andrew Diaz
Lighting Designer - Ryan Seelig

 

THE AMERICAN TRADITION @ 13th Street Rep. until Feb. 16

Set in Antebellum America with an absurd and Brechtian twist, fictitious characters Eleanor—cross-dressing as a white planter—and her husband, Bill—pretending to be her loyal servant—attempt to escape to the free state of Pennsylvania. Their operation is running smoothly until they meet Walsh, a drunk planter and member of the Not All Slavers organization, who steals Bill at a rest stop. Armed with a semi-automatic and her fair skin, Eleanor sets out to rescue him by any means necessary.

Cast:

Sydney Cole Alexander - Eleanor
Martin K. Lewis - Bill
Alex Herrald - Mr. Walsh
Hunter Canning - Buckley/Henry/Sheriff
Danie Steel - Rose

Produced by New Light Theater Project
Written by Ray Yamanouchi
Directed by Axel Avin, Jr.
Casting - Gama Valle
Line Producer - Rebecca Crigler 
Fight Directior - Leighton Samuels
Scenic Design - Brian Dudkiewicz 
Costume Design - Samantha Rose Lind 
Lighting Design - Elaine Wong
Music & Sound Design-y Enrico de Trizio
Props Design - Leila Ben-Abdallah 
Stage Manager - Chelsea Olivia Friday
Assistant Stage Management - Alicia Parker
Assistant Director - Cynthia Cunningham
Technical Directior - ToniAnne DiFilippo 


SUICIDE FOREST @ The Bushwick Starr from Feb. 27 until Mar. 16

“Suicide Forest is a bilingual nightmare play excavating the Japanese-American consciousness and its looming relationship with sex, suicide, and identity. In 1990’s Japan, a teenage girl grapples with her sexuality in a nightmarish, male-defined society as a salaryman desperately tries to escape his masochistic psyche. Both are clawing for their self-worth. When their two journeys collide, they expose their darkest desires fueled by shame as they now confront life and death with the notorious Suicide Forest looming over their imagination. Performed by a Japanese heritage cast, Suicide Forest examines the role of community and the inner struggles of emotional, psychic and social suicide through the playwright’s lived stories and inner landscape.“ -From official website.

Cast:

Akiko Aizawa
Yuki Kawahisa
Keizo Kaji
Aoi Lee
Kristine Haruna Lee
Eddy Toru Ohno
Dawn Akemi Saito

Produced by The Bushwick Starr in association with Ma-Yi Theater Co.
Written by Kristine Haruna Lee
Directed by Aya Ogawa
Scenic Designer- Jian Jung,
Costume Designer - Alice Tavener
Lighting & Video Designer - Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew
Original Music & Sound Designer - Fan Zhang
Sound Composition & Arrangement - Jen Goma
Assistant Scenic Design & Props Master - Brian Bernhard
Assistant Costume Deisnger - Raphael Regan
Assistant Lighting Design & Master Electrician - Christina Tang
Production Stage Manager - Mariko Takizawa
Assistant Director - Kiyo Kamisawa
Production Mananger - Patrick Murphy
Technical Director - Jay Maury
Production Intern - Padra Crisafulli
Co-Producers - Denise Shu Mei & John Del Gaudio

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Welcome to 2019, everybody! I hope you all had a great (given the circumstances) 2018 and will have an even better 2019.

This episode we recap our favorite shows from last year with special guest Diep Tran from Token Theatre Friends! Also, make sure to check out Logan’s new show at MCC, The Light. Performances begin late January.

Watch the episode for our brief discussions on each show but here’s the breakdown of our Best of 2018:

DIEP:

WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME
SLAVE PLAY

MARIA:

SYNCING INK
IS GOD IS
WILD GOOSE DREAMS

RAY:

WHAT TO SEND UP WHEN IT GOES DOWN (and IS GOD IS)
FAIRVIEW
PASS OVER


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THE LIGHT @ THE ROBERT W. WILSON 
MCC THEATER SPACE
from Jan. 23 until Mar. 17

Rashad and Genesis are a loving young couple but their bond is shaken when certain things from their past unravel themselves on one fateful night. The Light is a 2 hander that unfolds in real time, as we journey with the characters through their tumultuous night.

Cast:

McKinley Belcher III - Rashad
Mandi Masden - Genesis

Produced by MCC Theater
Written by Loy A. Webb
Directed by Logan Vaughn
Set Design - Kimie Nishikawa 
Costume Design - Emilio Sosa
Lighting Design - Ben Stanton
Sound Design - Elisheba Ittoop

The End (of the Year) is Nigh! Check out these great shows!

This month is Ray’s recommendations because Maria was away but the shows are bomb as always!

December was a display in black excellence as we have 3 incredible shows helmed by both a black playwright and director. Each has a very unique take on the navigations of blackness in America, all incredibly worth watching.

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WHAT TO SEND UP WHEN IT GOES DOWN @ A.R.T./New York Theater until Dec. 16

Patrick Dorismond. Botham Jean. Sandra Bland. Trayvon Martin. What to Send Up When It Goes down is part ritual, part theatrical vignettes, and part love letter that viscerally explores the black experience in America by honoring the victims of police violence from the past, to uplift all of us in the present, in hopes of paving the way for the future.

Cast:

Alana Raquel Bowers 
Rachel Christopher
Ugo Chukwu
Kambi Gathesha
Naomi Lorrain
Denise Manning
Javon Q. Minter
Beau Thom

Produced by The Movement Theatre Co.
Written by Aleshea Harris
Directed by Whitney White
Set Design - Yu-Hsuan Chen 
Costume Design - Andy Jean 
Lighting Design - Cha See 
Sound Design - Sinan Refik Zafar 
Production Stage Manager - Genevieve Ortiz 
Community Engagement Team - Nissy Aya and Zhailon Levingston

 
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SLAVE PLAY @ New York Theatre Workshop until Dec. 30

Three black/white interracial couples engage in an antebellum themed sexual role play. As the couples unpack their experiences, their unconscious desires and racist baggage begin to unravel itself. What does it mean to be conscious of one’s own fetish when said fetish is completely normalized?

Cast:

Ato Blankson-Wood - Gary
James Cusati-Moyer - Dustin
Sullivan Jones - Phillip
Chalia La Tour - Teá
Irene Sofia Lucio - Patricia
Annie McNamara - Alana
Paul Alexander Nolan - Jim
Teyonah Parris - Kaneisha

Produced by New York Theatre Workshop
Written by Jeremy O. Harris
Directed by Robert O’Hara
Scenic Design - Clint Ramos 
Costume Design - Dede Ayite 
Lighting Design - Jiyoun Chang 
Sound Design - Lindsay Jones 
Properties - Noah Mease 
Movement - Byron Easley 
Intimacy & Fight Director - Claire Warden 
Dramaturg - Amauta Marston-Firmino 
Dialect Coach - Dawn-Elin Fraser 
Stage Manager - Jhanaë K-C Bonnick

 
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FABULATION, OR THE RE-EDUCATION OF UNDINE @ Signature Theatre until Jan. 6

Undine is a famous, successful, and very rich CEO of a PR firm. She has a gorgeous Argentinian husband and the world at her fingertips. That is until she finds out that her gorgeous Argentinian husband embezzled all of her money leaving her dead broke. Returning to her humble roots of the Walt Whitman projects in Brooklyn with her family, she gets herself in a slew of wacky, quirky, and absurd situations that make her reflect on all she has lost in her pursuit of fortune. Can she reclaim the humanity she, herself, willingly threw away?

Cast:

Mayaa Boateng - Stephie/Devora/others
Cherise Boothe - Undine
Marcus Callender - Flow/Dealer/others
J. Bernard Calloway - Father/others
Dashiell Eaves - Accountant/Addict 1/others
Ian Lassiter - Hervé/Guy/others
Nikiya Mathis - Mother/others
Heather Alicia Simms - Grandma/others

Produced by Signature Theatre
Written by Lynn Nottage
Directed by Lilieana Blain-Cruz
Scenic Design - Adam Rigg
Costume Design - Montana Levi Blanco
Lighting Design - Yi Zhao
Sound Design - Palmer Hefferan
Production Stage Manager - Terri K. Kohler

Welcome Fall, Welcome November!

Though it may not feel like it today (global warming is among us), the season has definitely changed and my red parka has been released from the closet along with a bunch of comforters. As usual, Maria and I have been out on the town checking out great theatre and below are our November picks, plus a bonus from Hansol!

GOOD GRIEF @ Vineyard Theatre until Nov. 18

Returning to her hometown in the suburbs of Pennsylvania, this moving (emotionally and literally) meta-theatrical journey through Nkechi’s life in the wake of her childhood friend, MJ’s, death reveals the intricate web of memories that shape us to be who we are.

Cast:

Oberon K.A. Adjepong - Papa
Ngozi Anyanwu - Nkechi
Nnamdi Asomugha - Bro
Patrice Johnson Chevannes - NeNe
Hunter Parrish - JD
Ian Quinlan - MJ
Lisa Ramirez - MJ's Mom/Neighbor

Produced by Vineyard Theatre
Written by Ngozi Anyanwu
Directed by Awoye Timpo
Scenic Designer - Jason Ardizzone-West
Costume Designer - Andy Jean
Lighting Designer - Oona Curley
Sound Designer - Daniel Kluger
Fight Direction - Unkle Dave’s Fight-House
Props Master - Andrew Diaz
Dialect Coach - Charlotte Fleck
Production Stage Manager - Alyssa K. Howard
Assistant Stage Manager - Kelsy Durkin
Production Manager - Cynthia Cahill
Casting - Henry Russell Bergstein, CSA

EVE’S SONG @ The Public Theater until Dec. 9

Deborah and her two children, Lauren and Mark, are a proper and respectable black family—emphasis is put on order, cleanliness, and etiquette. However, cracks begin to reveal itself as Deborah has difficulty dealing with Lauren’s queerness, Mark’s strange verbal outbursts, and her own respectability politics at work. What are the costs of self-maintenance of black—particularly female—bodies in America?

Cast:

De’Adre Aziza -Deborah
Karl Green - Mark
Ashley D. Kelley - Upendo
Vernice Miller - Spirit Woman
Kadijah Raquel - Lauren
Rachel Watson-Jih - Spirit Woman
Tamara M. Williams - Spirit Woman

Produced by The Public Theater
Written by Patricia Ione Lloyd
Directed by Jo Bonney
Scenic Designer - Riccardo Hernandez
Costume Designer - Emilio Sosa
Lighting Designer - Lap Chi Chu
Sound Designer - Elisheba Ittoop
Projections Designer - Hana S. Kim
Hair & Wig Designer - J. Jared Janas
Movement Director - Stefanie Batten Bland
Production Stage Manager - Linda Marvel
Stage Manager - Genevieve Kersh


WILD GOOSE DREAMS @ The Public Theater until Dec. 16

“Minsung is a “goose father,” a South Korean man whose wife and daughter have moved to America for a better life. Deeply lonely, he escapes onto the internet and meets Nanhee, a young defector forced to leave her family behind in North Korea. Amidst the endless noise of the modern world, where likes and shares have taken the place of love and touch, Minsung and Nanhee try their best to be real for each other. But after a lifetime of division and separation, is connection possible?” - From official website.

Cast:

Dan Domingues -Chorus
Lulu Fall - Digital Nanhee/Chorus
Kendyl Ito - Heejin/Chorus
Francis Jue - Father
Peter Kim - Guk Minsung
Michelle Krusiec - YooNanhee
Jaygee Macapugay - Wife/Chorus
Joél Pérez - Digital Minsung/Chorus
Jamar Williams - Chorus
Katrina Yaukey - Chorus

Produced by The Public Theater and La Jolla Playhouse
Written by Hansol Jung
Directed by Leigh Silverman
Scenic Designer - Clint Ramos
Costume Designer - Linda Cho
Lighting Designer - Keith Parham
Sound Designer - Palmer Hefferan
Composer - Paul Castles
Korean Music Composer - Jongbin Jung
Music Supervisor - Charity Wicks
Movement Director - Yasmine Lee
Special Effects Designer - Lillis Meeh
Production Stage Manager - Melanie J. Lisby
Stage Manager - Janelle Caso

 

RE: ENDORSES THIS BONUS RECOMMENDATION FROM HANSOL:

THUNDERBODIES @ Soho Rep until Nov. 18

“It’s springtime in America. The war is finally over. Grotilde has completed her life’s work of losing the last 10 pounds, General Michail has proposed, and the President is up to his new tricks. So what if the weather is a little strange and the last soldier won’t come home?” - From official website.

Cast:

Juan Carlos Hernandez - General Michail Itterod
Matthew Jeffers - Boy
Mia Katigbak - President
Deirdre O’Connell - Grotilde
Monique St. Cyr - Girl

Produced by Soho Rep
Written by Kate Tarker
Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz
Scenic Designer - Matt Saunders
Costume Designer - Oana Botez
Lighting Designer - Yi Zhao
Sound Designer - Chad Raines
Props Designer - Ryan Courtney
Fight Choreographer - Thomas Schall
Production Stage Manager - Emely Zepeda
Assistant Stage Manager - Bonnie McHeffey

WE'RE BACK, OCTOBER!

What’s really good, October? It’s been so long. We missed you! I hope the summer has treated you well and are ready for the fall because RE: is back again to deliver the goods for Season II. Our first guest for the new season is Native American playwright, Larissa FastHorse. She talked about her new play going up at Playwrights Horizons and what it means to be a Native artist in America (among a lot more). Check it out!

Anyway, below are our picks for this month:

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INTRACTABLE WOMAN @ 122CC until Oct. 14

A theatrical docu-drama about Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya who was assassinated by her government in 2006. Embodied by three actors, Intractable Woman takes you on a journey through her harrowing life to explore her legacy of seeking the truth at any cost.

Cast:

Nadine Malouf
Nicole Shalhoub
Stacey Yen

Produced by Play Co.
Written by Stefano Massini
Translated by Paula Wing
Directed by Lee Sunday Evans
Set Design - Marsha Ginsberg
Costume Design - Junghyun Georgia Lee
Lighting Design - Masha Tsimring
Sound Design - Stowe Nelson
Production Stage Manager - Laura Smith
Production Manager - Matt Cecchini

 
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RATED BLACK: AN AMERICAN REQUIEM
@ Fourth Street Theatre until Oct. 13

What does it mean to prepare for your own death as a black man in America? Kareem M. Lucas’ Rated Black mourns, celebrates, sings, and preaches—in beautiful poetry—the journey to this answer. A moving portrait of an artist as a young man.

Cast:

Kareem M. Lucas
Te’La Curtis
Dan Gray
Jon-Michael Reese
Anthony Seals

Produced by Next Door at NYTW
Written by Kareem M. Lucas
Directed by LA Williams
Original Music & Arrangements - Avi A. Amon 
Lighting Design - Christina Watanabe


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THE THANKSGIVING PLAY
@ Playwrights Horizons until Nov. 25

Four white teaching artists attempt to put on the most politically correct Thanksgiving Play by celebrating both Turkey Day and Native American Heritage Month. See what happens when “wokeness” goes wrong.

Cast:

Jennifer Bareilles — Logan
Jeffrey Bean — Caden
Greg Keller — Jaxton
Margo Seibert — Alicia

Produced by Playwrights Horizons
Written by Larissa FastHorse
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
Scenic Design - Wilson Chin
Costume Design - Tilly Grimes
Lighting Design - Isabella Byrd
Sound Design - Mikaal Sulaiman
Production Stage Manager - Katie Ailinger
Assistant Stage Manager - Jenny Kennedy