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

JUNE SHOWS! HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!

IT'S OUR SEASON FINALE!! 

It's been such a wild ride. This project is a labor of love and the fact that we were able to put together a full season is kind of incredible. I never seriously thought this show would materialize like it did. THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS, VIEWERS, AND GUESTS!! We'll be back in the fall. In the meantime, I'll be updating this blog for show recommendations and some of my personal theatre adventures! Also, follow us on social media @REtheatreNYC!

Anyway, below are the fantastic shows we saw this month:

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OUR LADY OF 121ST STREET @ The Signature Center until June 17

The sudden death of Sister Rose and the theft of her corpse brings together the various people from her life. Some from around the neighborhood, others from across the nation, but all have to reconcile the enormous impact her life had on them, and what her death has resurrected.

Cast:

Joey Auzenne – Balthazar
Erick Betancourt – Edwin
Quincy Tyler Bernstine – Inez
Maki Borden – Pinky
Jimonn Cole – Flip
John Doman – Father Lux
Dierdre Friel – Sonia
Hill Harper – Rooftop
Kevin Isola – Gail
Stephanie Kurtzuba – Marcia
Paola Lazaro - Norca
John Procaccino – Victor

Produced by Signature Theatre
Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Phylicia Rashad
Scenic Designer - Walt Spangler
Costumer Designer - Alexis Forte
Lighting Designer - Keith Parham
Sound Designer - Robert Kaplowitz
Hair & Wig Design - Cookie Jordan
Dialect Coach - Susan Finch
Production SM - Charles M. Turner III

 
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THE GREAT LEAP @ Atlantic Theater Stage II until June 24

June, 1989. Student protests are exploding all over Beijing against the communist government. Meanwhile, across the ocean in San Francisco, a young Chinese American baller (Manford) successfully begs the university basketball coach to put him on the team that is set to play China in an international friendly. This is his best opportunity to prove to the world that he isn't just a good Chinatown baller, but a world class baller. However, what awaits Manford in China goes deeper than just the game, as personal and political history go head to head on the court. 

Cast:

Ali Ahn – Connie
Ned Eisenberg – Saul
Tony Aidan Vo – Manford
BD Wong – Wen Chang

Produced by Atlantic Theater Company
Written by Lauren Yee
Directed by Taibi Magar
Scenic Designer – Takeshi Kata
Costume Designer – Tilly Grimes
Lighting Designer – Eric Southern
Sound & Original Compositions – Broken Chord
Projection Designer – David Bengali
Movement Director – Jesse Perez
Production SM – Lura Smith
Assistant SM – Kaleigh Bernier


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SUGAR IN OUR WOUNDS @ New York City Center Stage II until July 8

"On a plantation during the Civil War, a mystical tree stretches toward heaven. It protects James, a young slave, while he reads newspapers about the imminent possibility of freedom, as the battle rages on. When a brooding stranger arrives, James and his makeshift family take the man in. Soon, an unexpected bond leads to a striking romance, and everyone is in uncharted territory. But is love powerful enough to set your true self free?" (From official website)

Cast:

Stephanie Berry - Aunt Mama
Sheldon Best - James
Fern Cozine - Isabel
Tiffany Rachelle Stewart - Mattie
Chinaza Uche - Henry

Produced by Manhattan Theatre Club
Written by Donja R. Love
Directed by Saheem Ali
Scenic Designer - Arnulfo Maldonado
Lighting Designer - Jason Lyons
Costume Designer - Dede Ayite
Hair & Make Up Designer - Cookie Jordan
Sound Designer - Palmer Hefferan
Original Music - Michael Thurber
Movement - Darrell Grand Moultrie
Fight Direction - Dave Anzuelo
Production SM - Jereme Kyle Lewis
Stage Manager - Erin McCoy

Hey, it's May!

What's up, guys? The weather is now actually getting warmer (FINALLY) so don't be a home-body and get your ass to the theatre! We got great recs (as always) so don't sleep on these shows.

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DANCE NATION @ Playwrights Horizons
until June 3

A pre-teen dance troupe is gearing up for their big competition: The Boogie Down Grand Prix in Tampa Bay! If they win there, they go on to a national tournament that could change their lives forever... It's all or nothing for these young girls (played by adult actors of varying ages) as they try and conquer the hardest routine of all: Adolescence and adulthood.

Produced by Playwrights Horizons
Written by Clare Barron
Directed and Choreographed by Lee Sunday Evans
Scenic Design - Arnulfo Maldonado
Costume Design - Ásta Bennie Hostetter
Lighting Design - Barbara Samuels
Sound Design - Brandon Wolcott
Production Stage Manager - Erin Gioia Albrecht
Assistant Stage Manager - Bryan Bauer

Cast:

Purva Bedi — Connie
Eboni Booth — Zuzu
Camila Canó-Flaviá — Sofia
Ellen Maddow — Maeve
Christina Rouner — Vanessa/The Moms
Thomas Jay Ryan — Dance Teacher Pat
Dina Shihabi — Amina
Lucy Taylor — Ashlee
Ikechukwu Ufomadu — Luke

 
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PARADISE BLUE @ Signature Theatre until June 10

1949 in Black Bottom, Detroit. Blue owns a jazz club in the heart of the jazz district that is being negotiated by the city for gentrification. Knowing that if he sells the club the surrounding clubs will follow suit, his friends and family are unwilling to let him relinquish ownership to developers. Though it seems that Blue understands the deep history of his club, he has dark personal demons he must deal with that may sway his thought. Can Blue retain his own sense of self? Will he be able to hear the jazz again?

Cast:

Francois Battiste - P. Sam
Kristolyn Lloyd - Pumpkin
Simone Missick - Silver
J. Alphonse Nicholson - Blue
Keith Randolph Smith - Cornelius (Corn)

Produced by Signature Theatre
Written by Dominique Morisseau
Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Scenic Design - Neil Patel
Costume Design - Clint Ramos
Lighting Design - Rui Rita
Sound Design - Darron L West
Original Music - Kenny Rampton
Music Direcotr - Bill Sims, Jr.
Hair & Wig Design - Charles G. Lapointe
Fight Director - Thomas Schall
Production Stage Manager - Laura Wilson


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THE GREAT LEAP @ Atlantic Theater (Stage 2) until June 17

"San Francisco, spring 1989. Manford Lum, locally renowned on the sidewalk basketball courts of Chinatown, talks his way onto a college team, just before they travel to Beijing for a 'friendship' game. When they arrive, China is in the throes of the post-Cultural Revolution era, and Manford must juggle international politics and his own personal history." (From official website)

Produced by Atlantic Theater Company
Written by Lauren Yee
Directed by Taibi Magar
Scenic Design - Takeshi Kata
Costume Design - Tilly Grimes
Lighting Design - Eric Southern
Sound Design/Original Music - Palmer Hefferan
Projection Design - David Bengali
Movement Direction - Jesse Perez

Cast:

Ali Ahn - Connie
Ned Eisenberg - Saul
Tony Aidan Vo - Manford
BD Wong - Wen Chang