Summer in the Theater!

I kicked off the summer by reuniting with YJLTC at the LIFT Festival in London.  There were performances happening all over the city, but we were fortunate enough to perform at the Barbican.  It’s been two years since we’ve done the show and seven since we made it.  It was gratifying and illuminating to return to the material as older different (and hopefully) better actors.  After my jet lag subsided I took off for the Summer Workshop at The Huntington Theater in Boston.  I was cast in two new plays: Murmur Rock by MJ Kaufman directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh and The Bluebeard Project cowritten by Masha Obolensky and Melia Bensussen and directed by Melia Bensussen.  We had two weeks to really pull the material apart so by the time we had our final public showings there were several impressive discernible changes.  It takes a village to raise a play!  And I’m very proud to say I was a small part of bringing these two into being.

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Ying and Yang Update

Early this year I shot Ying and Yang, a short film that was written and conceived of by my good friend and colleague Devere Rogers.  He is wonderfully talented and charismatic and rounded up a great bunch of folks to help him bring his vision to life.  Since its premiere, it’s screened at Brooklyn Shorts (where it won the Audience Choice Award), San Fransisco Black Film Festival, BlackStar Film Festival, Breckenridge Film Festival, Hollywood Black Film Festival, Raindance Film Festival, Urban Mediamakers (where we won Best Short) and New Brooklyn Theater Film Night.  Soon it’ll be shown at the International Black Film Festival of Nashville, New Filmmakers in New York, and Columbus International Festival of Film and Video (more on that soon).  I’m so happy the film’s enjoying a life on the short film festival circuit and am eager to see what happens next!

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Photo Shoot!

I did a photo shoot with my beautiful and diversely talented friend Christine Jean Chambers last weekend.  She wanted to recreate some images of Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean taken by Sid Avery using our mutual friend Samira Wiley and myself.   We shot in Harlem and then relocated to Brooklyn where our friend Lauren Davis joined us.  Below are some of my favorites.  I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as we enjoyed getting together to make them!

as Elizabeth Taylor with Samira Wiley as James Dean for CJC

as Elizabeth Taylor with Samira Wiley as James Dean for CJC

As Elizabeth Taylor with Samira Wiley as James Dean for CJC

As Elizabeth Taylor with Samira Wiley as James Dean for CJC

 

photographed with Samira Wiley by Christine Jean Chambers

photographed with Samira Wiley by Christine Jean Chambers

photographed with Samira Wiley by CJC

photographed with Samira Wiley by Christine Jean Chambers

 

photographed with Samira Wiley by Christine Jean Chambers

photographed with Samira Wiley by Christine Jean Chambers

photographed with Samira Wiley and Lauren Davis by Christine Jean Chambers

photographed with Samira Wiley and Lauren Davis by Christine Jean Chambers

photographed with Samira Wiley and Lauren Davis by Christine Jean Chambers

photographed with Samira Wiley and Lauren Davis by Christine Jean Chambers

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One Night Only!

I’m starring in a new play this Tuesday August 20th at 7PM in Fort Greene Park  (near Washington Park). It’s being presented by MOCADA as a part of their Soul of Brooklyn Festival.  The play is smart, funny, relevant and full of vibrant and familiar characters (see blurb and indiegogo page below). And the fact that I am attempting to get off book for a single performance is really a testament to this play and the wonderfully talented group that’s assembled to bring it to life.

Also, it’s free and open to the public (no tickets needed)! There should be a really interesting seamless sort of organic meta feel in terms of the relationship between audience and performer, which will hopefully get some interesting and healthy conversations started. I’m really excited to explore that dynamic while watching the sun set over Fort Greene Park. I’d love it if you could join me.  Check out the festival flyer below for more information.

About the Play:
H Street and Other Foxholes is a comedic play that follows Frankie, the newest resident of the rapidly gentrifying H Street, any city, USA.  Armed with a city grant to build a community center, she has dreams of building the perfect home for her new neighbors – but quickly discovers it takes more than good intentions to unite a neighborhood.

sobk_july2013-02

 

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Life at The Goodman

I’ve had a ball working on By The Way, Meet Vera Stark at The Goodman this spring.  It’s a terribly smart play that gave me the opportunity to play four different characters (one on-screen and some with accents).  Working with Lynn Nottage is a real personal triumph–she was one of the first playwrights I came across that taught me that I could have a voice in the American theater.  So I’m proud to say that I’ve finally had the opportunity to cross paths with her (we’re both in the seated row).  Also, Chuck Smith and the Goodman team are a dream to work with, and I’m thrilled to have developed a relationship with them.

At the Goodman with Lynn Nottage

At the Goodman with Lynn Nottage

In rehearsal for By the Way Meet Vera Stark with Patrick Clear at the Goodman

In rehearsal for By the Way Meet Vera Stark with Patrick Clear at the Goodman

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Natasha, Pierre and friends continue to reap rewards!

Last fall I was in the world premiere of Dave Malloy’s hit non traditional opera Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.  I’d never done or seen anything like it and am so happy to have been a part of helping Dave and Rachel’s shared vision come to life.  The show was named one of the best shows of 2012 by Time Out New York, awarded a 2013 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater, given a Special Citation by the Obie Awards, and nominated for two Drama League Awards and five 2013 Drama Desk Awards!

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Juicy and Delicious!

1_IMG_0089I’m doing a reading this week of Juicy and Delicious– the play that the film Beasts of the Southern Wild is based on.  I met Lucy Alibar last year when I was at the Vineyard Arts Project.  She’s a warm force of a woman whose work embodies that same magic kind of energy.  I’m so excited to explore her work along with a strange, wonderful and sickly talented group of friends and artists.  The reading is Thursday night at 7 at The Canter Center, 36 East 8th Street.  It’s a free event and a part of the Fusion Festival.  For more info feel free to click here http://www.fusionfilmfestival.com/schedule/    Hope to see you there!

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News!

This spring I’ll be performing in By The Way Meet Vera Stark at The Goodman.  Lynn Nottage is one of my favorite playwrights that I’ve never worked with.  Her work has inspired me countless times and this piece is no exception.  I fell in love with this play when it was first produced in New York.  I remember reading it and wishing that everyone I knew had read it because it begged discussion.  It’s an incredibly nuanced, dynamic, smart, funny, tragic work.  And I am so honored to have the opportunity to explore it on one of Chicago’s premiere stages.

Also, I’m so pleased to announce that I’ve signed with Paradigm Talent Agency in the commerical and voiceover divisions.  The team there is just so helpful and accessible and agreeable.  I’m so happy about the union and excited for all of the work we’re going to do together.

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Joe’s Pub

20120212-_MG_0795Dave Malloy’s been invited to do a night at legendary Joe’s Pub and he’s decided to do some material from Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812!  So he’s graciously invited the entire gang back onstage with him, which means that I’ll be performing there on the 16th.  If you’d like more information or tickets please click here: http://www.joespub.com/component/option,com_shows/task,view/Itemid,40/id,6525

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Best of 2012…

I’ve been so inspired by Dave Malloy’s material and had such fun with the wonderful assortment of experimental and creative types he attracts.  So it was a real gift to work on Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 this fall. It’s now an added honor for it to have been called one of the best show of 2012 by both David Cote and Adam Feldman of Time Out NY– with Adam giving it top billing.  Check out their lists here: http://www.timeout.com/newyork/theater/the-best-and-worst-theater-of-2012?pageNumber=3

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