Signature With Susan Lori Parks!

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I can’t express what a blessing it’s been to be a part of the cast of The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World at Signature Theatre.  Written over 25 years ago it’s sadly still (if not more) relevant.  It’s been wonderful to reunite with Lileana Blain-Cruz (director) to reimagine this epic ritual.  Prophetess Susan Lori and our gorgeous talented ensemble have been a dream to work with.  Do yourself a favor and join us in the great hole of history…  Performances until December 18th.

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Summer at Second Stage!

 

Layover Second Stage QUINCY DUNN-BAKER (Kevin/Arno) Also at Second Stage: Trust and Wildflower (2ST Uptown). Off-Broadway: By The Water (MTC), The Wayside Motor Inn (Signature, Drama Desk Award), The Forest (Classic Stage Company), The Good Negro (The Public), The First Breeze of Summer (Signature), Romeo and Juliet (The Public/NYSF) and Mr. Marmalade (Roundabout) Regional: Magnetic North (Portland Stage), A Streetcar Named Desire (Triad Stage), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Germany/ Switzerland), Deathtrap and Murder on the Nile (Dorset Theater).  TV: “Chicago Med,” “The Blacklist,” “ Dead-Beat,” “The Following,”  "Blue Bloods,” "A Gifted Man,” "Law & Order: SVU," "Law & Order: CI," "Nurse Jackie," "CSI:NY," "As The World Turns," "One Life To Live," "Guiding Light”.  Film: Cigarette Soup, Draft Day, The Word, The Big Wedding, Hannah Has A Ho Phase, Teleglobal Dreamin' (SXSW), and Sister. BFA, The North Carolina School of the Arts.  	ARICA HIMMEL (Lily) age 11, Arica is honored to be making her off-Broadway debut in The Layover.  A native New Yorker, Arica is a pianist and aspiring filmmaker. She's an avid reader and baker. Arica began training at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre at age ten. 	ANNIE PARISSE (Shellie). Second Stage: Becky Shaw (Lortel Nom.). Broadway: Clybourne Park, Prelude to a Kiss. Select Off-Broadway: Antlia Pneumatica, All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, The Internationalist (Drama Desk Nom.) , Monster, and The Credeaux Canvas.  TV: “Vinyl,” “The Following,”  “Law & Order," "Rubicon," “House of Cards,” "The Big C," "Person of Interest," and "Unforgettable". Film: Anesthesia, And So it Goes, Wild Canaries, Price Check, One for the Money among others. Member: AEA. 	JOHN PROCACCINO(Fred) Broadway: Our Mother’s Brief Affair and An Enemy of the People (MTC), A Time to Kill, An American Daughter, A Thousand Clowns, Conversations with My Father, Art. Off-Broadway: Love and Information (NY

For the last month I’ve been working on Leslye Headland’s The Layover at Second Stage. This world premiere production is being directed by her frequent collaborator and dear friend Trip Cullman. This dark and funny new play is as revealing as it is unsettling. We have a fabulous little cast and it’s a joy to share the stage with them. We started previews last week and have 8 shows a week through September 18th. I have a few things cooking for the fall so stay tuned and I hope to see you at the theater! For tickets visit 2st.com

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A Lush Spring

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I had a ball at Humana Festival!  So many extraordinary artists flock there it was an honor and pleasure to be a part of it.  I loved spending time with both old and new friends while exploring so many incredible new American plays.

A few weeks ago I received the Charles Bowden Award from New Dramatists at their annual Spring Luncheon.  The entire Broadway community came out to honor Audra McDonald so it was a fairly lush affair full of surreal moments.  I was so touched to be there and am grateful to New Dramatists for acknowledging my dedication to play development.

And finally, if you’re in New York I’m performing in Julia Jarcho’s fierce sexy new play Every Angel Is Brutal. We’re kicking off Clubbed Thumb’s SummerWorks at The Wild Project and are in previews until the 30th. Closing is next Monday the sixth so it’s a super limited engagement and we WILL sell out so get tickets sooner rather than later.  It’s basically an action movie onstage so yeah you want to be there!  More info below.

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Introducing Willie Rosemont!

Here’s a first look at me playing passing starlet Willie Rosemont in Dizzy With That Dame.  The wonderfully resourceful and talented makeup artist Mai Shimura had her work cut out for her with these luscious brows okay!?    Click here to see a clip from the film!

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Harvest!

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This fall has been chock full of new developments!  I’ve been in residency at The New Museum since the end of October.  They’ve created a pop up repertory company called X-ID Rep in an effort to further explore the theme of their season: persona.  More to the point: the company is investigating “cross play” in the theater or playing someone of a different race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. and what the politics of that are.  We’re talking stereotypes, appropriation, xenophobia, history, language, privilege and so much more.  It’s been a difficult heady tender meta journey to have the talents of eight performers, four writers and four directors meet.  But overall, everyone’s skills are so varied and wonderful it’s been a real gift to share this time and space together.  We’re essentially an ongoing exhibit at the museum until we have our final showing in January.  So anyone can stop by and check out the process during open studio hours.  More information including open studio hours (and eventually details regarding the final showing) can be found here.  Justine Williams is writing a series of articles about the project for Culturebot that can be found here.

I attended the Audelco awards a few weeks ago as Dancing on Eggshells (a show I was in the world premiere of earlier this year) was nominated for Best Choreography and Best Ensemble.  We didn’t win but it was wonderful to be acknowledged and invited.  There was a lot of talent in that room.

I just watched a final cut of Masquerade, a period short I’m in that tells the true story of William and Ellen Craft’s escape from slavery (see post below for more info).  It’s being submitted to festivals and will premiere in 2016 so I can’t post clips yet but I do have this screen shot to share:

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Last month I was in PlayTime at New Dramatists, which is one of their longer developmental workshops  (lasting two weeks) for five of their playwrights in residence.  What’s amazing is that they take such great care of everyone and go to such pains to make sure that people working on different shows intersect that it feels like a retreat though almost everyone in the company was in the city they call home.  There were free meals, yoga classes and writing workshops and the whole thing was totally kumbaya and rejuvenating.  I was lucky enough to work with Sibyl Kempson (writer/director) and Graham Reynolds (composer) on The Securely Conferred Vouchsafed Keepsakes of Maery S.  Sibyl is endlessly smart and creative and operating on a frequency that resonates in yet undiscovered parts of the psyche.  Graham’s music is inspired and hearty and satisfying.  Love them.  Love the work.  So excited to see what else we can make together…

Finally, I’m so excited to announce that I’m in the world premiere of Laura Jacqumin’s Residence directed by Hal Brooks at Humana Festival.  Humana is such a hotbed for great new American plays it’s been a goal of mine to be a part of it.  I’m really happy I’ll get to go with such a great creative team and more than a relieved to miss the worst of winter in NYC🙂 More info here.

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I’m so excited to announce the world premiere How To Live On Earth, a play I’ve been a part of developing over the last year.  It’s loosely based on the Mars One project and explores what the emotional/interpersonal effects of such a project might be.  It’s been super fun and rewarding to experiment with this incredible group to build a play from the ground up.  It’s very rare to not only have a play be produced only year after it’s first rumblings, but also to be able to work with a writer and director to shape the form and course your character ultimately takes. I can also honestly say that I’ve never been given the opportunity to develop a character quite like this or nerded out so much on outer/aerospace stuff, so I’m pleased to share this other side of myself.  We run from September 13th to October 3rd at HERE Arts Center.  The New York Times listed us first in the fall theater preview this week so tickets are selling fast.  Trailer’s here tickets are here and details are here.  Hope to see you at the theater!
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The Next Chapter…

A few months ago I self taped for the American Black Film Festival’s Star Project that’s sponsored by NBC.  From over 2,000 submissions I was selected to be one of three female finalists!  So I got another opportunity to go to 30 Rock and meet more NBC casting folks.  I also got to do a table read for TV One with Malinda Williams, Essence Atkins, Dennis L. A. White, Aisha Hinds, A. Russell Anderson, Keith Robinson, Thomas Q. Jones and the other finalists.  We were also free to attend a lot of great panel discussions, film premieres and parties.  At the end of the weekend I didn’t win the prize of a walk on role on One Life To Live, but left with amazing new contacts and friends.  I’m so happy to have participated and been acknowledged among so many great creatives.

This week I booked a co-star on Amazon’s Red Oaks.  I’ve spent so much of the last year focusing on cracking the juggernaut that is television that it feels awesome to finally be reaping the benefits of that.  Which brings me to my next piece of news…

Today I walked into the SAG AFTRA office and became their newest member!  I’m so pleased I’ve reached this milestone in my career and am eager to put that card into serious use.

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New Year New Work!

2015 has been great so far!  The first week of the year I shot a beautiful short film Masquerade with my new friend and collaborator Andrew Hawkins.  It’s a period film about William and Ellen Craft who escaped slavery by posing as a white invalid and his slave.  It’s an equally fascinating and unnerving true story that I’m honored to have a part in telling.  The crew of people that came together for this were talented hardworking problem solvers.  I am so grateful for all their efforts. Our fearless cinematographer Thomas Garrett brought a drone!  So cool and surreal to see (especially against an 1848 backdrop!).  I’m so excited to see how the shot turns out…

The rest of January through March I was busy running around for pilot season.  Which basically means a lot of makeup and memorizing. I’m kidding–it’s great exercise!  And I’m so pleased there’s so much more work available and feel lucky to have been considered for so many large parts.

Also, I just booked another short film called Dizzy With That Dame.  It’s another period film–this time the 30s–and it’s a “whodunnit!”  Check out the kickstarter page here to see a short promo video featuring yours truly.

Up next is the world premiere of Cynthia Robinson’s Dancing on Eggshells.  It’s being produced by The Billie Holiday Theater but we’re in residence at The Brooklyn Music School Playhouse in Fort Greene.  More recently I’ve been focused on writing and pursuing on camera work, but doing a play will always feel like home.  Nothing can match that feeling of “we’re all here in a room together and anything could happen” so I’m over the moon about starting rehearsal next week.  The play has a lot of heart and danger and it should be interesting to see where we go with it.  It runs from April 23rd to May 17th (Thursdays through Sundays) and you can buy tickets here.

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New Photos!

I did another really fun shoot with Christine Jean Chambers this week.  Hard to believe it’s been a year since we got together to play dress up and climb trees.  Anyways, enjoy!
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