MCC THEATER EXTENDS “SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY” BY POPULAR DEMAND – NOW PLAYING THROUGH DECEMBER 9
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
EXTENDS THE ENCORE PRODUCTION
“SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY”
JOCELYN BIOH’S AWARD-WINNING PLAY
DIRECTED BY REBECCA TAICHMAN
NOW EXTENDED BY POPULAR DEMAND THROUGH DECEMBER 9TH, 2018
New York, NY (November 1, 2018) – MCC Theater (Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, William Cantler, Artistic Directors; Blake West, Executive Director) announced today the extension of the run of the encore production of the critically acclaimed, award-winning play School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play, written by 2017-2018 Tow Playwright-in-Residence, Jocelyn Bioh, and directed by Tony® Winner Rebecca Taichman. The encore production opened at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street) on October 22nd and was set to end performances on November 25th. Due to popular demand, the production will now play through December 9, 2018.
The cast features original cast members; including, Lortel Award nominee MaameYaa Boafo (Untamed), Paige Gilbert (Street Children), Abena Mensah-Bonsu (“Orange is the New Black”), Lortel Award winner Mirirai Sithole (Homecoming Queen), and Lortel Award nominee Myra Lucretia Taylor (Familiar) along with three new cast members, Latoya Edwards (Miss You Like Hell), Joanna A. Jones (Hamilton), and Zenzi Williams (The Homecoming Queen).
School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play had its world-premiere at MCC on November 1, 2017. The 2017-2018 Award season garnered four Lucille Lortel Award nominations including wins for Outstanding Play, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for Mirirai Sithole, and Outstanding Costume Design for Dede Ayite. It also received a 2018 Drama Desk Special Award for Ensemble, the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for Playwrighting, the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, and nominations for Best Play by The Drama League and from the Off Broadway Alliance.
In School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play, Paulina, the reigning Queen Bee at Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school, has her sights set on the Miss Universe pageant. But the arrival of Ericka, a new student with undeniable talent and beauty, captures the attention of the pageant recruiter–and Paulina’s hive-minded friends. This buoyant and biting comedy explores the universal similarities (and glaring differences) facing teenage girls across the globe. How far would you go to be queen bee?
Jesse Green of The New York Times said “The nasty-teen comedy genre emerges wonderfully refreshed and even deepened by its immersion in a world it never considered.” The show was a NYT Critic’s Pick. Danielle Kwateng-Clark of Essence says “School Girls is the most important play Off Broadway right now.” And, in his review in the Hollywood Reporter, Frank Scheck concluded “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play’ is a ferociously entertaining morality tale that proves as heartwarming as it is hilarious.”
The creative team for School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play includes scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Jen Schriever, sound design by Palmer Hefferan, hair and wig design by Cookie Jordan, and casting by Telsey + Company/Adam Caldwell, CSA, William Cantler, CSA, Karyn Casl, CSA. Production Stage Manager Rachel Gross and Stage Manager Veronicz Lee.
Jocelyn Bioh (Playwright) is a Ghanaian-American writer and performer. NYC acting credits include In the Blood (Signature Theatre, Drama Desk Nomination), Everybody (Signature Theatre, Lortel nomination); Men On Boats (Playwrights Horizons); An Octoroon (Soho Rep); Neighbors (The Public); and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2015 Tony Award for Best Play). Her plays include 2015 Kilroys’ List selection Nollywood Dreams (part of 2017 The Cherry Lane Mentor Project), School Girls; Or The African Mean Girls Play (2017/18 MCC Theater, Lortel Award, OCC John Gassner Award, Hull-Warriner Award, Drama Desk Nomination, Drama League Nomination, Off-Broadway Alliance Nomination, Kilroys’ List 2016), African Americans (2011 Ruby Prize Finalist), Goddess (book writer), and The Ladykiller’s Love Story of which she conceived the story and wrote the libretto with music/lyrics by Cee Lo Green. She is a commissioned playwright with Manhattan Theatre Club, Atlantic Theater Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Second Stage Theater. She is a resident playwright at Lincoln Center and is a 2017-18 Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence with MCC Theater. BA in English and Theatre from Ohio State University and MFA in Playwriting.
Rebecca Taichman (Director). Last year, Rebecca won a Tony Award® for Best Director of a Play, an Obie Award and The Outer Critics Circle Award for her direction of Indecent written by Paula Vogel. Indecent opened at The Yale Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse and The Vineyard Theater before opening on Broadway at The Cort Theater. Rebecca has directed on and off Broadway, new plays and old, musicals and opera. She has worked with writers Jocelyn Bioh, Sarah Ruhl, Danai Gurira, Enda Walsh, Brian Selznick, Kirsten Greenidge, Nico Muhly, David Adjmi, Stephen Karam among others. She has worked at theaters such as The Roundabout, Lincoln Center, The Public, Playwrights Horizons, MCC, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Old Globe, ART, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, McCarter, Woolly Mammoth, etc. Rebecca is a resident director at The Roundabout Theater in NYC, a Henry Crown Fellow at The Aspen Institute, and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama. www.rebeccataichman.com
MaameYaa Boafo (Paulina Sarpong). Born in Pakistan, raised in a couple European and East African countries, and hails from Ghana. Theatre: School Girls: Or, the African Mean Girls Play (MCC, Drama League Nomination, Lucille Lortel Outstanding Lead Actress Nomination, Outer Critics Circle Award Nomination and Drama Desk Ensemble Award Winner), Lift (Crossroads, 59e59), Hamlet ( American Globe Theatre), Comedy of Errors (The Shakespeare Project), Untamed (National Black Theatre). TV: “Chicago Med,” “Blacklist,” “Mysteries of Laura,” “Madam Secretary,” “American Odyssey,” “Iron Fist.” Film: The Family Fang, Where is Kyra? Olive, New York, I Love You, When It All Falls Down. Currently: An African City (two time best actress nominee for Golden Movie Awards). Training: M.F.A in Acting from Mason Gross School of the Arts-Rutgers. www.maameyaaboafo.com SDG
Latoya Edwards (Ama) was recently seen as Pearl in Miss You Like Hell at The Public Theater. Her other credits include Hair at Berkshire Theatre Group, Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical at Atlantic Theater Co, Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat at Adirondack Theatre Festival and Carefully Taught at Astoria PAC. Her TV/Film credits include “The Get Down”, “Law & Order: SVU” and the short film Want a Cookie? www.latoyaedwards.nyc, @latoyaedwards.nyc
Paige Gilbert (Gifty) is happy to reprise her role in School Girls after making her Off-Broadway debut last year at MCC. She is a Detroit, MI native & SUNY Purchase BFA graduate, last seen in the New Ohio Theatre’s Street Children. TV: “The Deuce”. Film: Late Night, ADAM. Love & Gratitude to Brad & The Studio alongside JB Talent and Telsey & Co. for seeing the Gifty in me.
Joanna A. Jones (Ericka). California native, Joanna A. Jones received her Bachelor’s Degree in Theater from UCLA. Broadway: Hamilton (Richard Rodgers). West End: Thriller Live (The Lyric Theatre). Regional: Gotta Dance (Bank of America Theater), Baz: Star Crossed Love (Palazzo Theater), Kiss Me, Kate (Pasadena Playhouse), Hair (Hollywood Bowl), Showboat (Sacramento Music Circus), Parade (3D Theatricals), Caroline, or Change (PCPA), For the Record Live: Baz Luhrmann, John Hughes, Tarantino. TV: NBC’s “Hairspray Live!”
Abena Mensah-Bonsu (Nana). Off-Broadway: School Girls (MCC world premiere, Drama Desk Award). Additional NYC credits: Ragtime (Ellis Island) and How The Light Gets In—Water is Life (NYMF). Regional: Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Oregon Cabaret); Avenue Q (Playhouse on Park); Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Zach Theatre). Cruise Ship: Rafiki Vocalist (Disney Cruise Line). TV: “Orange is the New Black”; “Daredevil”; “The Other Two”. Abena has provided vocals for Te’La & Da Sol and Bryan Hansen Band. In 2017 she conceived, co-produced, and performed Wade: Reflections in the Water to benefit the ongoing Flint, Michigan water crisis. Thanks to Center Theatre Group, MCC, Jocelyn, Rebecca, the “school gehls,” mom, dad, and more. Isaiah 40:31. For LaRece. www.AbenaCMB.com
Mirirai Sithole (Mercy). New York Theatre Credits: School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (MCC) (Lortel Award, Drama Desk Ensemble Award), The Homecoming Queen (Atlantic Theatre Company), Suzan-Lori Parks’ The Death of the Last Black Man… (Signature Theatre Company), Mother Courage and Her Children (CSC) (Rosemarie Tichler Award), Frontières Sans Frontières (Bushwick Starr), and Autumn’s Harvest (Lincoln Center Education). Regional: Skeleton Crew (Dorset Theatre Festival), Our Town and Christmas Carol (Actors Theatre of Louisville). On TV she has appeared in “Bull,” “The Affair,” “Master of None,” “Broad City,” and soon to be released “Russian Doll” on Netflix. She played the title role in Ace – a short film by Morgan Kahn Nichols – which won the best New York Short Jury Award at NewFest 2017 and she recently participated in the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab in Marrakesh, Morocco. Mirirai received her BFA in Theatre from Adelphi University and was a member of the Professional Training Company at Actors Theatre of Louisville. miriraisithole.com
Myra Lucretia Taylor (Headmistress Francis). Broadway: Nine (Tony Award® Best Revival), Macbeth, Electra, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, MuleBone, and A Streetcar Named Desire. Off Broadway: The Lucky Ones (Ars Nova; Lortel nom., Best Featured Actress in a Musical), School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (MCC; Special Drama Desk Award, Best Ensemble), Familiar (Playwrights Horizons; Lortel and OCC nominations for Best Featured Actress in a Play). Regional: Where Storms Are Born (Williamstown Theatre Festival, world premiere), Our Town (Long Wharf), Mary (Goodman), The Old Settler (McCarter, Long Wharf, world premieres). National Tour: Wicked (first African American Madame Morrible). International: The Winter’s Tale, Pericles (member Royal Shakespeare Company)TV: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix), “Atlanta” (FX), “Girls” (HBO), “Madame Secretary”, “Elementary”, “Instinct” (CBS). Film: The Big Sick, Catfight, Bushwick, Madeline’s Madeline. WEB: Best Thing You’ll Ever Do (Indie Web nom., best supporting actress). Ms. Taylor is a Fox Fellow.
Zenzi Williams (Eloise Amponsah) was last seen in the title role of The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit of Henry V, directed by Robert O’Hara. Other theater credits include The Crucible (Broadway), The Homecoming Queen (Atlantic Theater Company), Imogen Says Nothing (Yale Repertory Theater), Mother Courage and Her Children (Classic Stage Company). Television credits include “The Good Fight,” “The Defenders.” Upcoming: “Daredevil.” Film: Black Panther, The Mess He Made. Williams studied at the British American Dramatic Academy and has a BA from Temple University and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.
MCC Theater broke ground on its first permanent home— a two-theater complex on West 52nd Street and 10th Avenue—on March 22, 2016. Set to begin productions in January, 2019, the space will unite MCC’s diverse roster of programs under one roof for the first time in the company’s three-decade history. The new facility will also allow MCC to expand its programming and establish it as a cultural anchor within the Clinton neighborhood. The $35 million project is funded by a public-private partnership between the Theater and the City of New York, with $30 million raised to-date.
About MCC Theater
MCC is one of New York’s leading nonprofit Off-Broadway companies, driven by a mission to provoke conversations that have never happened and otherwise never would. Founded in 1986 as a collective of artists leading peer-based classes to support their own development as actors, writers and directors, the tenets of collaboration, education, and community are at the core of MCC Theater’s programming. One of the only theaters in the country led continuously by its founders, Artistic Directors Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, and William Cantler, MCC fulfills its mission through the production of world, American, and New York premiere plays and musicals that challenge artists and audiences to confront contemporary personal and social issues, and robust playwright development and education initiatives that foster the next generation of theater artists and students.
MCC Theater’s celebrated productions include Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play; Penelope Skinner’s The Village Bike; Robert Askins’ Hand to God (Broadway transfer; five 2015 Tony Award® nominations including Best Play); John Pollono’s Small Engine Repair; Paul Downs Colaizzo’s Really Really; Sharr White’s The Other Place (Broadway transfer); Jeff Talbott’s The Submission (Laurents/Hatcher Award); Neil LaBute’s Reasons to Be Happy, reasons to be pretty (Broadway transfer, three 2009 Tony Award® nominations, including Best Play), Some Girl(s), Fat Pig, The Mercy Seat, and All The Ways To Say I Love You; Michael Weller’s Fifty Words; Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride; Bryony Lavery’s Frozen (Broadway transfer; four 2004 Tony Award® nominations including Best Play, Tony Award® for Best Featured Actor); Tim Blake Nelson’s The Grey Zone; Rebecca Gilman’s The Glory of Living (2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist); Margaret Edson’s Wit (1999 Pulitzer Prize); and the musicals Coraline, Carrie, and Ride the Cyclone. Many plays developed and produced by MCC have gone on to productions throughout the country and around the world.
Blake West joined the company in 2006 as Executive Director. MCC will begin production in January, 2019 in its new hom in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, the Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space, unifying the company’s activities under one roof for the first time and expanding its producing, artist development, and education programming.
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