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New York, NY (August 7, 2019) – Today, producers Brian Moreland (Sea Wall / A Life) and Ron Simons (Ain’t Too Proud) announced casting for the world premiere of Thoughts of a Colored Man, the new play by Keenan Scott II, directed by Steve H. Broadnax III, and choreographed by Millicent Marie Johnnie in a co-production with Syracuse Stage and Baltimore Center Stage.


The cast is led by Jerome Preston Bates (American Son), Brandon Dion Gregory (“Let the Church Say Amen”) Tony Award® nominee Forrest McClendon (The Scottsboro Boys), Reynaldo Piniella (The Death of the Last Black Man), Ryan Jamaal Swain (FX’s “Pose”), Jody Reynard (Summer), Garrett Turner (Half Time). They are joined by dancers Ashley Pierre-Louis and Hollie E. Wright with DJ Chesney Snow (In Transit).


Thoughts of a Colored Man will play Syracuse Stage from September 4 through September 22 and then will play Baltimore Center Stage from October 10 through November 10.


As the sun rises on an ordinary day in New York, seven men are about to discover the extraordinary. Written by Keenan Scott II, one of today’s boldest new voices, Thoughts of a Colored Man blends language, music, and dance into a daringly universal new play. Welcome to the vibrant inner life of being Black, proud, and thriving in the 21st Century. Set over a single day, this richly theatrical mosaic goes beyond the rhythms of the basketball court and the boisterousness of the barbershop. It sheds brilliant light into the hearts and minds of a community of men searching for their most triumphant selves. And what they reveal are the deeply human hopes, dreams, fears, and sensitivities of all men, all people. 


The creative team for Thoughts of a Colored Man includes music by Te’La and Brother Kamau, set design by Tony Award nominee Robert Brill (Ain’t Too Proud), costume design by Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk® Award winner Toni-Leslie James (Come From Away) and Devario D. Simmons (In The Next Room at Theatre VCU), lighting design by Ryan O’Gara (A Night with Janis Joplin national tour), projection design by Tony and Drama Desk Award nominee Sven Ortel (Newsies), and sound design by Mikaal Sulaiman (Fires in the Mirror at Signature Theatre Company). Calleri Casting serve as casting directors for the production.





KEENAN SCOTT II (Playwright) is a native New Yorker, born and raised in Pomonok Housing Projects in Flushing, Queens. He relocated, along with his mother and older sister, to southern Maryland. It was on the streets of Washington, D.C. that Scott found a new way of communicating, the underground slam poetry scene. Once discovered and cultivated, Keenan took his poetry writing further. At the age of 18, just before graduating from high school, Scott self-published his first book of poems. A graduate of Frostburg State University, he received his Bachelors in Theatre Arts with a concentration in Acting. A true renaissance man, Keenan mostly enjoys giving a voice to his community. Other works include Today We Quit and Drug Test and the television show “Africa Park.” Keenan Scott II has just signed to Abraham Artists.


STEVE H. BROADNAX III (Director). Directing credits include various shows and theater’s nationally and internationally including: Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Hattiloo Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre Company, Chautauqua Theatre Company, People’s Light Theatre, Apollo Theatre (New York), Classical Theatre of Harlem, Atlantic Theater (New York), Detroit Public Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, Black Theatre Troupe (Phoenix, AZ), Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Moore Theatre (Seattle), Market Theatre (Johannesburg, South Africa), The Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland), National Arts Festival (South Africa), and The Adelaide Arts Festival (Australia). Broadnax has toured nationally and was showcased at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Writings include American TabooCamouflage (Eugene O’Neil semifinalist), and Bayard Rustin: Inside Ashland (2019 world première at The People’s Light Theatre Company). As a member of Actor’s Equity Association (AEA) and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), he has worked nationally and internationally. Broadnax is also a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre and the National Theatre Conference in New York City. Training: BFA Conservatory of Fine Arts Webster University, MFA Penn State University. He is currently a Professor of Theatre at Penn State University.


MILLICENT MARIE JOHNNIE (Choreographer). Johnnie served as an Associate Artistic Director of Brooklyn based dance company Urban Bush Women. She choreographed the original Parable of the Sower workshop (New York City Opera) under the direction of Peter Sellers. Off-Broadway: Party People (The Public Theater). Universes’ Ameriville, Parable of the Sower The Opera (Under the Radar at The Public Theater) Other theater credits include Zinnias: The Life of Clementine Hunter (Montclair Peak Performances) under the direction of Robert Wilson, Symphony for the Dance Floor with Daniel Bernard Roumain (Brooklyn Academy of Music), The Love Project (National Black Theater Festival) under the direction of Rhodessa Jones, The Hip Hop Project (Krannert Performing Arts Center), The Shipment, We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 (UnderMain Theater) under the direction of Stan Wojewodski Jr., The Burning (Contemporary Arts Center) written and directed by Cristal Truscott and immersive/site responsive theater: Cry You One (Mondo Bizarro and Art Spot Productions) under the direction of Kathy Randals. Johnnie directed and choreographed Rent (Ferndale Repertory Theater), West Side Story (University Kwazulu Natal, South Africa) and Bamaboula: Musician’s Brew (Cleo Parker Robinson 45th Anniversary Tour). She has received numerous awards and nominations for her work including a Creative Capital Award, Prague International Dance Festival Awards (Best Choreography and Grand Prize for Best Production), Times-Standard Beti’s Choice Awards (Best Director and Best Musical) and a Theatre Bay Area Award (Choreography). Johnnie received a prestigious United States Artist nomination in Dance and a Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition Award nomination for Choreography. Johnnie has choreographed for Walt Disney Creative Entertainment’s Frozen: Live at the Hyperion and worked on the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games under the direction of Fernando Ferreira Meirelles. Johnnie choreographed the feature film Scary Movie 5 and more recently wrote and directed Ma Negresse: Le Esprit Creole and Bamboula is Not Bamboozled to be released Fall 2019. 


JEROME PRESTON BATES (Wisdom). Broadway: American Son, Jitney, Stickfly and Seven Guitars. Off-Broadway: The Public Theatre, Classic Stage Company, Classical Theatre of Harlem, The Beckett, Negro Ensemble Company, Abingdon Theatre Company, New Federal Theatre, Billie Holiday Theatre,127th Repertory Ensemble, and Circle Rep. Regional: Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Two Trains Running, A Comedy of Errors, and Richard III; The Old Globe in Macbeth; Arena Stages, Denver Center, Goodman, and Alley Theatre in Satchmo at the Waldorf; Yale Rep, Hartford Stage, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia Drama Guild, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Arden Theatre Company, Center Stage, Folger Theatre, Long Wharf, and the Goodman Theatre in the world premiere of Seven Guitars opposite Viola Davis. Film: Peeples opposite Kerry Washington, Musical Chairs, Tio Papi, Shaft 2000, The Out of Towners, It Runs in the Family, The Narrows, and Romeo and Juliette in Harlem. Television: HBO’s “Oz,” “All My Children,” “Law & Order,” “NYPD Blue,” “Third Watch,” and “Lights Out.” As a writer, he penned the plays Augusta Brown and Electric Lady, and the Jimi Hendrix screenplay. He directed The Man in Room 306 at Luna Stage, and both Easy Money and A Salute to August Wilson: Religion at the Billie Holiday Theatre. Thank You to Syracuse Stage and Center Stage and the TOACM team, Praise God from whom all blessings flow.


BRANDON DION GREGORY (Passion) was born and raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia. The New York Times caught Gregory being a whole lot of “fun” on stage in the holiday classic: Christmas Carol in Harlem. This year, you will get to witness him create more magic with this incredibly talented cast and crew. Gregory loves the constant balance of art and business. He has a Bachelor’s in Management and a Master’s in Theatre. His favorite stage roles include his work in Argonautika as Jason and Twelfth Night as Sir Toby. You may have also seen him on Netflix’s “Let the Church Say Amen,” Showtime’s “Homeland, ABC’s “Resurrection”, or on the N train the other day.


FORREST McCLENDON (Depression) is an internationally acclaimed award-winning actor and singer. He most recently was seen as The Emcee in Cabaret at Connecticut Repertory Theatre, and as Dude in Cabin in the Sky, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson at City Center Encores! He received a Tony Award nomination for his Broadway debut as Mr. Tambo in The Scottsboro Boys directed by Susan Stroman and he recently starred in the musical’s UK premiere, which won the London Evening Standard Award for Best Musical. He is featured on both the Off-Broadway and Abbey Road cast recordings. His notable regional performances include The America Play (B. Iden Payne Award), Avenue X (Barrymore Award), Seven Guitars (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Wild With Happy (Baltimore Center Stage), Romeo and Juliet (North Carolina Shakespeare Festival), Othello (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre), and Julius Caesar (Lantern Theater Company).


REYNALDO PINIELLA (Lust) was previously seen in The Death of the Last Black Man…, Venus (Signature Theatre Company), The Skin of Our Teeth (Theatre for A New Audience), The Space Between the Letters (The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival), Terminus (NYTW Next Door), Lockdown (Rattlestick), Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Actors Theatre of Louisville). Film credits include Madeline’s Madeline, Broken City, One Percent More Humid, and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.  Television credits include “Sneaky Pete,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “Flesh & Bone,” “NYC 22,” & “The Carrie Diaries.” He received the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship from TCG. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @ReynaldoRey.


JODY REYNARD (Happiness). Broadway credits include SummerLegally Blonde, TabooSaturday Night Fever, and Fosse. National tour credits include MemphisKiss Me, KateCamelot; and My Fair Lady. Regional credits include West Side StoryThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling BeeLa Cage aux FollesSmokey Joe’s Café, and Take Me Out. Film and television credits include “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Rosie Live,” “One Life to Live,” “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and “Show Business: The Road to Broadway.” Reynard has performed in concerts with the Omaha Symphony and the New York Philharmonic.


RYAN JAMAAL SWAIN (Love) currently stars as Damon, in Ryan Murphy’s Emmy and Golden Globe nominated series “Pose” on FX. Ryan was just named to Forbes Magazine’s coveted “30 Under 30” list for his LGBTQ+ activism. He made his Broadway debut in Tarrell Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy earlier this year. Prior to making his small screen and Broadway debut, Swain made a name for himself performing in numerous theatrical productions including Paul in Six Degrees of Separation (Keegan Theatre, Washington D.C.), Jasen in the world premiere of 295N (Signature Theatre, Washington, D.C.), Wisdom in Thoughts of a Colored Man (GALA Hispanic Theatre), and Moritz in Spring Awakening (City Equity Theater, Birmingham, Alabama).


GARRETT TURNER (Anger). A proud native of Florence, Alabama, Garrett Turner received his Masters from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. New York: The Dove (York Theatre Company), Acappella the Musical (NYMF). Regional: Half Time (directed by Jerry Mitchell at Paper Mill Playhouse), Holler If Ya Hear Me (directed by Kenny Leon at True Colors Theatre), The Royale (Theatrical Outfit), The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Asolo Rep), Lookingglass Alice (Baltimore Center Stage), Memphis (Mason Street Warehouse), In The Heights (Aurora Theatre), and Dreamgirls (Atlanta Lyric Theatre). Television: “Law & Order: SVU.” Emory graduate. Marshall Scholar. Psalm 115:1


ASHLEY PIERRE-LOUIS (Dancer). Credits include March Under an Empty Reign at the Joyce Theater and Poem Part 1 at the Kennedy Center. Her numerous dance role at Florida’s Fichter Dance Theatre include Shelter, Walking With ‘Trane, Walking With Pearl… Southern Diaries, and Webbed Fugues. Ashley is a graduate of Florida State University’s Dance program and trained at San Francisco’s Conservatory of Dance.


HOLLIE E. WRIGHT (Dancer) has recently been seen in Cabin in the Sky at City Center Encores!. Her Broadway and national tour credits include Amazing Grace, Hot Feet, and The Color Purple. Regionally, she has appeared in Jesus Christ Superstar (Alliance Theatre), Sophisticated Ladies (Arena Stages), and Oklahoma! (Arena Stages). Her television and film credits include “Black Girls Rock” “Glee,” Louis, and Beloved. Wright was a principal dancer for Philadanco.


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