WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL KICKS OFF WITH WORLD PREMIERE SERIES “CELEBRATING THE BLACK RADICAL IMAGINATION: NINE SOLO PLAYS”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 7 AT 9 AM ET, PLEASE
THE TONY AWARD®-WINNING
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
KICKS OFF 2021 LIVE SEASON
PERFORMANCES HAVE BEGUN
FOR THE WORLD PREMIERE OF
“CELEBRATING THE BLACK RADICAL IMAGINATION: NINE SOLO PLAYS”
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New York, NY (July 7, 2021) – Williamstown Theatre Festival (Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director) kicked off its 2021 Live Season yesterday evening with the first performance of the world premiere series Celebrating the Black Radical Imagination: Nine Solo Plays.
Discover the power and intimacy of the solo play with this series of commissioned plays centering and celebrating Black artists and their voices through theatrical storytelling. Each show consists of three, 30-minute world premieres, created by Black writers, written for actors of color, and brought to life by Black directors.
Celebrating the Black Radical Imagination will be performed on the Front Lawn of the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance through Sunday, July 25. The production is directed by Colette Robert, Wardell Julius Clark, and Candis C. Jones as they bring to life nine WTF-commissioned world premieres written by Guadalís Del Carmen, France-Luce Benson, NSangou Njikam, J. Nicole Brooks, Terry Guest, Ike Holter, Zora Howard, Charly Evon Simpson, and Ngozi Anyanwu. The series is guest curated by Tony Award® nominee Robert O’Hara (Slave Play, A Raisin in the Sun at WTF).
The project features actors from across the career development spectrum from early career to established, including Brian D. Coats, Rosalyn Coleman, Cindy De La Cruz, Antwayn Hopper, Naomi Lorrain, Sharina Martin, Ronald Peet, Portia, and Ashley C. Turner.
The creative team for Celebrating the Black Radical Imagination includes Lorraine Glover and David Rockwell (venue and set design), David Rockwell/The Rockwell Group (production design support), April Hickman (costume design for Week One), Ari Fulton (costume design for Week Two and Week Three), Adam Honoré (lighting design), Shannon Clarke (associate lighting designer), and Twi McCallum (sound design) with casting by The Telsey Office: William Cantler, CSA, Karyn Casl, CSA, Destiny Lilly, CSA.
Celebrating the Black Radical Imagination: Nine Solo Plays premieres over three weeks:
Week One (Tuesday, July 6 – Saturday, July 10):
Border of Lights by Guadalís Del Carmen with Cindy De La Cruz
Ghosts of the Diaspora by France-Luce Benson with Brian D. Coats
Freaky Dee, Baby by NSangou Njikam with Ashley C. Turner
Directed by Colette Robert
Week Two (Tuesday, July 13 – Sunday, July 18):
Black Moon Lilith by J. Nicole Brooks with Sharina Martin
A Ghost in Satin by Terry Guest with Antwayn Hopper
don’t get got by Ike Holter with Portia
Directed by Wardell Julius Clark
Week Three (Wednesday, July 21 – Sunday, July 25)
THE MASTER’S TOOLS by Zora Howard with Rosalyn Coleman
Mark It Down by Charly Evon Simpson with Naomi Lorrain
The Last……(A Work in Progress) by Ngozi Anyanwu with Ronald Peet
Directed by Candis C. Jones
The nine solo plays that comprise Celebrating the Black Radical Imagination: Nine Solo Plays are Williamstown Theatre Festival commissions, supported by WTF’s Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program.
The WTF 2021 Live Season, which will take place outdoors, socially distanced, and with safety prioritized, will also include the world premiere musical Row (Tuesday, July 13 – Sunday, August 15), performed at the Clark Art Institute, and ALIEN/NATION (Tuesday, July 20 – Sunday, August 15), an immersive theatrical experience in two parts from the Forest of Arden, including newly announced creative members Jeff Kuperman (co-choreographer) and Peter Westervelt (video designer).
Williamstown Theatre Festival is part of a Berkshire-based consortium of cultural organizations, who stand together in placing public safety first. As state guidelines have changed, each organization has created its own set of safety protocols, under the guidance of its local public health authority, for how the public can experience its performances, events, spaces, and/or galleries. The organizations support each other in upholding public safety for staff, artists, and visitors.
TICKETS TO THE 2021 LIVE SEASON
The WTF Box Office is now open, with tickets to all three of the 2021 Live Season productions available for purchase at wtfestival.org, by phone at (413) 458-3253, or in person at The Andrew Martin-Weber Festival Box Office, newly located for 2021 at 30 Spring Street in the heart of the downtown Cultural District in Williamstown, MA.
WTF is a proud participant in the EBT & ConnectorCare Card to Culture programs—two new accessible ticket initiatives created by the Mass Cultural Council in partnership with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services’ Department of Transitional Assistance and the Massachusetts Health Connector, respectively. To learn more, visit wtfestival.org.
OTHER 2021 LIVE SEASON PRODUCTIONS
WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL
Tuesday, July 13 – Sunday, August 15
Performed at the Clark Art Institute
Book by Daniel Goldstein
Music and Lyrics by Dawn Landes
Directed by Tyne Rafaeli
Inspired by A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure
Featuring Jeannette Bayardelle, Lisa Brescia, Micaela Diamond, Andy Grotelueschen, Nehal Joshi, John McGinty, Grace McLean, Zachary Noah Piser, Horace V. Rogers, and Jennifer Sánchez
The Clark’s serene reflecting pool becomes the stage for this uplifting world premiere musical that interrogates the resilience, fear, and ambition inside one individual (Grace McLean) as she aims to be the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. Inspired by A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure, with a book by Daniel Goldstein, music and lyrics by Dawn Landes, and directed by Tyne Rafaeli, Row exposes you to the elements endured by an extraordinary woman undeterred by the odds.
This production has received a 2021 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. Row is supported by a grant from the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation.
WORLD PREMIERE IMMERSIVE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE
Tuesday, July 20 – Sunday, August 15
Performed throughout Williamstown
An Immersive Theatrical Experience in Two Parts
from The Forest of Arden
Written and Devised by Eric Berryman, Jen Silverman, and the Company of The Forest of Arden
Featuring Equity cast members Yeman Brown, Andrei Chagas, Maxwell Dunham, Leigh-Ann Esty, Sara Esty, Chantelle Good, Christopher Hampton Grant, Nikki M. James, Eriko Jimbo, Matthew Alexander Johnson, Jesse Kovarsky, Renni Magee, Jodi McFadden, Emilio Ramos, Shea Renne, and Lauren Yalango-Grant
Also featuring Julian Abelskamp, Oluwatobiloba Adeyemo, Tim Creavin, Cody Hayman, Austin Phillips, Kallie Pong, Jaime Lee Rodney, Marissa Ruben, Jessica Natalie Smith, Tyqaun Malik White, Ontaria Kim Wilson, and Bekah Zornosa
From Tony Award-nominated director Michael Arden and the company of The Forest of Arden comes an immersive, world premiere theatrical experience that takes you on a journey throughout Williamstown, revealing unexpected surprises around you and within you. Choose to experience this completely unique site-specific performance by foot or by car and plunge yourself into the center of stories inspired by real events that took place in Western Massachusetts in 1969. Devised in collaboration with writers Jen Silverman and Eric Berryman and featuring members of WTF’s COMMUNITY WORKS program, ALIEN/NATION engages all of your senses for a theatre experience unlike any other.
ABOUT WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
Few institutions have as profound an impact on the American theatrical landscape as the Tony Award-winning Williamstown Theatre Festival. For over six decades, Williamstown Theatre Festival has brought emerging and professional theatre artists together in the Berkshires to create a thrilling summer festival of diverse, world premiere plays and musicals, bold new revivals, and a rich array of accompanying cultural events.
In response to the unprecedented challenges of 2020, Williamstown Theatre Festival continued its long history of artistic innovation, collaborating with Audible, the leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling. The Festival’s initiative ensured the voices of artists could be heard loudly and clearly around the globe during an extraordinary moment when theatre’s power to inspire, move, and heal was most needed. The result – the WTF Season on Audible – is a complete collection of new and reimagined works defined by artistic excellence, cultural diversity and relevance, and unbounded reach and crafted by some of the most influential and provocative American theatre artists of today.
For 67 years, artists have been drawn to Williamstown Theatre Festival to make great theatre in an environment conducive to artistic risk-taking. Matthew Broderick, Audra McDonald, Dominique Morisseau, Mary-Louise Parker, Susan Stroman, Uma Thurman, and Blair Underwood are just a few of the luminous theatre artists who have worked at the Festival. Many others, including Chris Pine, Kate Hudson, Paul Giamatti, Allison Janney, Brie Larson, George C. Wolfe, and Kiefer Sutherland, began their careers at the Festival.
In addition, Williamstown Theatre Festival continues to grow new programs. Among the thriving new initiatives are COMMUNITY WORKS – a one-of-a-kind community-engaged theatre program – and the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program, through which new work is created year-round by theatre artists including Jocelyn Bioh, Nathan Alan Davis, Halley Feiffer, Justin Levine, Matthew Lopez, Jiehae Park, Benjamin Scheuer, and many others.
Productions and artists shaped at the Festival fill theatres in New York City and around the world. In the abbreviated 2019-20 theatrical season alone, Williamstown Theatre Festival was represented or scheduled to be represented on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally by The Sound Inside and Grand Horizons, both of which received Tony Award nominations for Best Play, The Rose Tattoo, Seared, Selling Kabul, Unknown Soldier, Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow, and Lempicka. Cost of Living, which was developed and premiered at Williamstown Theatre Festival, was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Learn more about Williamstown Theatre Festival at www.wtfestival.org.
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