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Cast Announced for The First Deep Breath by Lee Edward Colston II at National Black Theatre

Drew Shade

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Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre [NBT] announces the cast of the first workshop production for this year’s cohort of I Am Soul Playwriting Residency by playwright Lee Edward Colston II. Colston’s workshop production of The First Deep Breath will be February 13 – 17, 2019 and will be directed by Malika Oyetimein.

Lee Edward Colston II

As part of NBT’s Soul Series L.A.B. [Liberating Artistic Bravery], The First Deep Breath will conclude an 18-month residency for Lee Edward Colston II as the institution celebrating NBT’s 50th season which is themed “Liberation: A Journey Beyond Walls.”

The full cast for this workshop production will be: Paris Campbell (Albert), Paris Crayton III (Leslie),  SJ Hannah (Abdul Malik), Vanessa A. Jones (Ruth), Drew Shade  (Tyree),  Cole Taylor (AJ), Chelsea Lee Williams (Dee Dee), C. Kelly Wright (Pearl). NBT is also excited to have on the creative team: Izmir Ickbal (Set/Lights), Elia Chuaqui (Sound), Beylnda Hardin (PSM).

 

About The First Deep Breath: Pastor Albert Jones plans a special church service to honor his late daughter Diane on the sixth anniversary of her death. But when his eldest son, Abdul-Malik, returns home from prison, the First family of Mother Bethel Baptist Church is forced to confront a hornet’s nest of long-buried secrets. With each member of the Jones clan desperately fighting to stay afloat, sometimes a family that stays together drowns together.

Launched in 2012, I AM SOUL – Playwright Residency Program is the only program in the country that is dedicated to Black playwrights, whose work demonstrates exceptional artistic merit and excellence in the theatrical field, with a commitment to production. Coined as a dream MFA program this eighteen (18) month residency also seeks to unleash the soul of a playwright on the page so that they can develop, hone and explore new ways of artistic expression in a safe, supported and transformative environment. With I AM SOUL, NBT seeks to deepen the artistic relationship between Black theatrical institutions and Black playwrights in order to re-establish Black theatrical institutions as the foremost supporters and producers of new works created by Black playwrights.

Past residents: Mfoniso Udofia, Aurin Squire, Angelica Chéri, Derek Lee McPhatter, Nambi E. Kelley, Dennis A. Allen II

Current residents: Eric Micha Holmes,  Lee Edward Colston II, Tracey Conyer Lee & Darrel Holnes.

Tickets for The First Deep Breath are now on sale. www.nationalblacktheatre.org 

Founder/Editor-In-Chief of BroadwayBlack.com | Actor | Artist | 1/3 of @OffBookPodcast | Theatre connoisseur | All Audra Everything | Caroline over Change | I'm Not Charl Brown | Norm Lewis is my play cousin | Producing an all-black production of Mame starring Jenifer Lewis in my head

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Cast List

Amber Riley & MJ Rodriguez Will Star in Little Shop of Horrors

Drew Shade

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Amber Riley and Mj Rodriguez

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Olivier Award winner for her portrayal of Effie White in London’s West End production of DreamgirlsAmber Riley (Dreamgirls UK) and Pose star Mj Rodriguez will star in a reimagined production of Little Shop of Horrors at Pasadena Playhouse in California.

Riley will take on the iconic voice of Audrey II while Rodriguez will star as Audrey alongside George Salazar (Be More Chill) as Seymour.

The show will run from Sept. 17-Oct. 20 with an official opening set for Sept. 25.

Little Shop of Horrors is considered a classic. It’s a horror-comedy rock musical with music by Alan Menken and lyrics and a book by Howard Ashman. The story follows a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh. It debuted Off-Broadway in 1982 and the movie version of 1986 introduced the world to young talents of Gina and Pam Tisha Campell and Tichina Arnold.

Directed by Mike Donahue, the design team includes scenic design by Dane Laffrey; costume design by Danae McQueen; lighting design by Josh Epstein; sound design by Veronika Vorel; and choreography and puppet design by Sean Cawelti.

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Cast List

Daniel J Watts, Dawnn Lewis, + More Join The Cast of Broadway’s Tina—The Tina Turner Musical

Drew Shade

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Tina—The Tina Turner Musical has found and announced it’s cast. As previously announced, Adrienne Warren will return to the title role she originated in the West End. She will be joined by Daniel J. Watts (Hamilton, Lights Out) as Ike Turner, Dawnn Lewis from A Different World fame as Zelma, and Myra Lucretia Taylor (School Girls) as Gran Georgeanna.

The show chronicles the life and times of the rock & roll superstar and will be directed by Phyllida Lloyd with a book written by Katori Hall. Performances begin October 12 with an official opening November 7 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

Nkeki Obi-Melekwe, who took over the title role in the West End will make her Broadway debut and will play Tina at select performances.

The cast will also feature Steven Booth (School of Rock), Nick Rashad Burroughs (Kinky Boots), Gerald Caesar (A Bronx Tale), Holli’ Conwa, Kayla Davion (King Kong), Leandra Ellis-Gaston, Charlie Franklin (The Book of Mormon), Judith Franklin (Summer: The Donna Summer Musical), Matthew Griffin (Broadway debut), Sheldon Henry (The Prom), David Jennings (Once On This Island), Ross Lekites (Frozen), Robert Lenzi (Tuck Everlasting), Gloria Manning, Rob Marnell (Beautiful), Mehret Marsh (The Lion King), Jhardon DiShon Milton (A Bronx Tale), Destinee Rea (The Book of Mormon), Mars Rucker, Jessica Rush (Dear Evan Hansen), Allysa Shorte (Spongebob Squarepants), Carla Stewart (The Color Purple), Jayden Theophile (Broadway debut), Antonio Watson (Broadway debut), and Katie Webber (Rock of Ages).

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