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Closing Weekend: World Premiere of Dolphins and Sharks by James Anthony Tyler

Jazmine Harper-Davis

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The world premiere of Dolphins and Sharks, a new comedy by James Anthony Tyler that grapples with issues of income inequality, gentrification, and capitalism, began performances at the Bank Street Theater on February 9th, under the direction of Charlotte Brathwaite.

Image: Monique Carboni/Max Millermaier

Presented by Labyrinth Theater Company, the play won the 2015 Fire This Time Festival and received further development through staged readings and workshop performances as part of Labyrinth’s 2015 Up Next and 2016 Barn Reading Series. It later appeared as a finalist for the 2016 O’Neill Playwrights Conference.

Described as a “ferocious comedy,” Dolphins and Sharks also marks Tyler’s professional debut:

“Yusuf studies philosophy. Xiomara is ambitious. Isabel keeps it real. These are the employees of Harlem Office, a neighborhood copy shop, where promotions are rare and raises are even rarer. But when one employee is given the chance to move up, friendships are tested and loyalty turns out to be less valuable than cold hard cash. Soon cutbacks and office politics have everyone fighting to keep their jobs and their sanity in this searing new play about clocking in, clocking out and rising up.”

The cast, lead by Pernell Walker, also stars Tina Fabrique, Flor De Liz Perez, Cesar J. Rosado, and Chinaza Uche.

The creative team includes Marsha Ginsberg (scenic designer), Zulema Griffin (costume designer), Kent Barrett (lighting designer), Justin Hicks (sound designer), Andrew Schneider (video designer), and Samantha Cotton (production stage manager).

Purchase tickets for $30 – $40 by visiting labtheater.org or by calling (212) 513-1080.

Dolphins and Sharks plays now through March 19th at The Bank Street Theater, located at 155 Bank Street in Manhattan.

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Cast List

Jessica Frances Dukes to Lead the Cast of By The Way, Meet Vera Stark

Drew Shade

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Jessica Frances Dukes Photo via Signature Theatre

Acting powerhouse Jessica Frances Dukes, who recently slayed Alisha Harris’ Is God Is Off-Broadway, has been tapped as the title role of Lynn Nottage‘s By The Way, Meet Vera Stark at The Signature Theatre. Directed by Kamilah Forbes the revival production runs January 29, 2019, through March 3 with a February 19 opening night.

You may remember the Off-Broadway premiere of this show at Second Stage Theater in 2011 as it starred Sanaa Lathan.

It’s the Golden Age of Hollywood, and aspiring starlet Vera Stark works as a maid to Gloria Mitchell, an aging star grasping at her fading career. Worlds collide when Vera lands a trailblazing role in an antebellum epic starring…her boss. While Vera’s portrayal of a slave turns out to be groundbreaking, decades later scholars and film buffs still grapple with the actress’ legacy in Hollywood and the impact that race had on her controversial career. Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage’s fast-paced, sly satire, directed by Kamilah Forbes, will take you on a seventy-year journey through Vera’s life and the cultural climate that originally shaped her and continues today.

The cast also features Jenni Barber as Gloria, Manoel Felciano as Max/Peter, Warner Miller as Leroy/Herb, Carra Patterson as Anna Mae/Afua, Heather Alicia Simms as Lottie/Carmen, and David Turner as Brad/Slavick.

The creative team includes of Clint Ramos (scenic design), Dede M. Ayite (costume design), Matt Frey (lighting design), Mikaal Sulaiman (sound design), Katherine Freer (projection design) and Daniel Kluger (composition).

 

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Events and Happenings

Billy Porter Will Star In His New Play Remember To Live At Primary Stages

Drew Shade

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Billy Porter Pose(FX) promo photo

The Off-Broadway theatre company, Primary Stages, announced their 35th Anniversary season. Launching the lineup includes a new play by Tony Award-winning & Golden Globe-nominated actor Billy Porter entitled Remember To Live. That’s correct; The Pose(FX) star is a playwright. Beginning performances October 29th, Porter will also be starring in the piece.

Billy Porter draped at the Golden Globes Photo via @theebillyporter IG

Back in 2014 Porter’s While I Yet Live debuted at Primary Stages under the direction of Sheryl Kaller, who will also direct this future production set to premiere at the Cherry Lane Theatre.

Remember to Live is told from the perspective of an African-American gay filmmaker. The play centers on the stories of five gay men who all lived through the AIDS crisis and are now grappling with sex, intimacy, redemption, and love all with the indifference the current political climate.

Performances run October 29 through December 22. Additional casting to be announced at a later date.

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