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.
Billy Porter Will Star In His New Play Remember To Live At Primary Stages
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.
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.
Tori Sampson’s If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka Announces Cast
The world premiere of If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a MuhFucka written by Tori Sampson, who is making her New York City professional debut, and directed by Leah C. Gardiner has found its Off-Broadway cast.
The all-Black cast, choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly, begins performances February 15 and will run for a limited engagement until March 31, 2019, in the Mainstage Theater at Playwrights Horizons (416 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036)
The cast features:
Rotimi Agbabiaka (Regional: Bootycandy; Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2, and 3) as Chorus,
Maechi Aharanwa (Off-Broadway: The Winter’s Tale, An Octoroon) as Ma,
Jason Bowen (Broadway: The Play That Goes Wrong. Off-Broadway: My Mañana Comes) as Dad,
Antoinette Crowe-Legacy (Regional: Seven Guitars, The Model American) as Massassi,
Ian Duff (Off-Broadway: Dutch Masters) as Kasim,
Nike Uche Kadri (Off-Broadway: School Girls…, The Death of the Last BlackMan ) as Akim,
Mirirai Sithole (Off-Broadway: School Girls…, The Homecoming Queen) as Adama, and
Phumzile Sitole (TV: Orange Is the New Black, Elementary, The Good Fight ) as Kaya.
Sampson says “I wanted to use a folktale in a contemporary way to interrogate why, for instance, Viola Davis isn’t ‘classically beautiful’ and why the country had such a hard time aesthetically with Michelle Obama. The first time I saw her I was awestruck; this was a beautiful black woman whose hair is like mine; her skin is like mine; and to see the attributes of her that I really admired, to see the media tear them down really troubles me. I wanted to examine the impact of colonization on Black beauty, and to ask what is Black beauty, in a way that speaks specifically to Black women.”
The creative team includes Louisa Thompson (Scenic Designer), Dede M. Ayite (Costume Designer), Matt Frey (Lighting Designer), and Ian Scot (Original Music and Sound Designer), Alyssa K. Howard (Production Stage Manager), and Noah Silva (Assistant Stage Manager).
“Black is beauty, Black is me, Black is what I want to be.” A line from a poem that Brittney, my elder sister, wrote in elementary school. My mother was so proud she insisted that all her daughters recite the phrase as we left home and entered the world.
– Tori Sampson from Playwright’s Perspective: If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka
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