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Drama League Tributes Audra McDonald for thier 29th Annual Benefit Gala

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The Drama League’s 29th annual benefit gala, A Musical Celebration of Broadway, will honor 5 time Tony award winner Audra McDonald on February 11. The soiree will be hosted by one of Audra’s costar on the ABC drama Private Practice, Taye Diggs, and the legendary star of the stage and screen, Phylicia Rashad.

The Musical Celebration of Broadway will feature songs from McDonald’s long Broadway career. Expect to hear songs from The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Carousel, Ragtime, Master Class, Marie Christine, 110 In The Shade and her award-winning albums “Way Back To Paradise,” “How Glory Goes,” “Happy Songs” and “Build A Bridge.” All of this will be performed by some of the stars that Audra has shared the stage throughout her career. Performers include Brian Stokes Mitchell, Patti Lupone, Zoe Caldwell, Steve Kazee, Nikki M. James, Anthony Crivello, Victor Garber, Norm Lewis, Mary Testa, Tony Sheldon, David Alan Grier, Michael Arden, Seth Rudetsky, Valisia Lekae and New York State Senator Tom Duane.

For tickets head over to the Drama league’s website. Individual tickets start at $750 and tables start at $7,500. Unfortunately, you won’t see catch us there unless we have some gracious reader who is willing to pay our way in but if you have an extra $750 lying around think about attending. The proceeds from gala will go to help support educational initiatives to inspire and cultivate promising young artists.

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Events and Happenings

Erika Dickerson-Despenza Addresses Flint Water Crisis with Cullud Wattah

Drew Shade

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Playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza

There is limited seating left for Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s new play CULLUD WATTAH at The Public Theater. Opening today, Thursday, March 7th and running until Sunday, March 10th in the Public Studio is about three generations of Black women living through the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

“It’s been 936 days since Marion’s family has had clean water. When local activists file a class action lawsuit against the city, Marion—a third-generation employee at General Motors—must decide how best to support her two daughters, sister, and mother while lead seeps into the community, their home, and their bodies. As corrosive memories and secrets rise among them, the family wonders if they’ll ever be able to filter out the truth.”

2018 Relentless Award Semifinalist and poet-playwright makes her Public Theater debut with CULLUD WATTAH directed by Lilly Award winner Candis C. Jones; the cast includes Deonna Bouye (Marion), Alana Raquel Bowers (Reesee), Caroline Stefanie Clay (Big Ma), Nikiya Mathis (Ainee), and Kara Young (Plum).

The creative team includes Production Stage Manager Gregory Fletcher, Stage Manager Priscilla Villanueva, and Movement Director Adesola Osakalumi. Along with scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, Costume Design by Ntokozo Fuzunina Kunene, lighting Design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, and sound design by Megan Culley

We believe in this work so much we’re giving away 4 tickets to the performances on March 10th. 2 tickets to the matinee and two the evening performance thanks to our founder Drew Shade and actress/playwright Jocelyn Bioh. Go to our Instagram to find out how!

Also, find out more about how you can help the Flint Water Crisis and support this show HERE.

Listen to Erika talk about her work on an episode of Off Book Podcast below

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Surely Goodness and Mercy by Chisa Hutchinson Begins Off-Broadway

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Performances begin today, Tuesday February 26th, for the New York premiere of  Surely Goodness and Mercy, presented by Keen Company. A story about an exceptional boy living a troubled life in Newark, NJ who does a good deed for an often unnoticed person.   Sarita Covington, Jay Mazyck, Brenda Pressley, Courtney Thomas, and Cezar Williams star under Jessi D. Hill’s direction.

Set in an under-funded public school in Newark, Surely Goodness and Mercy by rising playwright Chisa Hutchinson, tells the story of a bible-toting boy with a photographic memory who befriends the cantankerous old lunch lady. Against all odds, Tino and Bernadette help each other through the mess of growing up and growing old.  

Surely Goodness and Mercy has spent the last year charming audiences across the country: “Notably absent from Hutchinson’s frank and sobering story: cynicism” – Chicago Reader; “(Surely Goodness and Mercy has) a soul-stirring quality, touching audiences with its sincerity” – Daily Utah Chronicle; “it’s impossible not to like it” – The Salt Lake Tribune. Now, Keen is honored to bring this big-hearted new play to New York for the first time.

Performances for this limited Off-Broadway engagement of Surely Goodness and Mercy will continue through Saturday, April 13th only, with opening night set for Wednesday, March 13th.

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