The world premiere of Barbecue, written by Obie Award winner Robert O’Hara, is set to premiere at The Public Theater this fall. Directed by Kent Gash (Miss Evers’ Boys), Barbecue begins previews on Tuesday, September 22 and runs through Sunday, November 1, with an official press opening on Thursday, October 8.
The complete cast of Barbecue features Becky Ann Baker, John Earl Jelks, Arden Myrin, Paul Niebanck, Tamberla Perry, Constance Shulman, Heather Alicia Simms, Samantha Soule, Benja Kay Thomas, and Kim Wayans.
The O’Mallerys have gathered in their local park to share some barbecue and straight talk with their sister Barbara, whose spiral of drugs and recklessness has forced her siblings to stage an open-air intervention. But the event becomes raucous and unpredictable as familial stereotypes collide with hard realities, and racial politics slam up against the stories we tell—and maybe even believe—about who we were and who we become. Kent Gash directs this new play that proves family can be a bigger vice than any other addiction.
Robert O’Hara (Playwright). His credits for The Public Theater include his play Insurrection: Holding History; as well as directing Wild With Happy and The Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2). His recent Off-Broadway and regional credits include Bootycandy (Obie Award) at Playwrights Horizons, In the Continuum (Obie Award) at Primary Stages, Marie Antoinette at Steppenwolf Theater Company, Five Guys Named Moe and The Mountaintop at Arena Theater. He is currently the Mellon Playwright in Residence at Woolly Mammoth Theater.
Kent Gash (Director). His credits include Langston in Harlem at Urban Stages, which earned the AUDELCO Award for Best Musical; Brokeology at Julliard; Miss Ever’s Boys and Home for the Melting Post Theatre; and Beggar’s Holiday at the York Theatre Company. He received his B.F.A. from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama and his M.F.A. in Directing from UCLA. He is the Founding Director of NYU Tisch, New Studio on Broadway.
John Earl Jelks was recently seen in Lemon Andersen’s Toast at The Public Theater. His Broadway credits include Holla If Ya Hear Me; August Wilson’s Radio Golf, and August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. He has performed Off-Broadway in Fetch Clay, Make Man; Sunset Baby; The Break of Noon; Magnolia; and Two Trains Running.
Tamberla Perry has appeared regionally in Race; In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play; Eclipsed; The North Plan; The Brothers/Sisters Plays; Fedra; The Overwhelming; Bus Stop; Icarus; The Piano Lesson; Black Diamond; among others.
Heather Alicia Simms has appeared at The Public Theater in The Brothers/Sisters Plays, Part 1 and 2. Her Broadway credits include Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Gem of the Ocean, A Raisin in the Sun, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Her additional Off-Broadway credits include A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of Great Lakes and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
Kenja Kay Thomas has appeared Off-Broadway in Robert O’Hara’s Bootycandy. Her additional theater credits include Insurrection: Holding History; Unspeakable; Pearl’s Gone Blue; Intimate Apparel; Steal Away; The Bow Wow Club; Brave Brood; American Menu; and God, The Crack House & The Devil. She has appeared in film in The Cycle, the Dying Truth, The Warrior Class, and A Gun for Jennifer.
Kim Wayans appeared on television in “In Living Color” from 1990 to 2001. Her numerous additional film and television credits include Pariah; Dance Flick; Talking about Sex; “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; A Low Down Dirty Shame; Juwanna Mann; “In the House;” “Waynehead;” “The Wayans Bros;” “Reckless;” “Hawaii Five-O;” and “The Soul Man;” among others.
Member tickets are available now, and single tickets, starting at $50, can be accessed by calling (212) 967-7555, visiting www.publictheater.org, or in person at the Taub Box Office at The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street. Free tickets to the first preview on Tuesday, September 22 will be available via TodayTix mobile lottery, launching Tuesday, September 15. Winners will be notified by email and push notifications between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on the day of the first preview. Winners must confirm their winning tickets in the TodayTix app within one hour of being notified.
Tituss Burgess Has New Music, A New Movie, & No Time For Mess + The Preacher’s Wife Musical Update
On Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Tituss Burgess gave us an update on his musical adaptation of the 1996 movie, The Preacher’s Wife – starring Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. On the late-night talk show, a viewer called in to ask if there had been any updates regarding the show and Burgess shared that:
“ We are very close to signing with a hot-shot producer in New York, which means that the show is closer to appearing in London or here. But there’s also a recent development which could delay it for the better. You’ll find out about it later”
So not only do we know that the musical is still on its way to bless us, but there is an announcement about the show on the way! If you ask me, this is incredibly exciting. Tituss Burgess’ career has gone from stage to screen, and his abilities as an actor and singer are undeniable. Knowing that we are closer to seeing his skills as a musical theatre composer is mad exciting. Watch a clip from the interview above.
While we wait for The Preacher’s Wife Musical, listen to Burgess’ newly released EP Saint Tituss. Burgess sings his face off as he skillfully talks about issues that are personal and political — all while wrapping things up with a joyous celebration of resilience as positivity. He also has two songs that feature Daniel J. Watts including the single 45
He also has a new movie on the way. “Dolemite Is My Name” starring Eddie Murphy along with Burgess, Mike Epps, Chris Rock, & more will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. A national release date has not been set as of yet but is sure to be on its way.
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Dressed to impress 🎩 fun shot with some of the incredible cast of “Dolemite Is My Name” premiering at the Toronto Film Festival! Keep an eye peeled for more of these incredible outfits and a release date soon to come 😏 • #dolemiteismyname #dolemite #newmovie #torontofilmfestival #ohCanada #Ay #ThisWardrobeTho #ThisCastTho #eddiemurphy #mikeepps #chrisrock #wesleysnipes #keeganmichaelkey #craigrobinson
While discussing the new movie during the same interview, Cohen asked Burgess about his relationship with Murphy. The way Cohen presented the question insinuates there might have been a problem between the two because of a ‘problematic past with the gays’ on Murphy’s part. The response given by Burgess is swift and loaded with “you tried it, but you won’t get me”:
“He wasn’t problematic for Tituss. We had a wonderful time. We talked about Dreamgirls and he should have won the Oscasr, I believe. He was great. Any troubles he may have had with gay people I guess are gone because he loved me.”
and this is why we live.
The Public Theater Will Present Hercules Musical & Hercules Is Black!
We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know when. Back in 2017, we reported that a musical adaptation of the Disney movie Hercules would be headed to Broadway. Now we can confirm that is somewhat true.
Hercules will be the latest Disney musical to be made for the stage and will play Off-Broadway at the Public Theater’s Delacorte Theater in Central Park. As the final show of the Shakespeare in the Park season theater season performances will run August 31 through September 8 with a reading set to take place in April.
The role of Hercules will be played by a Black actor, according to the casting notice
The musical will include the Oscar-nominated “Go the Distance, along with other songs from the 1997 animated film by Alan Menken & David Zippel. Presented through an arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions, the show will be directed by Lear deBessonet. The creative team also includes a book by Kristoffer Diaz, & choreography by Chase Brock.
Before Hercules, Kenny Leon will direct the Much Ado About Nothing May 21 through June 23 to begin the Shakespeare in the Park season.
Casting for all both productions will be announced at a later date