Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Night With Pearl Cleage’s Women: A Legacy Story of Black Women in the West and Songbirds in Harlem

Photo by Tanja

At a cozy café in the East Village, travel back in time to 1898, when freed slaves claimed the Kansas plains as their new home, and to 1930, when Harlem was the bastion for black artistic and intellectual freedom. Juneteenth Legacy Theatre and Sugar Valley Theatricals present A Night With Pearl Cleage’s Women - an adaptation of scenes from Atlanta-based writer Cleage’s Flyin West and Blues For An Alabama Sky - as part of its 12th season tribute to “Uppity Women” at Nuyorican Poets Café, March 31 – April 16, 2011.

In A Night With Pearl Cleage’s Women, the characters, Miss Leah, Sophie, Fannie, Minnie, Angel and Delia, tell their stories of love, betrayal, revenge and redemption. This play takes an approach similar to the company’s acclaimed hit from last season, August Wilson's Women, which won the 2010 AUDELCO for “Outstanding Ensemble Performance”.

Pearl Cleage’s Flyin West was the most widely produced play at regional theaters in 1994. The writer of Blues For An Alabama Sky, Bourbon at the Border, A Song For Coretta, and The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years is among the few black playwrights consistently produced in American theaters.

Her other plays produced in New York City include: puppetplay, Negro Ensemble Company; Hospice, New Federal Theatre; Chain and Late Bus to Mecca, Women's Project & Productions.

A Night With Pearl Cleage’s Women cast includes: Patricia R. Floyd as the no-nonsense Sophie, in Flyin West and the fiery advocate, Delia, in Blues For An Alabama Sky; T. Renee Mathis plays the congenial Fannie, in Flyin West and the desperate Angel, in Blues For An Alabama Sky; Joresa Blount plays both the cunning elder, Miss Leah, and naïve youngest sister, Minnie, in Flyin West. The male characters are played by Bryan Webster as the self-loathing Frank in Flyin West and the gay bon vivant, Guy, in Blues For An Alabama Sky, while Michael Jones plays Guy’s nemesis and Angel’s lover, Leland.

Ms. Floyd’s credits include an AUDELCO award for Martha, The American Menu as well as the recurring role of Judge Rochelle Desmond on Law & Order. Ms. Mathis’ stage credits include How Many Times Must We Say Goodbye, Negro Ensemble Company, and a staged reading of Flyin West, which had Miss Ruby Dee as “Miss Leah” at Castillo Theater. Ms. Blount last appeared in The Book of Lambert at La Mama E.T.C. Bryan Webster, Artistic Director of Sugar Valley Theatricals, starred in Juneteenth Legacy Theatre’s production, Passing Ceremonies, as Harlem Renaissance poet, Bruce Nugent, and SVT’s Whore Works in the 8th Annual Fresh Fruit Festival. Michael Jones was part of the August Wilson’s Women ensemble which won the 2010 AUDELCO “Outstanding Performance” award.

The creative team is AUDELCO winners Rome Neal, director and lighting design, and Ali Turns, costume design; Harlen Penn, set and props design. Juneteenth Co-founder and producer, Lorna Littleway, conceived the adaptation.

Performances are at the Nuyorican Poets Café, 236 E. 3rd Street, and run Thursdays through Saturdays. Show times are Thursdays and Fridays, 7PM and Saturdays, 3PM. Tickets can be ordered online, nuyorican.org, or call 212-780-9836. Reserved prices are: $20.00, $15.00/seniors & students; at the door: $25.00. Thursday shows are $10.00.

On March 31st, celebrate at the “Opening Night Party” with the cast and creative team. Pay $25 for the play, dance to live Latin Jazz music, and repast catered by Food For Life!

On Thursdays, April 7th and 14th, pay $5 more and stay for the “Latin Jazz Nite” immediately following the play. Admission without show reservation or ticket is $7.00.

A Night With Pearl Cleage’s Women is presented in partnership with Sugar Valley Theatricals and is produced under the AEA Manhattan Experimental Cafe Code.

Juneteenth Legacy Theatre is funded in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

A Night With Pearl Cleage’s Women
Playwright: Pearl Cleage
Adaptation: Lorna Littleway
Director: Rome Neal
Set/Props Designer: Harlen Penn
Asst. Props: Karen LeRiche
Costume Designer: Ali Turns
Lighting Designer: Rome Neal

Cast: Patricia R. Floyd (AEA), T. Renee Mathis (AEA), Joresa Blount, Bryan Webster (AEA) and Michael Jones

Nuyorican Poets Cafe
236 E. 3rd Street

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