BROWNSVILLE SONG (B-SIDE FOR TRAY) to Play Long Wharf Theatre, 3/25-4/19
Long Wharf Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein and Managing Director Joshua Borenstein, present brownsville song (b-side for tray) by Kimber Lee, directed by Associate Artistic Director Eric Ting.
The production takes place March 25 through April 19, 2015 on the Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre. Tickets are $5-$40 and are available by calling 203-787-4282 or visiting www.longwharf.org.
Press night is Wednesday, April 1 at 7:30 pm. The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven is the theatre's 50th season community partner. The show is sponsored by Ruby Melton and Gail McAvay.
The cast includes Sung Yun Cho (Merrell), Curtiss Cook Jr. (Tray), Catrina Ganey (Lena), Anthony Martinez-Briggs (Junior/Brooklyn College student), and Kaatje Welsh (Devine). The creative team includes Scott Bradley (sets), Toni-Leslie James (costumes), Russell H. Champa (lighting), and Ryan Rumery (sound). Kathy Snyder is the stage manager. The play is co-produced with the Philadelphia Stage Company.
Eighteen-year-old Tray has a bright future. His little sister needs him to be a good brother. His grandma wants him to be a good man. He needs to write his college essay. He's got to train for his boxing tournament. It seems sometimes that everyone has a story they want to tell about Tray. The thing is, Tray's going to tell his own story. A play described by Variety as "... big hearted in its belief in forgiveness," brownsville song (b-side for tray) takes the measure of one young life.
"This is a beautiful play. I wish we could say that the subject is no longer current, that it is outdated, but sadly that is not the case. A vibrant, great kid who is getting his life together gets killed. This play is about the repercussions of that. We hope this play will create conversations in our community," Edelstein said.
Lee's story is an important one, and in an effort to enable that as many people as possible get to see the production, Long Wharf Theatre is radically dropping its prices for this show. For this production, tickets will begin at $5 and go up through $45. "One of the biggest barriers to entry to the theatre, any theatre, is price. We believe in the importance of this story to move our community and to prompt conversation, so much so we want to take away this barrier as best we can," said Managing Director Joshua Borenstein.
The new pricing structure, active for this show, is part of a series of initiatives surrounding the play. The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven is working with Long Wharf Theatre to host a convening on gun violence, a serious problem in New Haven's neighborhoods. The date of the convening is Thursday, April 9.
The theatre is working with the New Haven Free Public Library (www.nhfpl.org) to host conversations about the play at its branches and to distribute tickets to patrons. In addition, the theatre's staff has begun the process of actively reaching out to community organizations to encourage them to attend the production.
It's an aggressive campaign, but one bred of the deep belief that there are moments where theatre can speak to a community. This, Long Wharf Theatre hopes, is one of those moments.
Lee was inspired to write the play after hearing of the murder of a young boxer from Brownsville named Tray Franklin. "On the deepest level, the play is not political, it is not about making a political statement ... for me the play was in the true sense a lament and a desire to create and put onstage the experience of grief. I just, at bottom, wanted people to feel something that this boy had done. That was the driving concern I had when I was writing this play," Lee said.
She was planning to work on another play for a workshop, but she started writing what would become the first dozen pages of brownsville song. She honored the impulse to follow through on the story. "I feel like there are constantly things that are lying in wait inside me. Things that I am thinking about at depth. They are like a grain of sand in an oyster shell. There will be an event or a thing that happens or something that I hear about or something that I read or something that I see that brings all of that stuff that has been working away down there to the surface," Lee said.
For more information, visiting www.longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.
SUNG YUN CHO
Sung Yun Cho is grateful to be working at The Long Wharf Theatre. She made her professional and Broadway debut in Lanford Wilson's Redwood Curtain directed by Marshall Mason. Her regional credits include M. Butterfly (Northern Stage), Wit (Theatre Virginia), The Women, directed by Anne Bogart (Hartford Stage), Junk Bonds (Cleveland Public Theatre), and Redwood Curtain directed by Marshall Mason (The Old Globe). New York credits include Apocrypha, I am Yours (Soho Rep); R.A.W ('Cause I'm Woman); Jack (Home Theatre); Gravity Falls From Trees, The Trellis, The Assassined Imagination, Scapino, Women Beware Women, Cousins, Sarcophagus, and Tartuffe. Her T.V. credits include "The Prosecutors" and "Crossing Jordan". She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Purchase Conservatory for Acting. Sung would like to thank her family and friends for their incredible love and support.
CURTISS I' COOK JR.
Curtiss is happy and grateful to be performing at this prestigious theatre. Selected Credits include: Off- Broadway: Seven Minutes In Heaven, High School Confidential (Primay Stages, originated role of David). Film: Naz & Maalik (SXSW Selection), Amateur (Short, Vimeo Staff Pick), Holy Soul (Music Video, Vimeo Staff Pick). Curtiss would love to thank his terrific representation: Jody Prusan of Connecting Talent Company and Eddie Rabon of Take 3 Talent. He also sends thanks and love to his Grandparents, Dad, Mom, Siblings and the rest of his supportive family.
Catrina is excited to be making her Long Wharf Theatre debut. She has appeared at the Shakespeare Theater in D.C. in Cyrano. She has worked at the Colonial Theater's Shakespeare in the Park plays, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night and Nunsense. Her other stage performances include; Spunk (Fulton Opera House), The Colored Museum (Hartford Stage), and Miss Evers' Boys (Stamford Theater Works). She appeared Off-Broadway in the 20th Anniversary Revival of Colored Girls at the Henry Street Settlement. She has appeared in several TV dramas including; CBS's "Blue Bloods," HBO's "Girls," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "The Sopranos," NBC shows; "Law and Order: S. V. U.", "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" and "Law and Order". She has also appeared on the HULU series: "Deadbeat". Her film credits include: Nasty Baby with Kristin Wiig, Bringing Out The Dead with Nicholas Cage, Freedomland opposite Julianne Moore and Samuel L. Jackson, Carry Me Home with Jane Alexander, and the Sundance Film Festival winner 3 Backyards. She recently filmed the DirecTV's new half-hour show: "Coop" starring Steve Pasquale. Ms. Ganey is the recipient of the Irene Ryan Acting Award, Audelco Award and was nominated for Best Actress of the Year by the Connecticut Critic's Choice Award for her work in Miss Evers Boys. She has a B.F.A. from Howard University, M.A. from University of Michigan, and studied at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
Jr./Brooklyn College Student
Anthony is eternally grateful for the support of his loved ones as well as being blessed to be able to travel and collaborate with new artists in different communities. He is a Philadelphia based teaching artist (Philadelphia Young Playwrights, Arden Theatre), actor (Recently seen in Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Arden Theatre) director, writer, and a proud member/owner of the band ILL DOOTS. ILL DOOTS recently completed their third independently funded tour the "I Love Living//I Love Learning Tour" to great success. It's not just art, it's a movement. Join the movement, the #ILLMOVEMENT.
Kaatje is thrilled to return to Long Wharf Theatre. She had previously appeared as a townsperson in Thornton Wilder's Our Town, directed by Gordon Edelstein. Her other stage credits include: The Library Project (A Broken Umbrella Theatre Company) and The Hundred Dresses directed by Lara Morton. Kaatje was featured in two music videos and modeled for a live/runway show for American Doll.
Kaatje also enjoys reading, spending time with her sisters and her cat Orzo.
Kimber Lee's plays include fight, tokyo fish story, and brownsville song (b-side for tray), which premiered at the 2014 Humana Festival and will also receive 2014-2015 productions at LCT3, Long Wharf Theatre, and Philadelphia Theatre Company. In May 2014, Center Theatre Group presented the world premiere of her play different words for the same thing directed by Neel Keller, and tokyo fish story will premiere at South Coast Rep in March 2015. Her work has also been presented by Lark Play Development Center, Page 73, Hedgebrook, Seven Devils, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, TheatreWorks (Palo Alto), Old Globe, Magic Theatre, Great Plains Theatre Conference. Kimber is a Lark Playwrights Workshop Fellow (2014-2015), member of Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and is currently under commission at Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3, South Coast Rep, Denver Center Theatre Company, Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, and the Bush Theatre (London). Recipient of the 2014 Ruby Prize, the 2013-2014 PoNY Fellowship, the 2014-2015 Aetna New Voices Fellowship, and the inaugural 2015 PoNY/Bush Theatre Playwright Residency in London. MFA: UT Austin.