L. Scott Caldwell Stars in Colony Theatre's WHAT I LEARNED IN PARIS, Beginning Tonight
The Colony Theatre will present the second production of its historic 40th Anniversary season, the West Coast Premiere of WHAT I LEARNED IN PARIS by Pearl Cleage. The production stars Tony winner L. Scott Caldwell, and is directed by Saundra McClain. WHAT I LEARNED IN PARIS will preview tonight, September 3; Thursday, September 4; and Friday, September 5 at 8:00pm. It will open on Saturday, September 6 at 8:00pm and continue through Sunday, October 5 at The Colony Theatre, 555 North Third Street in Burbank.
In 1973, a rapidly changing Atlanta elected its first African-American mayor and looked ahead to an exhilarating but uncertain future. In the midst of cataclysmic social change, and keenly aware of their roles in the march of history, the key players in the winning campaign wrestle their most formidable opponent to date - Love. And as fate and feminism would have it, love truly does conquer all.
The Colony has long been a vibrant center of L.A.'s theatre life. Its subscribers renew at an astounding rate of 90%, and in 2012 the theatre received nine OvationAward nominations, including the coveted one for Best Season. From its beginnings in 1975 as a 99-seat Equity-waiver theatre in Silver Lake, the company became so successful artistically, and built such a large subscriber base, that in 2000 it was able to move into a 270-seat state-of-the-art theatre created for it by the City of Burbank. As such, it became one of only a handful of mid-sized professional theatres in the L.A. area that produce a year-round season of plays and musicals, and that employ actors under contract with Actors' Equity Association.
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM
PEARL CLEAGE (Playwright) is an Atlanta-based writer, currently Mellon Playwright in Residence at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta where What I Learned in Paris opened the 2012?2013 Season. Her works include award-winning plays, bestselling novels, and numerous columns, articles, and essays for a wide variety of publications including Essence, Ebony, Rap Pages, Vibe, The Atlanta Tribune, and The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Her first novel, What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day, was an Oprah Book Club pick and spent nine weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. She is the author of thirteen plays, including Flyin' West, the most produced new American play in the country in 1994. Her Blues for an Alabama Sky was included in the 1996 Olympic Arts Festival in Atlanta and will receive a 20th anniversary revival at the Alliance in 2015. Her other plays includeChain; Late Bus to Mecca; 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. She is the author of eight novels, including Baby Brother's Blues, which received an NAACP Image Award for Literature. She is also the co-author with her husband, writer Zaron W. Burnett, Jr., of We Speak Your Names, a praise poem commissioned by Oprah Winfrey for her 2005 Legends Weekend. Cleage and Burnett are frequent collaborators, including their award winning ten year performance series, Live at Club Zebra! featuring their work as writers and performance artists. Her new book of non?fiction entitled Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons and Love Affairs, was published by Simon and Schuster/ATRIA Books in April, 2014. Cleage was chosen Cosby Chair in the Fine Arts by her alma mater, Spelman College, in 2005, spent two years as a member of the Spelman faculty, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts by the college in 2010. She is currently at work on a new play, Tell Me My Dream, to premiere at the Alliance Theatre in their 2015?2016 Season, and a one-woman show based on her memoir. www.pearlcleage.com
SAUNDRA McCLAIN (Director) directed the critically-acclaimed Colony production of Breath and Imagination: The Story of Roland Hayes last season. Her other productions include Flyin' West, Ain't Misbehavin', Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune, The Fantasticks, In the Continuum, Spunk, Electra, Death of a Salesman, Antigone, To Be Young, Gifted and Black, The Women of Plums, Dark of the Moon, Hello Out There, Don't See My Bones and Think I Am Dead, A Modest Proposal, Harriet's Return, and Of Ebony Embers-Vignettes Of The Harlem Renaissance. As Artistic Director of Troupe NY, she adapted several classic works for the schools and developed new works with emerging playwrights. A veteran actor, she has performed in numerous roles on and off Broadway and regional theatre. Most audiences recognize her from numerous commercials, films, and guest starring/recurring roles on television. She can soon be seen in the much anticipated Whitney Houston Story directed by Angela Bassett. As an author, she performed her one woman show, Barbara Jordan: A Rendezvous with Destiny, which was commissioned by Kansas City Theatre Foundation and played to sold-out audiences at the National Black Theatre Festival 2013 in North Carolina. Currently, she is developing a new musical, Caribe with composer Kathryn Bostic, which was presented in the ASCAP/Disney Workshop and Kennedy Center; and is based on her children's book, The Magic Talisman with illustrations by Orlando de la Paz. Later this season, she will direct Intimate Apparel at ETC in Santa Barbara and Breath and Imagination: The Story of Roland Hayes at Virginia Stage. She is a Lifetime Member of the Actors Studio and Ensemble Member of Antaeus Theatre Company. www.saundramcclain.com
ABOUT THE CAST AND DESIGN TEAM
L. SCOTT CALDWELL (Eve Madison) started her career as a company member of the famed Negro Ensemble Company mentored by Douglas Turner Ward, performing in over thirty new plays and making her Broadway debut in the Tony-nominated Home. Broadway, Off Broadway, and Regional: She received a Tony Award for August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone directed by Lloyd Richards, an Obie Award for Lee Blessings'Going to St. Ives, Neil Simon's Proposals (Helen Hayes Award), Macbeth, The Piano Lesson, A Raisin In The Sun(LADCC Best Actress), The Dreams Of Sarah Breedlove (Ruby Dee Award), Ursula La Guin's The Wife Story at Los Angeles Sci-Fest, and world premieres of work by Athol Fugard and Wole Soyinka. Film Credits: The Perfect Guy, Division 19, The Lamp, Dandelion Dust, and Gridiron Gang playing The Rock's mom. The Fugitive, Waiting to Exhale, Twilight Man, Down Came a Blackbird with Vanessa Redgrave, Mystery Alaska, Dragonfly, Devil In The Blue Dress, The Net, and Dutch. She starred in the first film done in a democratic, free South Africa,Soweto Green with John Kani. Television: Series Regular, Recurring, and over 40 Guest Starring Roles: Lost, Low Winter Sun, The Secret Life Of An American Teenager, Southland, Private Practice, CSI, Criminal Minds, Queens Supreme, Judging Amy, City Of Angels, ER, Grey's Anatomy, Saving Grace, State Of Mind, Nip Tuck, Ghost Whisperer, and Cold Case. She received a Gemini Award nomination for her performance in the South African drama Jozi H.
JOY BRUNSON (Ann Madison) is doubly excited to be making her debut with The Colony Theatre and starring in her second Pearl Cleage play. She is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta and is a proud native Texan. Some of her favorite Atlanta and Houston Regional theatre credits include Flyin West (Theatre in the Square), Macbeth (Georgia Shakespeare Festival), and Race (Ensemble Theatre Houston). Favorite TV credits includeMasters of Sex, Drop Dead Diva, and Army Wives. Favorite Film credits include October Baby, First Sunday, and+1. As a proud member of the Actors Equity Association, Joy is currently completing the sixth (and hopefully final) draft of her 1st one-woman show, entitled Inner Joy....and the womyn who live in my head. When not in the Theatre you can typically catch Joy on the greens perfecting her golf handicap. She is grateful to her dad who instilled his love for golf in her at an early age. As such she has founded the non-profit organization "Tee 2 Tea," a mentorship program for minority girls ages 8 - 18. "Tee 2 Tea" uses the game of golf and mentors to improve self-esteem and provide awareness that success is achievable. Thanks Mom and Dad for always pushing me toward my dreams, my Spelman family for giving me a soft place to land, and everyone that has encouraged me throughout this quarter-century journey. Ashe.
SHON FULLER (John Nelson) has worked with some of the best American Repertory Theater Companies playing roles from Shakespeare to Magical Lions. He is a card carrying member of Actor's Equity. He has been on the small screen, in national commercials, and daytime TV. Thus far, his career has been a wonderful journey. Shon's work includes such roles as Walter Lee Younger in A Raisin in the Sun, Peterson in A Soldier's Play, and Paul Robeson in The Agreement at Robey Theater Company's Inaugural Paul Robeson Short Play Festival. He has appeared on stage with Open Fist, Company of Angels, and Son of Semele theater companies. You may recognize him as a photographer on The Young and Restless, a driven reporter on Days of our Lives, or punching a bear in a National Honda commercial. Shon is currently training with Ben Guillory in Robey Theater Company's Advanced Scene Study Class. When he has the time, he enjoys discovering new physical activities like Tae Kwon Do, Rock Climbing, or Bike Riding to combat the effects of preparing his own down home-cooked meals. This is Shon's first show with The Colony Theatre. He appreciates the opportunity and is looking forward to creating magic on stage.
KARAN KENDRICK (Lena Jefferson) made her Los Angeles theatre debut with The Colony last season as Roland Hayes's mother Angel Mo' in Breath and Imagination. Other work includes NY Theatre: Goddess(Workshop), Eugene O'Neill Musical Theatre Conference; Macbeth, Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death...Classical Theatre of Harlem; Regional Theatre: Hartford Stage, Arena Stage, Goodman Theatre, Alliance Theatre, True Colors Theatre, Portland Center Stage. TV/Film: Law and Order: CSI, Army Wives, Drop Dead Diva, The Wronged Man, The Hunger Games, Parental Guidance, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Madea Goes to Jail, and Merry Friggin' Christmas. Humbled. Grateful. Ready.
WILLIAM C. MITCHELL ("J.P." Madison) was most recently seen in Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses at Ensemble Theatre, Santa Barbara, is pleased to be making his debut on the Colony boards. He is a member at The Antaeus Company, where he most recently appeared in The Crucible. Regional theatre credits include: Old Joe, Radio Golf; Hoke, Driving Miss Daisy; Polonius, Hamlet; Fielding, Jitney; Rev. Ambrose, A Lesson Before Dying; Sam Thomas, Blues For An Alabama Sky; Wining Boy, The Piano Lesson; Dr. Kelekian, Wit. Off, Off-off Broadway: Winter Dance, Ghost On Fire, Merchant of Venice, Of Mice and Men, Twelfth Night, The Iceman Cometh, Skin Of Our Teeth, Much Ado About Nothing, Mary Stuart, and Sexual Perversity In Chicago. Edinburgh Fringe: Casino. He is a former member of Jean Cocteau Repertory Company and The American Globe Theatre, both of New York. Films include Mr. Popper's Penguins, Syriana, and many, many TV credits (IMDB as William C. Mitchell). Coming to acting from a background in manufacturing engineering, William remains a dedicated computer geek. Special thanks to Mr. Terry Schreiber of the T. Schreiber Studio, NY. Member of Actors' Equity Association.
WHAT I LEARNED IN PARIS features an award-winning design team. The Scenic Design is by Charles Erven (NAACP nomination - Desire Under the Elms). The Costume Design is by Dianne K. Graebner (Ovation nominations - The Brothers Karamazov and Battle Hymn). The Lighting Design is by Jared A. Sayeg (Ovation nominations - Trying and Kiss Me, Kate). The Sound Design is by Dave Mickey (Robert E. Cohen Sound Achievement Award). Props Design and Set Dressing is by Colony Theatre resident designer John McElveney.
WHAT I LEARNED IN PARIS will open on Saturday, September 6 at 8:00pm and continue through Sunday, October 5. Performances for WHAT I LEARNED IN PARIS are Thursdays & Fridays at 8:00pm; Saturdays at3:00pm & 8:00pm; and Sundays at 2:00pm. Ticket prices range from $20.00 - $49.00 (group discounts are available). WHAT I LEARNED IN PARIS will preview on Wednesday, September 3; Thursday, September 4; and Friday, September 5 at 8:00pm at The Colony Theatre, 555 North Third Street (at Cypress) adjacent to the Burbank Town Center Mall.
Opening night performance with reception - all tickets $55.00. There are question-and-answer talkbacks after the performances on Friday, September 12 and Thursday, September 24. For tickets, call the Colony Theatre Box Office at 818/558-7000 ext. 15 or online at www.ColonyTheatre.org. The Colony Theatre is located at 555 North Third Street, at the corner of Cypress, in the heart of Downtown Burbank.