KNOCK ME A KISS, UNVEILED and More Highlight Crossroads Theatre's 2012-2013 Season
Crossroads Theatre Company will take audiences on a journey through the ages during its 2012-2013 season of theatrical presentations that bring drama, poignancy and humor to different chapters of American history, from the 1920s to post-9/11 America.
“This season is dedicated to sharing with the world why Crossroads matters,” says Producing Artistic Director Marshall Jones. “Our plays not only deal with the African American experience but more important for our time, how we intersect with other races and cultures.”
“Crossroads is unique because this is our mission – every day we strive for the authentic telling of our stories, not just during the month of February. That is why we matter!”
Knock Me a Kiss
October 25-November 4
The season opens with Knock Me a Kiss, Charles Smith’s acclaimed play about the brief marriage of Yolande Du Bois, daughter of W.E.B. Du Bois, running October 25 through November 4.
Starring Tony Award-nominee André De Shields as W.E.B. Du Bois, Knock Me a Kiss is an insightful look at the marriage of Yolande Du Bois and the famed poet Counte Cullen. It was the royal wedding of the Harlem Renaissance, arranged by Du Bois himself, but soon ended in divorce because of Cullen’s latent homosexuality.
“If your sexual preference is different and you’re born a few generations too early then you are socially obligated to keep your homosexual identity in the closet, especially if you’re famous,” says Jones. “Knock Me a Kiss use humor and pathos along with a brilliantly funny and insightful performance by André De Shields to bring to life the complexities of race, class and sexuality in the 1920’s.”
The play’s mix of drama and humor won praise from The New York Times, which in reviewing the 2010 production, called it a “dandy play” that keeps a sense of humor “but muzzling it just enough to allow some drama and poignancy to enter the mix.”
Crossroads’ production features the same cast as the New York run, including De Shields as W.E.B. Du Bois. De Shields is returning to Crossroads after directing last season’s audience and critical smash Ain’t Misbehavin’.
Playing daughter Yolande Du Bois is Erin Cherry. Cherry is also a Crossroads veteran, having appeared in the 30th-Anniversary revival of Sheila’s Day, which went on to play at the famed Market Theater in South Africa.
The cast also features Sean Phillips as Countee Cullen, Marie Thomas as Nina Du Bois, Morocoo Omari as Jimmy Lunceford, the musician who loves Yolande, and Gillian Glasco as Lenora, the friend and confidant of Yolande. Chuck Smith directs.
With Knock Me a Kiss, Charles Smith takes an actual incident and fictionalizes it to create a compelling and thought-provoking play that examines an important moment of American history through drama and a good dose of humor.
Knock Me a Kiss is a co-production with veteran producer Woodie King’s Black Touring Circuit and the Crossorads Theatre Company. Crossroads has a long history with Mr. King. Their recent collaborations include Yesterdays: An Evening with Billie Holiday and Movin’ Man starring Glynn Turman.
A Crossroads tradition continues with the annual Holiday Jubilee, December 6-16. Conceived by Sibusiso Mamba, the 1970s-themed show will celebrate holiday traditions from around the world, inspired by the sounds of Motown that generations of music lovers hold special in their hearts.
“The music of Motown is an artistic treasure from the 20th Century and we look forward to using that great catalog to inspire this year’s JUBILEE, our third annual family celebration of the holiday spirit with an international viewpoint,” says Mr. Jones.
Kansas City Swing
As winter winds blow in February, the summer game will be on Crossroads’ stage with the world premiere of Kansas City Swing, by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan. The play is set in the world of the Negro Baseball Leagues in 1947, the year Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier. Baseball is about to change, and so is America. The play had a successful reading during Crossroads’ Genesis Festival in May. Also exciting about this production is that one of its writers is Ricardo Khan, the co-founder and Creative Advisor at Crossroads. It runs at Crossroads February 7-17.
“Set in an intriguing time of history - the dawn of the Civil Rights era, this play has a unique perspective of baseball, race relations, class distinction, male machismo and romance,” Marshall says. “An engaging tale of must-see theatre delivered by the duo that created the Crossroads’ hit play about the heroes of WWII – FLY.”
Rohina Malik’s new play Unveiled will be on stage at Crossroads April 24-28. In the play, five Muslim women serve tea and uncover what lies beneath the veil in a post 9/11 world. “Headlines be damned – this play clearly establishes that we have much more in common than our differences. Rohina boldly shows the compassion of humanity in the crazy world that we all inhabit. Audiences will embrace all five of these courageous characters.”
To Be Announced
The Finale of Crossroads’ new season is To Be Announced. We can tell you that Crossroads’ management is in discussion with a major, best-selling author on a play that is sure to excite and entertain audiences. We can also tell you it will run May 9-19.
In addition to its exciting series of plays, Crossroads will continue its tradition of producing events that promote new and exciting theatrical works:
Genesis Festival of New Plays and Voices
March 27-April 7, 2013
Envisioned in 1990 by Co-Founding Artistic Director Ricardo Khan and then-New Play Development Director Sydné Mahone as a means of giving voice to young writers and innovative forms of theatre in a nurturing creative environment, the Genesis Festival of New Plays and Voices provides a haven for audience members and artists alike to share in the creative process. Among plays that have found their way from Genesis to the world’s stages are George C. Wolf’s Spunk, Anna Deveare Smith’s Dream, Linda Nieves-Powell’s Yo Soy Latina and original works by Ntozoke Shange, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Professional staged readings take place over the course of the weekend with a reception to follow. Finalists in the festival will be announced in the spring.
Commonground: Festival of the People
April 25-May 5, 2013
Featuring the works of some of our area’s most diverse arts groups, including the South Asian Theatre Festival.
Membership: $130-$150 for all five shows (1 ticket per show)
Tickets: $50; $40 for Previews and $65 for Opening Night.
Purchase online at www.CrossroadsTheatreCompany.org or call 732-545-8100 .
Location: Crossroads Theatre, 7 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Crossroads Theatre Company was founded in 1978 by Ricardo Khan and L. Kenneth Richardson with the vision that African-American theater is intended for a broad-based, diverse audience. As a major force in the development of new ideas and the introduction of formerly marginalized writers, Crossroads produces works that enrich and diversify the representation of African American culture on the American stage. Crossroads has produced more than 40 world premieres and received the Tony Award in 1999 for Outstanding Regional Theatre in the United States.