Tony Winner Tonya Pinkins Stars in 'ETHEL WATERS' at Luna Stage, 8/16-9/2
Award-winning producers Michael & Barbara Ross will present Tony Award-winning actress Tonya Pinkins in Larry Parr's Ethel Waters: HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW at Luna Stage in West Orange, New Jersey, for a limited run, August 16 – September 2, 2012. The production will be directed by award-winning director Dennis Courtney, with musical direction by Barry Levitt.
In the past twelve months alone, Pinkins has given five critically acclaimed performances in roles as diverse as an aging Countess, a syphilitic Bawd, a bitter ghetto mom, a diabetic great grandmother & a faithful Latina from the Bronx. Her performance in Milk Like Sugar won the 2012 Lucille Lortel Award & she has been nominated for the Olivier, Jefferson, Helen Hayes, NAACP, Dramaleague, What's On Stage, Audience Choice, Soap Opera Digest, Noel & Ovation Awards. She is the winner of the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Clarence Derwent, Monarch, Black Theatre Alliance, Garland, L.A. Drama Critics, AUDELCO & Obie Awards.
Pinkins is the author of GET OVER YOURSELF: How to drop the drama and claim the life you deserve. (Hyperion Books) & is the creator of "The Actorpreneur Attitude," giving workshops lectures & life coaching to businesses & individuals across the globe. A single mother of four, she is an activist for women's & children's rights & has won legal battles in several states on the trial & appellate level as a self-represented litigant. Also an accomplished painter & art teacher, she has taught at every level of education, from pre-K through graduate school.
A true Renaissance woman, Ethel Waters: HIS EYEIS ON THE SPARROW marks the fulfillment of a childhood dream of Tonya's to bring to the stage the life of this legendary artist who was America's first International superstar of any race.
Director Dennis Courtney staged a re-envisioned production of Fiddler on the Roof (currently in its 5th year running in Tel Aviv) as the official production for the 60th Anniversary of Israel, for which he won the Israeli National Theatre Award. He recently directed the off-Broadway premiere of Civil War Voices (6 MITF Awards). He has been the director/choreographer of over 150 stage productions including Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby (Los Angeles Drama Critics and DramaLogue Awards for Direction & Choreography), Can-Can with Leslie Uggams, the regional premiere of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, the world premieres of Ethel Waters: His Eye Is On The Sparrow, Red Hot Mama, Beggar's Holiday, The Beethovens and15 original music revues which he co-created. Regional productions include Little Shop of Horrors, The Last Five Years, Sophisticated Ladies, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (most recently with American Idol Finalist Melinda Doolittle), The All Night Strut, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Das Barbecu, Singin' In The Rain, Beehive, George M!, Music Man, Annie Get Your Gun, Paper Moon, A Funny Thing Happen On The Way To The Forum, It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues, The World Goes 'Round, Hello Dolly!, West Side Story, Cinderella, Oliver, Showboat, Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma, Paint Your Wagon, Lucky Stiff, A Grand Night For Singing & Cabaret. Mr. Courtney has conceived & staged special events and award shows, working with such performers as Bette Midler, Celine Dion, Quincy Jones, Warren Beatty, The Bacon Brothers & David Letterman. On television, Mr. Courtney directed the 5th season opener of TV's "Perfect Strangers."
Musical Director Barry Levitt is has been an active and forceful presence on the New York music scene since 1973 when he was apponted music director of the Plaza Hotel's famed Persian Room. From 1998 to 2003He was producing artistic director of the 92nd St. Y's world renowned Lyrics &Lyricists series. He has conducted/arranged and accompanied such stars as Ben Vereen, Nell Carter, Melba Moore, Margaret Whiting, Rosemarie Clooney, Julie Wilson, Pia Zadora, Marilyn Michaels. Theater: Catskills On Broadway, Swinging On A Star, Little Shop Of Horrors.
Michael & Barbara Ross produced the Broadway show PIAF - A Remembrance, which won the Theater World Award for Juliet Koka. Off-Broadway, they produced Jelly Roll! (starring Vernel Bagneris - which garnered the husband & wife team the Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle & Obie Awards, plus two Drama Desk Award nominations), The World Of Kurt Weill, Piaf Remembered, We'll Meet Again, Two Hearts Over Easy & Mamelah! They also produced the pre-Broadway tryouts of Bingo Long & His Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (book by Ossie Davis, music by George Fishoff), Song & Dance, A Celebration of Gene Kelly, Princess Grace & the Fazzari's (with Dorothy Loudon & Lois Nettleton), Never Too Late (starring Eddie Bracken), Millions Of Miles (starring Rue McClanahan & Milo O'Shea, directed by Barry Nelson) & The Kid From Brooklyn, (a one-man show about Danny Kaye). They also produced Comedy Tonight! at Foxwoods, starring Dick Capri, Professor Irwin Corey & Henny Youngman, plus the National & International Tour of The Duke Ellington Orchestra, conducted by the late Mercer Ellington.