Photo Flash: LEGEND OF BUSTER NEAL Celebrates Opening Night
The AUDELCO and Obie Award-winning Billie Holiday Theatre continues its 39th season with the world premiere of The Legend of Buster Neal, written and directed by Jackie Alexander. The new play will begin previews February 18 and open March 4, running through March 27 at the 200-seat Billie Holiday Theatre, Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton Street, Brooklyn; Thursdays - Saturdays at 8:00pm, Saturdays at 3:00pm, and Sundays at 4:00pm, with tickets $15 - $25, available at zerve.com/BHolidayInc/Buster.
Written for Black History Month, The Legend of Buster Neal is the story of five generations of African-American men and their challenges. A powerful drama dealing with legacy, family, and how manhood is defined, the new play carries forward the Billie Holiday Theatre's mission of presenting work relevant to African-American audiences and the Brooklyn community.
"This year, we honor Black History Month by looking forward," says Marjorie Moon, the show's producer and 30-year artistic director of the Billie Holiday Theatre. "We are asking the questions: How do our ancestors shape who we are today? How can we carry on a legacy with pride? How do we move forward while still firmly rooted in our past?"
The play opens with a flashback to the civil rights era, when Buster Neal is faced with a life-or-death confrontation that becomes a local legend. Flashing forward to present day, his 17-year-old great-great grandson Marcus is dealing with modern urban issues - drugs, peer pressure, a broken family - while his father and grandfather disagree on the best way to raise him. When a bad decision creates consequences that Marcus can't handle, Buster Neal arrives as a mysterious visitor to give his descendants a second chance.
"The characters embody stories from the past 100 years of Black History," says Alexander. "It speaks to what and how we dealt with things in the past, and our choices in coping with the issues faced today."
The play features an all-male ensemble cast of Charles Anthony Burks, Sidiki Fofana, Stephen Hill, Dennis Johnson, Patrick Mitchell, and Nathan Purdee. In addition to playwright/director Jackie Alexander, the creative team includes AUDELCO Award winners Felix E. Cochren (scene design), Helen Simmons-Collen (costume design) and Avan (light design/stage management).
Now in its 39th season, the AUDELCO and Obie Award-winning Billie Holiday Theatre serves over 30,000 people annually and has garnered a well-earned reputation for providing outstanding professional Theater Productions at affordable prices. Under the leadership of Marjorie Moon, the 200-seat theater has a 40-week season dedicated to producing work relevant to African-American experience. A training ground for performing artists, notable alumni include Samuel L. Jackson, Debbie Allen, Samm-Art Williams, Weldon Irvine, Tichina Arnold, and more. www.thebillieholiday.org
Photo Credit: Tanja
Cast with Jackie Alexander
Jamil A.C. Mangan and Warner Miller
Scott Praefke and Marja Harmon