Photo Flash: Meet the Cast of Berkeley Rep's THE HOUSE THAT WILL NOT STAND
Berkeley Repertory Theatre presents the world premiere of The House that will not Stand, a humorous and gripping historical drama commissioned from award- winning poet-playwright and Oakland native Marcus Gardley. Sensuous, witty, heartbreaking, and uplifting - The House that will not Stand unearths a story about free women of color in 1836 New Orleans, where black Creole women entered into common-law marriages with affluent white men. When her wealthy lover mysteriously dies, Beartrice Albans' foundation of wealth hang precariously by a thread. She is left to fend for her three unwed daughters in a world where freedom must be carefully negotiated. BroadwayWorld has a first look at the cast below!
Told in a rich and lyrical river of words, this new play was developed through The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep's Center for the Creation and Development of New Work. It's helmed by Patricia McGregor, whose many credits include the celebrated production of Spunk at California Shakespeare Theater. The House that will not Stand begins previews on Berkeley Rep's intimate Thrust Stage on Friday, January 31, opens on Wednesday, February 5 and runs through Sunday, March 16, 2014.
The House that will not Stand was commissioned by Berkeley Rep and developed in The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep's Center for the Creation and Development of New Work. A co-production with Yale Repertory Theatre, the production plays the intimate Thrust Stage before moving to its New Haven venue in April 2014.
The House that will not Stand features a multi-talented ensemble of accomplished actors - many of whom make their Berkeley Rep debut with this production: Joniece Abbott-Pratt (Odette) is making her Berkeley Rep debut; Harriett D. Foy (Makeda) has appeared on Broadway in The American Plan, Mamma Mia!, and Once on This Island; Lizan Mitchell's (Beartrice) 2013 theatre credits include The Trip to Bountiful at Cleveland Play House, The Gospel of Loving Kindness (by Marcus Gardley) at Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre, This Was the End at Prelude 13 at CUNY, and Bil Wright's Celebrating Adrienne Kennedy at Phoenix Theatre Ensemble; Petronia Paley's (La Veuve/Marie Josephine) New York credits include Volumnia in Coriolanus and Gertrude in Hamlet with Take Wing and Soar Productions, Clytemnestra in Electra (AUDELCO Award) and Madame Ranevskya in The Cherry Orchard (AUDELCO nomination) at the Classical Theatre of Harlem, Dr. Iris Preston in Relativity at Ensemble Studio Theatre (AUDELCO nomination), The Trial of One Short-Sighted Black Woman vs. Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae at the New Federal Theatre (AUDELCO Award), and more; Flor De Liz Perez (Maude Lynn) is making her Berkeley Rep debut. She has appeared in countless regional productions including the world premiere of Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll at Two River Theater Company; and In the Continuum, directed by Liesl Tommy, and Nicholas Nickleby, directed by Joe Haj/Tom Quaintance, both at PlayMakers Repertory Company; Ray Reinhardt (Lazare) appeared at Berkeley Rep as Con Melody in A Touch of the Poet and James Tyrone in Long Day's Journey into Night. In his over 40 years as an actor, Reinhardt has had a wonderful time working at esteemed Bay Area theatres such as American Conservatory Theater (for 25 years in various roles including leads in Desire Under the Elms, The Visit, The Miser, Sleuth, and Cyrano de Bergerac), San Jose Repertory Theatre as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, Marin Shakespeare Company and San Francisco Shakespeare Festival in the title role of King Lear, Aurora Theatre Company as Gregory Solomon in The Price and Jacob in Awake and Sing!, and SF Playhouse in The Fantasticks and Storefront Church. He has performed on Broadway in A Flea in Her Ear and in Tiny Alice with Sir John Gielgud, as well in television and film; Tiffany Rachelle Stewart (Agne?s) is appearing at Berkeley Repertory Theatre for the first time. She was recently seen in the ALLIANCE THEATRE's production of By The Way, Meet Vera Stark. Her New York credits include Blood Dazzler at Harlem Stage, A Midsummer Night's Dream at Lyceum Theatre, and Obama Drama at the 45th Street Theatre.
The creative team for The House that will not Stand includes a stellar roster of creative talent. Antje Ellermann (set designer) returns to Berkeley Rep where she previously designed 9 Parts of Desire, The Pillowman, TRAGEDY: a tragedy, and The Lieutenant of Inishmore. Ellermann has been nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award, a Helen Hayes Award, an Ovation Award for 9 Parts of Desire, and an Emmy Award for Becoming American: The Chinese Experience on PBS. Katherine O'Neill's (costume designer) New York credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Whale Play at New Theater House, In the Cypher at Nuyorican Poets Cafe?, and Blood Dazzler at Harlem Stage. Her designs have been seen around the country in The Taming of the Shrew at California Shakespeare Theater, Death of a Salesman at Yale Repertory Theatre, Island of Slaves and Love Song at Orfeo Group, The Emancipation of Mandy and Miz Ellie at Company One, Ti Jean and his Brothers at Central Square Theater, A Christmas Story at New Repertory Theatre, and Cosi Fan Tutti at Commonwealth Opera Company. O'Neil is a visiting professor of design at Amherst College and received her MFA in design from Yale University. Russell H. Champa (lighting designer) returns to Berkeley Rep after creating the lighting design for Les Waters' productions of Dear Elizabeth, Eurydice (also at Second Stage Theatre and Yale Repertory Theatre), In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), and The Pillowman. On Broadway, Champa has designed In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) and God Said "Ha!" at the Lyceum Theatre. Keith Obadike's (sound designer and original compositions) sound design and composition credits include The Mystery Plays (Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Sound Design) at Yale Repertory Theatre and Second Stage Theatre, The Winter's Tale at Milwaukee Shakespeare, the Lincoln Center Institute production of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, and Blood Dazzler at Harlem Stage. The stage manager for the production of The House that will not Stand is Michael Suenkel, Berkeley Rep's resident production stage manager.
Photo Credit: Cheshire Isaacs
The cast: Petronia Paley (La Veuve / Marie Josephine), Tiffany Rachelle Stewart (AgnÃ¨s), Lizan Mitchell (Beartrice), Flor De Liz Perez (Maude Lynn), Joniece Abbott-Pratt (Odette), and Harriett D. Foy (Makeda).
Lizan Mitchell (Beartrice, in the background) portrays the matriarch of the Albans family, and leading actresses (l to r) Flor De Liz Perez (Maude Lynn), Tiffany Rachelle Stewart (AgnÃ¨s), and Joniece Abbott-Pratt (Odette) portray her three unwed daughters