Anderson, Fuller, Nottage Participate In I'VE KNOWN RIVERS

On Monday Evening, February 23 at 7:00 PM, six New York theater institutions will participate in a special panel discussion featuring five current and upcoming Off-Broadway shows. Harlem Stage (150 Convent Avenue at West 135th Street) will host producing companies Classical Theatre of Harlem, Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater and Signature Theatre Company in an evening titled I'VE KNOWN RIVERS: A Conversation with Christina Anderson, Charles Fuller, Lynn Nottage & Liesl Tommy.

The event marks a unique collaborative effort between six New York theater institutions: a panel discussion in which five gifted African-American theater artists - all of whom have projects happening almost simultaneously at five of New York's most respected non-profit theaters - will discuss their lives, work, and current projects.

Moderated by actress Sabrina LeBeauf (Three Sisters, Classical Theatre of Harlem in partnership with Harlem Stage, February/March), the evening's four panelists will be Christina Anderson (author, Inked Baby, Playwrights Horizons, March/April), Charles Fuller (author, Zooman and the Sign, Signature Theatre Company, March/April), Lynn Nottage (author, Ruined, Manhattan Theater Club, January-March) and Liesl Tommy (director, The Good Negro, The Public Theater, March/April).

The event title comes from a poem by Langston Hughes, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers."

I'VE KNOWN RIVERS is presented as part of the Harlem Stage Partners Program, which receives lead sponsorship support from Deutsche Bank and public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency.

Admission to the event is FREE. Reservations are required and may be made by calling the Harlem Stage box office at (212) 281-9240 ext. 19/20 or via e-mail at boxoffice@harlemstage.org (limit two per person). Harlem Stage Gatehouse is located at 150 Convent Avenue at West 135th Street. Subway directions: 1 to 137th Street at Broadway. Walk south to 135th Street and walk east two blocks to Convent Ave. and 135th Street. A, B, C, D to 125th Street at St. Nicholas Avenue. Walk east one block to Morningside Drive. and 125th Street. Walk north to 135th Street and Convent Ave (Morningside Drive. turns into Convent Ave. past 127th Street). Entrance to both the Gatehouse and Aaron Davis Hall are located on Convent Ave.

Christina Anderson was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. Her work has appeared at Ars Nova, Mark Taper Forum, The Coterie Theater, Rites and Reason, The Public Theater, Horizon Theater, and the Playwrights' Center. Awards and honors include Susan Smith Blackburn nomination (2007), Lorraine Hansberry Award (American College Theater Festival 2004), Van Lier Playwriting Fellowship (New Dramatists 2005-06), Wasserstein Prize nomination (Dramatists Guild 2006), and Lucille Lortel Fellowship (Brown University 2007). American Theater magazine selected Christina as one of fifteen up-and-coming artists "whose work will be transforming America's stages for decades to come."

Charles Fuller was born in Philadelphia. He achieved critical notice in 1969 with The Village: A Party. He later wrote plays for the Henry Street Settlement theatre and the Negro Ensemble Company in New York. He won an Obie Award for Zooman and the Sign in 1980. His next work, A Soldier's Play, was a critical success, winning the 1982 Pulitzer Prize. He later adapted the script into the 1984 film A Soldier's Story. His screenplay was nominated in 1985 for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Writers Guild of America Award. It won an Edgar Award. Fuller has received grants from The State of New York, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also written short fiction, screenplays, and worked as a movie producer. He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, East.

Lynn Nottage is the author of Intimate Apparel, which was produced in New York at Roundabout Theatre Company after its world-premiere production at Center Stage and South Coast Repertory. The play received numerous awards, including the 2004 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play, the Outer Critics Circle Best Play award, the John Gassner Award, the American Theatre Critics/Steinberg 2004 New Play Award and the 2004 Francesca Primus Award, and it has gone on to receive dozens of productions around the country. Her next play, Fabulation, or the Education of Undine (Obie Award) directed by Kate Whoriskey, was first produced by Playwrights Horizons and recently received a highly acclaimed production at the Tricycle Theatre in London. Both plays are published in an anthology by Theatre Communications Group (TCG). Another anthology of her plays, Crumbs From the Table of Joy and Other Plays was published by TCG, and includes Crumbs From the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por'Knockers and Poof! Her plays have been produced and developed at theaters throughout the country, including ALLIANCE THEATRE, Second Stage, the Vineyard, Freedom Theatre, Crossroads Theatre Company, Intiman Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Steppenwolf, Yale Rep and Sundance Institute Theatre Lab. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious 2004 PEN/Laura Pels Award for literary excellence and the MacArthur "Genius" Award, as well as fellowships from Manhattan Theatre Club, New Dramatists and the New York Foundation for the Arts, where she is a member of the Artists Advisory Board. Ms. Nottage is an alumna of New Dramatists and a graduate oF Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, where she is currently a visiting lecturer.

Sabrina LeBeauf was born in New Orleans, grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in New York. Her Regional theater credits include Rosaline in Love's Labour's Lost, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Helena in All's Well That Ends Well, Cordelia in King Lear and Rosalind in As You Like It at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC. Her numerous regional theatre credits include The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, The George Street Playhouse, The Goodman Theatre, The La Jolla Playhouse, The San Diego Rep., The San Jose Rep., The Arizona Theatre Company and The Chautauqua Theatre Institute. She has participated in The Sundance Theatre Lab and The Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. She was the host of "In Your Own Backyard," a four-part series on the environment for New York Public Television, the host for E! Style Television's "Homes With Style," and the east coast correspondent/host for the Oregon Public Television series "Smart Gardening." She is perhaps best known for playing Sondra on "The Cosby Show."
Liesl Tommy Regional directing: The Africa Trilogy Project at Volcano Theatre in Toronto, Canada; Christmas Carol at Trinity Rep; The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson at Dallas Theater Center; In the Continuum by Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter at Playmakers Rep, The Stick Fly by Lydia Diamond at Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Angela's Mixtape by Eisa Davis at Synchronicity Performance Group, Flight by Charlayne Woodard at City Theatre, Camino Real at Trinity Rep./Brown Consortium, Isaac and Ishmael by David Schulner at Chautauqua Theatre Institute, The Good Negro at Sundance Theatre Institute, and Hydriotaphia by Tony Kushner at Trinity Rep/Brown Consortium. New York directing: The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson at The Public Theatre, Small Tragedy by Craig Lucas at NYU/Strasberg Institute, Uncle Vanya at Juilliard, Split Ends at La MAMA; Our Lady of 121st Street at Juilliard; Bus and Family Ties by Cristian Panaite at The Play Company's Romania. Kiss Me! Festival, Misterioso 119 by Koffi Kwahule at Berkshire Theatre Festival and Act French Festival/Lark Theatre; Adventures of Barrio Grrrl by Quiara Hudes at SPF; and A Stone's Throw by Lynn Nottage at Women's Project. She was awarded the NEA/TCG Directors Grant, the New York Theatre Workshop Casting/Directing Fellowship and is a member of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and the Lincoln Center Director's Lab. Liesl taught directing at Trinity Rep/Brown University's Grad. Directing Program and acting at NYU-Tisch School of the Arts. Liesl is a native of Cape Town, South Africa.

Inked Baby by Christina Anderson. Directed by Kate Whoriskey. At Playwrights Horizons' Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 West 42nd Street (between Ninth and Tenth Avenues). March 5-April 5, 2009. Stuck for money and unable to conceive, Gloria enlists the aid of her sister to make the child that she and her husband can't. As they uneasily await the baby's arrival, a mysterious contamination spreads outside. But consumed by their own struggles, is anyone paying attention? In this imaginative, other-worldly new drama, one family fights to find its place in a neglected neighborhood. Tickets (beginning February 4): call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 (Noon-8PM daily), visit Ticket Central at 416 West 42nd Street, or visit www.playwrightshorizons.org.

The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson. Directed by Liesl Tommy. At The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street. March 2-April 5, 2009. Straight from a sold out run during our inaugural season of Public LAB, this gripping new play rips through the pages of history to uncover the human story at the heart of the 1960's American Civil Rights Movement. In the increasingly hostile South, tensions build as a trio of emerging black leaders attempt to conquer their individual demons amidst death threats from the Klan and wire taps by the FBI. Through personal and intimate stories inspired by the political upheavals of the era, The Good Negro examines the human frailties behind the historic headlines. A co-production with Dallas Theater Center. Tickets: call 212-967-7555 (10am-9pm, Monday-Sunday) or visit www.publictheater.org.

Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov. Directed by Christopher McElroen. Classical Theatre of Harlem in partnership with Harlem Stage, 150 Convent Avenue at West 135th Street. February 5 - March 8, 2009. Considered by many to be one of the greatest plays ever written, Chekhov's Three Sisters offers audiences a chance to consider the spiritual paralysis that keeps us from

pursuing our dreams, the feeling of unlived lives and the longing for meaning. The result is an uncanny blend of the painful and trivial, the ordinary and the catastrophic. Conventional boundaries between comedy and tragedy are deliberately blurred, and things are seldom what they seem in one of the theatre's most enigmatic and beautiful explorations of our pursuit of happiness. Tickets: call (212) 291-9240 ext. 19 or visit www.HarlemStage.org or www.ClassicalTheatreofHarlem.org.

Ruined by Lynn Nottage. Directed by Kate Whoriskey. At Manhattan Theatre Club/New York City Center Stage I, 131 West 55th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues). Previews begin January 21-March 29, 2009. A haunting, probing work about the resilience of the human spirit during times of war. Set in a small mining town in Democratic Republic of Congo, this powerful play follows Mama Nadi, a shrewd businesswoman in a land torn apart by civil war. But is she protecting or profiting by the women she shelters? How far will she go to survive? Can a price be placed on a human life? Tickets: www.nycitycenter.org or call City Tix at (212) 581-1212.

Zooman and the Sign by Charles Fuller. Directed by Stephen McKinley Henderson. At Signature Theatre Company, 555 West 42nd Street (between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues). March 3-April 26, 2009. A random act of violence devastates Reuben Tate's family and scares their once caring community into silence. While young Zooman terrorizes the neighborhood, Reuben makes a dangerous appeal which may tear their world apart. This powerful drama depicts the horrifying aftermath of violence on a family and community. Tickets (beginning February 3): call the Box Office at 212-244-PLAY (7529), visit www.signaturetheatre.org, or visit the Box Office.

Since its inception, Harlem Stage (formerly Aaron Davis Hall, Inc.) has earned a local, national, and international reputation for its world-class programming and commissioning of new works. Established in 1979 as part of The City College of New York, the organization became an independent nonprofit in 1983. Harlem Stage has hosted such legendary artists as Harry Belafonte, Max Roach, Bill Cosby, Abbey Lincoln, Maya Angelou, and Tito Puente. Harlem Stage's primary mission is to support and present the development of new work and the work of emerging artists, and connecting these exhilarating and stimulating new programs to our community. For more information about Harlem Stage, visit www.HarlemStage.org.

 

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