Cast, Creatives Set for Jocelyn Bioh's SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY at MCC Theater
MCC Theater today announced the complete cast and creative team for the second show of its 2017-18 season: the World Premiere of School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play, written by 2017-18 Tow Playwright-in-Residence Jocelyn Bioh, and directed by Tony Winner Rebecca Taichman.
The cast will feature Nabiyah Be (Black Panther, Hadestown), MaameYaa Boafo (Untamed), Paige Gilbert (Street Children), Obie Award winner Zainab Jah (Eclipsed), Nike Kadri (The Death of the Last Black Man...), Abena Mensah-Bonsu (Ragtime on Ellis Island), Mirirai Sithole (The Death of the Last Black Man...), and Lortel Award nominee Myra Lucretia Taylor (Familiar).
As previously announced, School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play begins previews at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street) on Thursday, November 2, 2017, with an official opening night set for Sunday, November 19, 2017.
In School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play, Paulina, the reigning Queen Bee at Ghana's most exclusive boarding school, has her sights set on the Miss Universe pageant. But the mid-year arrival of Ericka, a new student with undeniable talent and beauty, captures the attention of the pageant recruiter--and Paulina's hive-minded friends. This buoyant and biting comedy explores the universal similarities (and glaring differences) facing teenage girls across the globe. How far would you go to be queen bee?
Also announced today: the creative team for School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play includes scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by Jen Schriever, sound design by Palmer Hefferan, dialect coaching by Deborah Hecht, and casting by Telsey + Company/Adam Caldwell, CSA, William Cantler, CSA, Karyn Casl, CSA. Production Stage Manager Laura Wilson and Stage Manager Ayisha Hunt.
Tickets are now available to the general public today, Tuesday, September 12th. For more information, visit www.mcctheater.org.
Jocelyn Bioh (Playwright) is a Ghanaian-American writer/performer from New York City. NYC acting credits include: In the Blood, Everybody (Signature, Lortel Nomination); Men on Boats(Playwrights Horizons); An Octoroon (Soho Rep); Neighbors (The Public Theater); and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time which won the Tony® Award for Best Play in 2015. Her plays include: 2015 Kilroys' List selection Nollywood Dreams which was presented in the Spring of 2017 as part of The Cherry Lane Mentor Project, School Girls (Kilroys' List 2016), Happiness and Joe (2017), African Americans (Ruby Prize Finalist 2011) Goddess (book writer), and The Ladykiller's Love Story, for which she conceived the story and wrote the libretto with music/lyrics by Cee Lo Green. She is a commissioned playwright with MTC and Atlantic Theater Company, is a Resident Playwright at Lincoln Center and is a 2017-18 Tow Playwright-in-Residence with MCC. B.A in English/Theatre from The Ohio State University and MFA in Playwriting.
Rebecca Taichman (Director). Broadway: Indecent by Paula Vogel (co-creator; Tony® Award, Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle Award). Select Off-Broadway: How To Transcend A Happy Marriage and The Oldest Boy by Sarah Ruhl (LCT); Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge (LCT3); Familiar by Danai Gurira, Stage Kiss by Sarah Ruhl, Milk Like Sugar by Kirsten Greenidge (Playwrights Horizons); Orlando by Sarah Ruhl (CSC); Orpheus (NYCO); Dark Sisters (MTG/Gotham); Menopausal Gentleman (The Ohio). Regional includes productions at Yale Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Old Globe, ART, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, McCarter, and Woolly Mammoth. Rebecca is a Henry Crown Fellow at The Aspen Institute, and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama. www.rebeccataichman.com.
Nabiyah Be (Ericka Boafo) is an actor and singer-songwriter from Brazil. Her feature film debut in Marvel's upcoming Black Panther is slated for February 9th, 2018. She originated the role of Eurydice (lead) in Anais Mitchel's and Rachel Chavkin's Hadestown (NYTW) and was an original cast member of Queen of the Night (Diamond Horseshoe). While still in Brazil, she joined Brazilian theater company Os Bumburistas and with them, developed three theater projects: "A Virada" [Winner of Braskem Theater Award for Best Play], "O Pagador de Promessas" and "O Fantasma de Canterville" [Winner of Braskem Theater Award for Best Musical]. Before moving to New York in 2010 and obtaining her BFA degree in Acting from Pace University, Nabiyah worked as a back up vocalist for iconic Brazilian artists [Daniela Mercury, Carlinhos Brown] and conceived and performed Rebel in Me, a concert of re-arranged classic and contemporary songs. Nabiyah Be is now recording her debut album due for release in spring of 2018.
MaameYaa Boafo (Paulina Sarpong) Born in Pakistan, raised in a couple European and East African countries, and hails from Ghana. MCC Debut. Theatre: Lift (Crossroads, 59e59) Hamlet ( American Globe Theatre) Comedy of Errors (The Shakespeare Project) Untamed (National Black Theatre) TV: "Blacklist", "Mysteries of Laura", "Madam Secretary", "American Odyssey", "Iron Fist". Film: The Family Fang, Where is Kyra, Olive, New York, I Love You, When It All Falls Down. Currently: An African City (2015 & 2016 best actress nominee for Golden Movie Awards). Training: M.F.A in Acting from Mason Gross School of the Arts-Rutgers. www.maameyaaboafo.com SDG
Paige Gilbert (Gifty) is honored to be making her Off-Broadway debut at MCC with such a dope play. She is a Detroit, MI native & SUNY Purchase BFA graduate, last seen in the New Ohio Theatre'sStreet Children. Love & Gratitude to Brad & The Studio alongside JB Talent and Telsey + Company for seeing the Gifty in me.
Zainab Jah (Eloise Amponsah) Recent credits include: Maima, Eclipsed, Broadway; title role of Hamlet, (The Wilma Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo N Juliet (Classical Theatre of Harlem), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, (Atlantic Theater, NYC), Prudence, The Convert, Josephine, Ruined, A Doll's House ( Williamstown Theatre Festival), Helen of Troy, Trojan Women, (Classical Theatre of Harlem), In Darfur, (The Public Theatre /NYSF), Peter Sellars' Children Of Herakles, (European Tour). Film / TV credits: "Homeland", "Elementary", "New York, I Love You (Short)", "Law & Order SVU", Outliving Emily (with Andre Braugher and Philicia Rashad), Along Came Love, (with Vanessa Williams). Awards: Philadelphia Critcs' Circle Best Actress Award (Hamlet) Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Award Best Featured Actress (The Convert); San Francisco Bay Area Critics' Circle - Oustanding Performance Female Featured Role (Ruined); and Best Featured Actress, Philadelphia Critics' Circle Feautured Actress Award (The Convert).
Nike Kadri (Ama) Off-Broadway Signature Theater: The Death of the Last Black Man...; Classic Stage Company: Iphigenia in Aulis. Regional Actors Theatre of Louisville: Cardboard Piano; Chicago Shakespeare: Twelfth Night; Guthrie Theater: We Are Proud to Present..., A Midsummer Night's Dream; McCarter Theatre: A Christmas Carol; Ordway Center: A Christmas Story: The Musical;Shakespeare Theatre NJ: A Midsummer Night's Dream; Park Square Theatre: Mary T. & Lizzy K.; Red Eye Theater: The Secret Lives of Coats. TV "Seven Seconds," "Divorce." Film: By the Tide.Training: The University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program. www.nikekadri.com.
Abena Mensah-Bonsu (Nana) MCC debut! Born (on a Tuesday, of course) and raised in New Jersey, she completed her training at the American Musical & Dramatic Academy NYC campus. Past credits - NYC: Ragtime (Ellis Island); How the Light Gets In - Water is Life (NYMF). Regional: Armelia - Ain't Misbehavin' (Oregon Cabaret); Gary Coleman - Avenue Q (Playhouse on Park); Diva -Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (ZACH). Cruise Ship: Circle of Life Vocalist (Disney Cruise Line). Upcoming: "Orange is the New Black", Season 6 (Netflix). To my family, friends, teachers, Dave & Jeremy at Daniel Hoff Agency, Telsey + Company, Jocelyn, Rebecca, MCC, and the fine-fine school gehls, I say "Meda w'ase paa" (Thank you very much!) Isaiah 40:31. www.AbenaCMB.com.
Mirirai Sithole (Mercy) has performed at Classic Stage Company, 59E59, The Bushwick Starr, and other venues throughout New York City. Select NY Credits: Suzan-Lori Parks' The Death of the Last Black Man... (Signature Theatre Company) which garnered an OBIE award for best direction by Lileana Blain-Cruz, Mother Courage and Her Children for which Mirirai received the Rosemarie Tichler Award for her portrayal of Kattrin, Frontières Sans Frontières, and Autumn's Harvest (Lincoln Center Education). Regional: Remix 38 (Humana Festival) Our Town and A Christmas Carol (Actors Theatre of Louisville). TV: "Bull", "The Affair", "Master of None", "Broad City". She received her BFA in theatre from Adelphi University and was an Acting Apprentice at Actors Theatre of Louisville. www.MiriraiSithole.com.
Myra Lucretia Taylor (Headmistress Francis) Broadway: Nine, Macbeth, Electra, Chronicle of A Death Foretold, MuleBone, and A Streetcar Named Desire. Off-Broadway: Familiar (Lortel, OCC Nominations), Informed Consent, Bethany, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick, Crazy Mary, Fabulation. National Tour: Wicked (as the first black Madame Morrible);Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Regional: Where Storms Are Born (World Premiere), Our Town, Mary (World Premiere), Going to St. Ives, The Old Settler (World Premiere) International: The Colored Museum (West End), A Winter's Tale, Pericles (RSC). TV: "Best Thing You'll Ever Do" (Indie Web Award, Best Supporting Actress), "Atlanta", "Girls", "The Big C", "Elementary". Film: The Big Sick,Catfight, Silver Tongues, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Changing Lanes. Myra is a Fox Fellow.
MCC Theater broke ground on its first permanent home- a two-theater complex on West 52nd Street and 10th Avenue-on March 22, 2016. Set to open in 2018, the space will unite MCC's diverse roster of programs under one roof for the first time in the company's three-decade history. The new facility will also allow MCC to expand its programming and establish it as a cultural anchor within the Clinton neighborhood. The $35 million project is funded by a public-private partnership between the Theater and the City of New York, with $30 million raised to-date.
MCC is one of New York's leading nonprofit Off-Broadway companies, driven by a mission to provoke conversations that have never happened and otherwise never would. Founded in 1986 as a collective of artists leading peer-based classes to support their own development as actors, writers and directors, the tenets of collaboration, education, and community are at the core of MCC Theater's programming. One of the only theaters in the country led continuously by its founders, Artistic Directors Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, and William Cantler, MCC fulfills its mission through the production of world, American, and New York premiere plays and musicals that challenge artists and audiences to confront contemporary personal and social issues, and robust playwright development and education initiatives that foster the next generation of theater artists and students.
MCC Theater's celebrated productions include Penelope Skinner's The Village Bike; Robert Askins' Hand to God; John Pollono's Small Engine Repair; Paul Downs Colaizzo's Really Really; Sharr White's The Other Place (Broadway transfer); a fully reimagined version of the legendary musical Carrie; Jeff Talbott's The Submission (Laurents/Hatcher Award); Michael Weller's Fifty Words; Alexi Kaye Campbell's The Pride; Bryony Lavery's Frozen (Broadway transfer; four 2004 Tony Award nominations including Best Play, Tony Award for Best Featured Actor); Tim Blake Nelson's The Grey Zone; Rebecca Gilman's The Glory of Living (2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist); Margaret Edson's Wit (1999 Pulitzer Prize); and ten plays by Playwright-in-Residence Neil LaBute, including Reasons to Be Happy, reasons to be pretty (Broadway transfer, three 2009 Tony Award nominations, including Best Play), Some Girl(s), Fat Pig, The Mercy Seat, and most recently All The Ways To Say I Love You. Many plays developed and produced by MCC have gone on to productions throughout the country and around the world.
Blake West joined the company in 2006 as Executive Director. MCC will open its first permanent home in 2018 in Manhattan's Clinton neighborhood, unifying the company's activities under one roof for the first time and expanding its producing, artist development, and education programming. The Theater is currently in the midst of a $35 million campaign to support its expansion and growing artistic operations, with $30 million raised to-date.