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Valisia Lekae, McKinley Belcher III & More Will Lead LITTLE ROCK Industry Reading


Valisia Lekae, McKinley Belcher III & More Will Lead LITTLE ROCK Industry Reading

Rebel Theatrical Management, LLC just announced that two private industry readings of Little Rock: An American Play With Music, written and directed by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, will be presented in New York City on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

The cast of the readings of Little Rock include: Drama Desk Award-winner McKinley Belcher III (LCT's The Royale, PBS's "Mercy Street," Netfilx's "Ozark"), Samantha Clark (Rebel Theater's Trail of Tears), Drama Desk and OBIE Award-winner Khris Davis (Sweat, The Royale, Detroit), Brad Fleischer (Golden Boy, Bengel Tiget at the Baghdad Zoo, Coram Boy), Shabazz Green (Philosphy for Gangsters, Jamaica: The Musical), Tony Award-nominee Valisia LeKae (Motown: The Musical), Crystal Lucas-Perry (LCT's Bull in a China Shop), Quentin Mare (The Philanthropist, Rock 'n' Roll, Coram Boy) and Q Smith (Come From Away). Ernest Green, the oldest member of The Little Rock Nine, will be a special guest at both readings.

Little Rock is an American play with music in two acts inspired by the events of the Little Rock Crisis of 1957. It is based on numerous testimonies, interviews, and research conducted over a thirteen-year period with the African-American students who became known as the Little Rock Nine, as well as other Arkansans, concerning this historic event and its legacy.

Three years after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case that made segregation in public schools illegal across the U.S. in 1954, Little Rock became ground zero in the on-going battle for civil rights. Through the emerging technology of television, the nation watched a real-life drama unfold that featured the bravery of a stalwart group of nine black students, a tense stand-off between a defiant governor and a resolute president, and the heroic intervention of 11,000 federal and state troops. Little Rock chronicles the first school year of the Little Rock Nine as they integrated Little Rock Central High from September of 1957 to May of 1958, and bears witness to the strength, courage, and fortitude that these prolific Americans possessed. They changed the course of history, simply because they wanted to go to school. Told in music and dialogue, their courageous story hurtles between past and present, from hate to hope and from tragedy to triumph.

Little Rock received a developmental production as part of the 2011 New Works Festival at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, California. It went on to receive a production in 2014 at Passage Theatre in Trenton, NJ where it won the 2015 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Ensemble.

The upcoming readings of Little Rock will have stage directions read by Paul Wilt. Little Rock has musical direction by Darryl Ivey. Adam Mace is the Assistant Director and Giles T. Horne is the Production Stage Manager. Perry Street Theatricals (David Elliott, Martin Platt, Lorna Isaac) are the General Managers.

Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj (Playwright/Director) is an Indo-Afro-Caribbean American artist, educator and activist. As a playwright, Maharaj has authored several plays, including Little Rock (2015 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Play, TCG/NEA New Generations Grant); Daisy, inspired by the life and legacy of Daisy Lee Bates; and Hansberry/Baldwin (Semi-Finalist for the Eugene O'Neil Playwright Festival). Other commissioned work includes: Diss Diss and Dis Dat, a new hip hop musical inspired by the music of the Funkie Natives; Grey and Twenty-Five; Black Footnotes (Sloan Grant/Ensemble Studio Theater) and Children of the Dream. Co-written and co-conceived work: Sweet Lorraine; The Ballad of Trayvon Martin; Mother Emanuel, An American Musical Play (winner of the 2016 NY Fringe Overall Excellence Award for Musical); History of the Word; Exposures. Selected NYC Directing/Choreography credits: The Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Lark Play Development Center, New Federal Theatre, Rebel Theater, Making Books Sing. Selected Regional Directing/Choreography: Yale University/Yale Dramatic Association, Passage Theatre (Little Rock), TheatreWorks (Little Rock), Signature Stage, Syracuse Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, St. Louis Black Rep, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Prince Musical Theatre, Theatre of the Stars, The Goodman Theatre and Portland Stage Company. Maharaj has held artistic residencies with New Freedom Theatre, ALLIANCE THEATRE, Kennedy Center, Crossroads Theatre, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, as well as Amas Musical Theatre and Nuyorican Poets Café in NYC. He is the former Artistic Director of New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia. Recipient of the Woodie King Jr. Award for Outstanding Direction, four Vivian Robinson AUDELCO awards for his direction and choreography, and the S.A.L.T. Award for Director of the year. Maharaj is an alumnus of Lincoln Center Directors Lab and TCG Young Leaders of Color in the American Theater.

Rebel Theatrical Management, LLC (Producer) is a New York City commercial theater Production Company specializing in productions that combust art and history -- transforming the stage into a lightning-rod for social change.

For reading times and location and other information about Little Rock, contact

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

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