World Premiere Repertory Of Celebrated Queens Girl Plays Rounds Out Everyman Theatre's Season
This spring, award-winning playwright Caleen Sinnette Jennings's Queens Girl in The World and Queens Girl in Africa are presented together for the first time at Everyman Theatre. Directed by Resident Company Member Paige Hernandez, both Helen Hayes Award-winning actresses Dawn Ursula and Erika Rose reprise their roles following the inaugural performances at DC's Women's Voices Festival in 2015 and 2018.There will be two opening nights for The Queens Girl Rep, with Queens Girl in the World beginning May 7 and Queens Girl in Africa starting May 14. Both plays will cycle with 6 performances a week (some overlapping in the same day) from May 18 June 23, 2019.Queens Girl in the World introduces sprightly, innocent Jacqueline Marie Butler, played by Dawn Ursula, navigating the rocky waters of adolescence during the 1960s. Jackie gets pulled in multiple directions attempting to please friends and family while living her Queens life and learning a new culture at a Jewish private school in Manhattan's East Village. As she begins to find and speak her truth, Jackie's front row seat to pivotal moments in Civil Rights history turn her world upside down. World earned Ursula the Helen Hayes Award in 2016 for her performance of the role at Theater J. In Queens Girl in Africa, actress Erika Rose's high school-aged Jackie confronts the crossroads of her personal and political upheaval after her family moves to Nigeria. Her new life includes challenging her cosmopolitan classmates at the international school and making peace with geckos. Jacqueline Marie Butler learns to stand up for herself in a country projecting blunt assumptions about being an oyinbo outsider. Jackie learns more about her place in the world while dancing and discovering her way through civil rights injustices exploding back home and in Ibadan. Rose, Hernandez, and Jennings are nominated for the upcoming 2019 Helen Hayes Awards presented May 13 for the inaugural performance of Africa at Mosaic Theater in 2018. Based on her life experiences, playwright Caleen Sinnette Jennings offers a fascinating, accessible perspective to examine the hard questions of race, colonialism, culture, and class set to a soundtrack of Motown classics, and seen through the eyes of a teenage girl. Everyman is presenting both shows in rep in order to create a continuous world and allow audiences to fully experience the depth and opportunity of Jennings's journey. While Africa continues the story arc beginning in World, the plays are standalone works and do not need to be seen in tandem. It's a joy and privilege to revisit these stories and present them together at Everyman, says Director Paige Hernandez. Caleen's story is accessible, universal, and relevant especially to Baltimore. Queens Girl illustrates the experience of growing up African-American during times of adversity and triumphQueens Girl in the World and Queens Girl in Africa close out the Everyman '18/'19 season. World opens May 7, Africa opens May 14, and they run in rep through June 23. Tickets can be purchased online at everymantheatre.org or by contacting the box office at 410-752-2208. Discounts are available by buying tickets for both shows.