LOST TEMPO Begins Next Week at Boston Playwrights' Theatre
Performances of Boston Playwrights' Theatre's (BPT) Lost Tempo begin next week.
The cast features Omar Robinson as jazz saxophonist Willie "Cool" Jones and marks Robinson's BPT debut. He is familiar to audiences for his work with a number of Boston area theatres, most notably as a company member of Actors' Shakespeare Project, where he played the title role in Hamlet last season. Robinson is joined by Miranda ADEkoje (who won the Independent Reviewers of New England's Best Actress-Play, Large Stage Award-for Huntington Theatre Company's Smart People), EveLyn Howe (Shakespeare & Company's Sotto Voce), and Charles Linshaw (Wellesley Repertory Theatre's Emilie). Arthur Gomez, Mishell Lilly and Kinson Theodoris complete the cast.
The play follows jazz saxophonist Willie "Cool" Jones, lured back from Paris-by a former lover and the promise of an ownership stake in a nightclub-to 1950s Harlem. Lost Tempo moves between 1954, 1959 and 1964, years that saw some of the most iconic jazz recordings of the 20th century-but when the public no longer considered jazz to be music's "cutting edge."
The playwright also admits to a "fascination" with the 1950s, particularly the aspects of the decade that contradict images associated with the warm nostalgia of the period: poodle skirts, '57 Chevys, and the like. Odle describes Lost Tempo as a look "into The Shadows of the 50's," exploring themes such as drug addiction.
"This is the time when the Civil Rights movement was getting into gear and it was at a particularly dangerous and perilous time for people struggling to make this country live up to its promises," he says. "Also in the background was the Cuban Revolution, Masters and Johnson's Human Sexual Response, and the premiere of The Twilight Zone."
Running from October 5-22, Lost Tempo is directed by Diego Arciniegas. A post-show conversation with BPT Artistic Director Kate Snodgrass, Odle, Arciniegas, and the cast will follow the Oct. 7 performance.
Odle is a 2009 graduate of Boston University's Playwriting program, and his plays have been produced in Boston, New York, and on the West Coast. In addition to his work as a playwright, Odle is an actor, director and educator. He is an adjunct playwriting professor at Bates College and also teaches courses in Theatre and Africana Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
IF YOU GO:
LOST TEMPO by Cliff Odle
Directed by Diego Arciniegas
October 5-22, 2017
Thurs. 7:30 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.
Press Night: Saturday, October 7 (8 p.m.)
At Boston Playwrights' Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215
Gifted jazz saxophonist Willie "Cool" Jones is lured back from Paris by past-love Babs with the promise of ownership in Mitzy's Jazz Kitchen, but Cool's inner demons compete with his ambitions as he tries to make sense of his life. A jazz riff on the addictions from which we all suffer, musical and otherwise.
Tickets: Adults ($30); BU Faculty/Staff ($25); Seniors-62+ ($25); Students with valid ID ($10); Subscriptions Available: Playwrights' Pass ($60). Call 866.811.4111 or visit www.bostonplaywrights.org.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
CLIFF ODLE is a playwright, actor and director. He is a native of New Jersey and based in New England. He has been involved with theatre around the country. His plays have been performed in Boston, New York, San Diego and other areas. Lost Tempo was a part of the 2016 Boston Theater Marathon Warm-Up Laps and is his first full-length play to be produced by Boston Playwrights' Theatre. Some highlights: His play Running the Bulls was featured in the SlamBoston festival and has been produced by his company, New Urban Theatre Lab; The Ahern Fox was a finalist in the 2007 Kennedy Center Theatre Festival; The Delicate Art of Customer Service has been produced by New Urban Theatre Lab and was entered in the Jersey Voices Annual Theatre Festival; Our Girl in Trenton has been produced by the BU New Play Initiative Workshop. He has been a resident playwright for the educational theatre group Theatre Espresso where he co-wrote their play about the 1957 Little Rock desegregation case called The Nine: Crisis in Little Rock. Cliff has also written plays about cyber-bullying, The Lesson and Think Twice, which are currently in rep with Deana's Educational Theatre. He is the adjunct playwriting professor at Bates College and also teaches courses in Theatre and Africana Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He has also taught at Wheelock College, Emerson, and at the Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre Studio in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. As an actor he has worked for Bridge Repertory Theatre (Salome); New Repertory Theatre (Baltimore, coproduced with Boston Center for American Performance), RACE, Passing Strange; Huntington Theatre Company (Brendan, King Hedley II); Up You Mighty Race (Fences); Company One (The Good Negro, Last Days of Judas Iscariot, 103: Within The Veil); Wheelock Family Theatre (Saint Joan, Oliver, Taste of Sunrise, Pippi, Trumpet of the Swan); and a variety of other theatres in New York and San Diego. He can also be seen as a background artist in the movies Fever Pitch and What's the Worst That Can Happen? and played a state trooper in an episode of Brotherhood (Showtime). His directing work includes plays such as The Colored Museum, The Diary of Anne Frank, Amadeus, Agnes of God, and The Chairs. He has directed The Cook for the UMASS Performing Arts Department. He has also directed the first UMASS Playwright's Festival and served as a mentor/dramaturg for the second. He was a co-founder of New Urban Theater Laboratory. He is also founder of Jersey Voices, a one-act play festival which is now in its 24th year producing the work of New Jersey playwrights.
DIEGO ARCINIEGAS is a Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies at Wellesley College, where he teaches performance and rhetoric. Most recently Diego directed Dog Act (Theatre on Fire), which was nominated for several IRNE Awards. Diego also directed The Draft (Hibernian Hall and Onwards Productions), which received an Arts Impulse Award for best new work. The Draft was filmed, and is now available through the Media Education Foundation and kanopystreaming.com. Diego served as Artistic Director of The Publick Theatre Boston from 2001 to 2011.
MIRANDA ADEKOJE (Sheila "She'She" Jones) is thrilled to be making her Boston Playwrights' Theatre debut. Her other regional acting credits include Mrs. Mueller in Doubt (Stoneham Theatre); Valerie in the world premiere of Lydia Diamond's Smart People for which she won the IRNE Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Large Production (The Huntington Theatre); Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet and Silvia in Two Gentlemen of Verona (Actors' Shakespeare Project); Shylock in Merchant of Venus (Zero Point Theater); Susan in Race (New Repertory Theatre); and Oya/Shaunta Iyun in The Brother/Sister Plays (IRNE Award for Best Ensemble); and Selector in How We Got On (Elliot Norton Award nomination for Best Ensemble) at Company One. Her film and television roles include Grace in Little Eyes (Beyond Measure Productions), Margaret in Four (Jam the Wimp productions), and Oona in the UK television series Nightlife.
ARTHUR GOMEZ (John "Sporty" Dale) is extremely excited to be working with Boston Playwrights' Theatre and director Diego on Lost Tempo. Prior credits include Amadeus (Moonbox Productions) and Blinders (Flat Earth Theater). Cliff, thank you for the words my man. Cast and crew, thank you for the laughs and energy. Everyone, thank you for continuing to support live theatre.
EVELyn Howe (Barbara "Babs" Rosenbaum) is thrilled to be making her BPT debut. Most recently she appeared as Lucila Pulpo in Shakespeare and Company's production of Sotto Voce by Nilo Cruz. Boston area credits include The Motherf*cker with the Hat (Elliot Norton Outstanding Actress Award) and Necessary Monsters by John Kuntz, both with SpeakEasy Stage and directed by David Gammons; and Arabian Nights (Central Square Theater). She resides in NY, where she is currently working on a staged reading of Possessing Harriet by Kyle Bass at Syracuse Stage. Thanks to Kate, Diego and Cliff for this amazing opportunity, and cast and crew for a wonderful ride, dig?
MISHELL LILLY (Langford "Mack" McDaniels) has performed locally in Boston and Rhode Island. Credits include Ceremony of Old Dark Men (Providence Black Rep); The Taming of the Shrew, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Kwanzaa Song, Fences (Mixed Magic Theatre); and Harriet Jacobs (Central Square Theater). He sincerely gives "heartfelt thanks to Cliff Odle and Boston Playwrights' Theatre for the opportunity to partake in my muse once again."
CHARLES LINSHAW (Mort Hershel) is delighted to be making his Boston Playwrights' Theatre acting debut, having previously been production dialect coach for Franklin. Recent regional credits include: Emilie and Three Sisters (Wellesley Repertory Theatre); From The Deep (FringeNYC 2016/CMS Productions & Boston Public Works/2015 - IRNE Award Nomination: Best Actor); and The Chosen (Lyric Stage Company). Charles has also performed with The Nora Theater Company, Gloucester Stage Company, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, The Publick Theatre, and in New York with Twilight Theatre Company, Classic Stage Company, and many others. Charles has done voiceover work over the years for Frontline (WGBH/PBS) and will be appearing in the upcoming web series, The Naturals. He is also a busy dialect coach and teaching artist. MFA in Acting, Columbia University. Proud, long-time member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA. www.charleslinshaw.com
Omar Robinson (Willie "Cool" Jones) is making his Boston Playwrights' Theatre debut. Previous credits include The School for Scandal, The Comedy of Errors, Henry VIII, Romeo & Juliet, Pericles, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet in the title role (Actors' Shakespeare Project); Superior Donuts, The Death of a Salesman, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning (Lyric Stage Company of Boston); The Hunchback of Seville (Trinity Repertory Company); Dog Paddle (Bridge Repertory Theater); and Finish Line (Boston Theater Company & Boch Center). He is a member of Theatre Espresso, an educational theatre company that performs throughout New England, and a Resident Acting Company member of Actors' Shakespeare Project. He received a BA in Acting and Television/Video Production from Emerson College.
KINSON THEODORIS (Lane Blake) graduated from Eastern Nazarene College where he appeared in his first mainstage production, Twelve Angry Jurors, as Juror # 12 directed by Jacqui Parker. It was in college that he discovered his natural talent in acting as well as his love for the craft. Mr. Theodoris continued to develop his craft over the years with Our Place Theatre under the mentorship and direction of Jacqui Parker. Since his time with Our Place Theatre he has had the pleasure of performing at The Old State House (Blood on the Snow), Hibernian Hall (Top Eye Open), Plaza Theatre at The Boston Center for the Arts (Stop and Frisk), Fort Point Theatre Channel (The Land), Wheelock Family Theatre, and The Strand Theatre (Xernona and the Grand Dragon X). Mr. Theodoris spends his days working with the youth through his job at the YMCA when he is not immersed in the wonderful world of theater and film.
Founded in 1981 at Boston University by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, Boston Playwrights' Theatre (BPT) is an award-winning professional theatre dedicated to new works. At the heart of BPT's mission is the production of new plays by alumni of its M.F.A. Playwriting Program, the latter in collaboration with Boston University's renowned School of Theatre. The program's award-winning alumni have been produced in regional and New York houses, internationally, as well as in London's West End. BPT's productions have been honored with numerous national, regional, and Boston awards, including IRNE Awards for Best New Script and Boston Critics' Association Elliot Norton Awards.
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school's research and teaching mission.