BROTHERS FROM THE BOTTOM to Play Billie Holiday Theatre, 3/6-29
As their award-winning theatre home in Bed-Stuy's Restoration Plaza undergoes a multi-million dollar facelift, The Billie Holiday Theatre (BHT) has announced a move that will bring their acclaimed productions to Brooklyn's flourishing Downtown Cultural District. Thanks to a special partnership with the Brooklyn Music School Playhouse, BHT will kick off a two-year residency with a high profile run of the play Brothers from the Bottom, starring actor and TONY Award-winning producer Wendell Pierce (SELMA, Treme, The Wire). The play, written and directed by BHT artistic director Jackie Alexander, will run March 6th - 29th at the Brooklyn Music School Playhouse, 126 Saint Felix Street between Hanson and Lafayette, in the heart of the BAM Cultural District. (Full details below.)
The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation is invested in forward-thinking, provocative and relevant work and partnerships with world-class artists and institutions, such as Wendell Pierce and the Brooklyn Music School Playhouse. The Restoration Center for Arts and Culture is dedicated to promoting arts and culture in Brooklyn with a range of arts programming, including a multidisciplinary youth arts academy, several professional dance company residencies and the Skylight Gallery with exhibits curated by renowned artists.
"The move to Brooklyn's downtown cultural district is a natural progression in our evolution for the Billie Holiday Theatre," says Alexander. "This residency, coupled with acclaimed actor Wendell Pierce's performance in Brothers from the Bottom, presents BHT with an invaluable opportunity to re-establish ourselves as one of New York's premier Off-Broadway houses, introduce our work to a new demographic and cultivate our existing audience base." Brooklyn Music School artistic-executive director Piruz Partow agrees saying, "This partnership makes real sense. For decades, both our organizations have continued to make high quality programming accessible for Brooklynites."
Alexander's Brothers from the Bottom deals with the hot button topic of gentrification, an incendiary subject for Brooklynites and New Yorkers alike. In the play, a real estate project threatens the fabric of a New Orleans neighborhood, and unravels the bond between brothers. "It's a particularly relevant subject for us," says Alexander, "since our residency and our permanent home are both central locations for the gentrification debates taking place in Brooklyn."
Wendell Pierce, an accomplished Julliard trained actor, has conquered all realms of media with critically praised performances in theater, film, television and broadcast radio. The TONY, Emmy, Obie and Peabody winning actor and producer is best known for his portrayals on HBO's ground breaking television series The Wire and Treme. Pierce is currently co-starring on CBS' The Odd Couple, Showtime's Ray Donovan and this year's Oscar nominee for Best Picture, SELMA. He continues to host the Peabody Award winning national radio program, Jazz at Lincoln Center. Pierce is honored to be doing theatre for BHT. "When I moved to New York in 1981, I lived almost around the corner from BHT so I've almost come full circle in those 34 years."
The cast also features two-time Emmy Award winner Kevin Mambo, who played the title role in Fela! on Broadway.
Brothers from the Bottom writer and director Jackie Alexander is a prolific award-winning actor, writer, producer and director for theater and film. BHT named Alexander artistic director in 2013 after devoting its entire 2010-2011 season to Alexander's work; commissioning him to write three new plays, one of which was Brothers from the Bottom; and making him the only playwright in the forty-two year history of the theatre to receive such an honor.
Original Music: Edward Anderson and Darrell Lavigne (Bleu Orleans); Set Design: Felix Cochren (Broadway credits: Amen Corner, Inacent Black, Home);Assistant Set Designer: Patrice Davidson; Costume Design: Helen Simmons-Collen; Lighting Design: Joyce Liao; Sound Design: Douglas Forbes; Stage Manager: Avan Littles