Damon J. Gillespie To Star in Hangar Theatre's Outdoor Production of THE REALNESS in June

Damon entered the spotlight in 2018 with a major role as Robbie on NBC’s Rise.

By: May. 26, 2021
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Damon J. Gillespie To Star in Hangar Theatre's Outdoor Production of THE REALNESS in June

Damon J. Gillespie (he/him) will star as T.O. in The REALNESS: another break beat play, the opening show of the Hangar Theatre's first ever outdoor season! The REALNESS another beat break play was written by Idris Goodwin, and will be directed by Hangar alum, Kyle Haden.

Damon entered the spotlight in 2018 with a major role as Robbie on NBC's Rise. He then went on to two major roles in Netflix originals The Society, and Tiny Pretty Things in 2018 and 2019. His additional TV credits include appearances on Empire on Fox, and Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer. He is a Member of Actor's Equity Association, and his theatre credits include Broadway productions of Newsies and Aladdin. Damon states, "I am so thankful, and couldn't be happier to join this cast. This show goes out to every person who fell in love with hip-hop. With such craziness in the world, why not strive for some realness?"

Director Kyle Haden adds, "I feel like Idris wrote this for me; I could have been T.O. When I was T.O.'s age, music and finding "love" was the most important thing in my life. This story is woven in and around hip hop, so if you know that world, you'll be excited to revisit it, but those new to hip-hop will enjoy it as well."

This unique play, by nationally recognized playwright Idris Goodwin, tackles history and class collisions in a humorous and authentic story set to a distinct beat. Gillespie will star as T.O., who graduates from high school in 1996 and moves from the suburbs to the city, stepping into the hip-hop scene. He soon meets Prima, a dazzling MC with Lauryn Hill vibes (played by Angelica Santiago), who takes his breath away. T.O. poses as a music journalist to get close to her, but his story quickly catches up to him.

In addition to Gillespie and Santiago, cast members include Rasell Holt as Lord Style, Ithaca College alum Nicholas Caycedo as Roy et al., and Kiziana Jean-Louis as Professor Brown et al. The show will start with a preview performance on Thursday, June 17 and an official opening on Friday, June 18. The show will close on Sunday, June 24.

The Hangar thanks Premier Performance Partner Tompkins Financial, Mainstage Media Sponsor Cayuga Radio Group, Partner In The Arts Ithaca College, Partner In Health Be Sure Testing, Premier show sponsor The Shackell-Dowell Family, and show Media Sponsor WICB 91.7 FM. Additional show information can be found online at hangartheatre.org/realness.

The Hangar's full 2021 Outdoor Mainstage season includes The Realness, Once, Sweeney Todd, Queens Girl In The World, and An Odyssey. Seats are limited, and available while supplies last. Student discounts and (Pay) What You Will tickets are available at every performance in 2021. For more information, e-mail boxoffice@hangartheatre.org or call (607)273-2787.