Photo Flash: First Look at the Cast of Kitchen Theatre Company's SMART PEOPLE

Kitchen Theatre Company launches its 2017-2018 Season with Smart People , a sharp and provocative new comedy by Lydia R. Diamond. Summer L. Williams, Associate Artistic Director of Company One Theatre (Boston, MA), directs. Performances of Smart People begin at the Kitchen Theatre Company in The Percy Browning Theatre on September 3.

"I couldn't be more excited for Lydia R. Diamond's Smart People to be the first show of my first season here at the Kitchen Theatre Company," says Producing Artistic Director, Bevin. " Smart People is about big, controversial ideas that are so important to this particular moment. And yet it is also a story about compelling and dynamic human relationships. When I think of Lydia's plays, the first thing that comes to mind are the unique characters she creates and the complex relationships she builds between them. But what I love most about her writing is the way she infuses humor and heart to really drive the story home."

Smart People poses big questions about whether our beliefs and prejudices are hard-wired into us by exploring the intersecting lives of four Harvard intellectuals: Brian, a white neuro-psychiatrist studying the brain's response to race; his Chinese-Japanese American lover Ginny, a tenured professor of psychology studying race and identity among Asian-American women; Brian's friend Jackson, an African-American surgical intern on rotation in one of the university's teaching hospitals; and Valerie, an African-American who has recently graduated with her MFA in Acting. With barbed wit, Diamond asks questions about our beliefs and prejudices as she depicts these four characters search for love, success, and identify in a complex world.

"I am so excited to be back in the room working on another Lydia Diamond play," says director Williams."She is so tremendously gifted, and her work is always challenging, humorous, and piercing. It's been one of the great joys of my life to know her; she's a sister and artist whom I fully admire. The opportunity to be reunited in Ithaca is thrilling. I'm honored to be at the helm of this project, working with both old friends and new, telling this incredibly profound and funny story."

The ensemble cast features Bryce Michael Wood ( King Lear and Spamalot at Connecticut Repertory Theatre) as Jackson, Folami Williams ( Othello at Classic Stage Company and Concrete Orange at the Guthrie Theater) as Valerie, Jake Lee Smith ( Buried Child and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at NYU) as Brian, and Shannon Tyo ( Kentucky at Ensemble Studio Theatre and The White Snake at The Old Globe) as Ginny.

Smart People was commissioned by McCarter Theatre Center and originally produced at the Huntington Theatre Company supported by the National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant.

Photos courtesy of Lesley Greene

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