North Carolina Black Rep Announces Auditions & Producing Partners For World Premiere Project

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The North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NC Black Rep) will hold auditions in Manhattan on Saturday October 26, 2019 for the title role in the world premiere of Phenomenal Maya (working title) by Nambi E. Kelley. The play is inspired by the life of Dr. Maya Angelou and was commissioned by NC Black Rep in August 2018.

Phenomenal Maya opens on Dr. Maya Angelou's 40th birthday. When hateful bullets assassinate her gifted friend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., time stops, contracts, and expands spinning Maya through memory, song, and the poetry of her own life and legacy. The play was the recipient of the inaugural Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin Rolling World Premiere Award at the 2019 National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF), which guarantees at least three regional productions over a two-year period. The award was created to assist in Black Theatres working together to discover and nurture the next generation of great African-American Playwrights. NC Black Rep Artistic Director, Jackie Alexander, who will direct the world premiere of Phenomenal Maya April 30-May 17, 2020 in Winston-Salem, N.C., believes this award is at the core of why NBTF was created, sharing: "NC Black Rep's founder Larry Leon Hamlin's stated goal for NBTF was to ensure the survival of Black Theatre and I believe that job starts with providing opportunities for the writers who tell our stories."

Following NC Black Rep's production, Phenomenal Maya will move on to Hattiloo Theatre in Memphis, TN for a four week-run from September 4-27, 2020. Hattiloo's CEO, Ekundayo Bandele, believes there's something very special about this rolling world premiere project, commenting: "Hattiloo Theatre is excited to partner with North Carolina Black Rep and The Ensemble Theatre in the rolling world premiere of Phenomenal Maya. Hattiloo's excitement stems from the heightened artistry that accompanies collaboration. The ability to share an original work by one of America's most original playwrights is an honor and a privilege."

The final production of the rolling world premiere of Phenomenal Maya will take place January 16-February 28, 2021 at The Ensemble Theatre in Houston, TX. Having presented a show at every NBTF since 2007, Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director Eileen Morris was thrilled to be a part of this historic collaboration, stating: "When artists collaborate, the skies open up and rainbows appear. This rolling world premiere allows Houston's The Ensemble Theatre to partner in the national conversation presenting the story of Maya Angelou as she lived and loved it."

Casting Notice:

The North Carolina Black Repertory Company in Winston-Salem, NC ( is accepting submissions from Equity and non-Equity performers for the title role of Maya Angelou in the world premiere of Phenomenal Maya (working title) by Nambi E. Kelley, recipient of the inaugural Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin Rolling World Premiere Award. Directed by Jackie Alexander. AEA Guest Artist contract. $473/weekly minimum, plus pension/health/per diem/travel/housing. Please email headshot and resume to Lawrence Evans at Casting Notice: PHENOMENAL MAYA-North Carolina Black Repertory Company.

New York auditions will be held by appointment only. First rehearsal: April 7, 2020. Performances: April 30 - May 17, 2020 in Winston-Salem, NC. Subsequent productions will be presented by Hattiloo Theatre (Memphis), First rehearsal: July 28, 2020, Performances: September 4-27, 2020 and The Ensemble Theatre (Houston), First rehearsal: December 15, 2020, Performances: January 16-February 28, 2021. Actress must be available for rehearsal and production run in all three productions.


DR. MAYA: African-American female. 40 to early 60's. A versatile and skilled actress to play very young to very mature. A brown-skinned Black woman who is tall like a tree with the broad shoulders and spirit of a woman who has lived on her own terms her entire life. She sings, dances, acts, writes, directs, leads nations, and is simply larger than life, playing herself at multiple stages of her life as MY, MARGUERITE, RITA, Maya Angelou, and DR. MAYA. The actress plays these stages with the specificity and precision of a surgeon, with the freedom of flight. She is quick-witted, hilarious, and always takes a tragic story and flips it on its head by telling it through a smile. Her tears are carefully chosen, to make a point. She has full use of her body, is fluid like a swan and 100 percent herself.


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