BWW TV: Auntie Comes Home In THE FIRST DEEP BREATH At Victory Gardens

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Victory Gardens Theater continues its 45th Anniversary season with the World Premiere of The First Deep Breath by Lee Edward Colston II and directed by Steve H. Broadnax III. The First Deep Breath runs November 15 - December 22, 2019, with press performance on Friday, November 22, 2019 at 7:00pm at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.

Originally developed as part of Victory Gardens 2018 Ignition Festival of New Plays, The First Deep Breath tells the story of Pastor Albert Jones and his family as they plan a special church service to honor their late daughter Diane on the sixth anniversary of her passing. But when Abdul-Malik, the eldest son he blames for her death returns home from prison, the entire Jones family is forced to confront a hornet's nest of long-buried family secrets. Old skeletons claw their way to the dinner table, picking at the scraps of Mother Bethel Baptist's First Family. Written with a ferocious passion by Lee Edward Colston II and directed by Steve Broadnax III, The First Deep Breath finds each member of the ones family desperately fighting to stay afloat, sometimes the family that stays together drowns together.

"We're thrilled to give Lee Edward Colston II's The First Deep Breath its first home at Victory Gardens," says artistic director Chay Yew. "In the tradition of August Wilson, Eugene O'Neill and Tracy Letts, Lee has written a bold and searing Black American family drama for our times. A master storyteller, Lee courageously confronts the bonds of religion, sexuality, secrets and lies that threaten to tear apart the Jones family when their eldest son returns from prison. I can't wait to share this incredible play and introduce Lee to our Chicago audiences this fall."

"My play is about the crushing weight of grief and the liberation of healing," says playwright Lee Edward Colston II. "I wrote a play about our families, about how to heal from the wounds left by parents who, in spite of their mistakes, did the best they could. It's about the sometimes suffocating cost of trying to be a good son or daughter. It's about the secrets that imprison us, learning how to breathe on our own terms and the life-altering transformative power of forgiveness."

The cast of The First Deep Breath includes Patrick Agada (Alexander "AJ" Jones), David Alan Anderson (Pastor Albert Melvin Jones II), Gregory Fenner (Leslie Carter), Jalen Gilbert (Tyree Fisher), Melanie Loren (Dee-Dee Jones), Clinton Lowe (Abdul-Malik), Deanna Reed-Foster (Pearl Thomas), and Celeste Williams (Ruth Jones)

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