Northwestern University Presents THE STATE(S) OF AMERICA, 3/4-6


 The Theatre and Interpretation Center at Northwestern University (TIC) presents The State(s) of America: The Regina Taylor Project, a one-weekend-only festival of student-created new works, curated by Regina Taylor. The festival runs Friday, March 4 - Sunday, March 6, 2011.
Regina Taylor, playwright, director and stage/television actress, was in residence at Northwestern in fall of 2010, working with students to create a fearless, one-weekend-only festival of original works that examine the issues currently facing our nation. From plays to video shorts to photographs to songs, students were encouraged to create pieces that challenge all of us to examine who we are as individuals and how we can own our voices to make a difference in the world today.
The Regina Taylor Project will include a special symposium on Sunday, March 6 led by celebrated author and Northwestern Associate Professor Harvey Young, featuring Regina Taylor and Henry Godinez. The symposium is open to the public with general admission seating limited to the first 100 guests.
The State(s) of America: The Regina Taylor Project grew out of a racially-charged event that took place on campus in fall 2009. A group of Northwestern students attended a Halloween party wearing costumes that inadvertently offended the minority study body. In response, the Northwestern student theatre community expressed to TIC Artistic Director Henry Godinez a desire to address the complex issues of identity, race, diversity and politics raised by this incident through their curriculum - and The Regina Taylor Project was born.
"I've been fortunate to have had a 15-year artistic relationship with Regina Taylor and can think of no better person to stimulate thoughtful conversation among Northwestern students than her," says Godinez. "Regina is not only an exceptionally gifted artist, but a sensitive educator who values open discourse and inspires students to share their own opinions responsibly. With Regina's guidance, The State(s) of America: The Regina Taylor Project afforded our students here at Northwestern the rare experience of creating original work that expresses their hopes, fears and concerns, and truly gives voice to the way they see the world in which they live."
More than 50 members of the Northwestern University community - both students and faculty - took advantage of the opportunity to work with Taylor to create a festival that is personal, provocative and challenging, and also reflects one of the core goals of TIC - to create a place where artists and audiences may explore differences and discover similarities, a place to learn more about others as a means to learning more about ourselves. 
"I wanted to challenge Northwestern students to own their perspectives on what's happening in our world today. They have more than met the challenge in these works that are thoughtful, provocative and complex; these are passionate entries into their minds and hearts," says Taylor.
The Project is comprised of four pieces that will in rep throughout the weekend in three different performance venues on the Evanston campus. "ID explores the constructs of identity, the pieces dissect and reconstruct issues of race, gender and sexuality; Dreams is a series of plays exploring The American Dream, and the dreamscape shifts as the reality of our times is revealed; Becoming navigates young minds as they propel themselves into the unknown territory of their future; and Eyes on the World is a moving series of short films that explore America at its crossroads, colliding headlong with the past, present and future, " adds Taylor.
ID and Dreams will be performed in the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive; Becoming will be performed in the Wallis Theater, 1949 Campus Drive; and Eyes on the World will be shown in Annie May Swift, 1920 Campus Drive.

Regina Taylor (Curator) has an impressive body of work that encompasses film, television, theater and writing. Taylor is best known to television audiences for her role as Lilly Harper in the series "I'll Fly Away," for which she received the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series, an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Taylor was most recently seen starring in the CBS hit drama "The Unit". She took home the NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Actress in a Drama" for her work on the show. Taylor made her professional acting debut on CBS in the movie "Crisis at Central High" and other television credits include the series "The Education of Max Bickford," "Feds" as well as television movies "Strange Justice" playing Anita Hill, earning her a Peabody Award and Gracie Award, "In From the Night," "Cora Unashamed," "Children of the Dust," "I'll Fly Away: Then and Now," "Howard Beach:  Making a Case for Murder." Segueing effortlessly between the big and small screen, Taylor has starred in blockbuster films alongside some of Hollywood most talented leading men. Her film credits include "The Negotiator," "Courage Under Fire," "A Family Thing," "The Keeper," "Clockers," "Losing Isaiah," and "Lean on Me."

In addition to her film and television work, Taylor holds the honor as being the first Black woman to play William Shakespeare's Juliet in Broadway's Romeo and Juliet.  Her other theater credits include As You Like It, Macbeth, Machinal, A Map of The World, The Illusion and Jar the Floor.  In addition, she won the L.A. Dramalogue Award for her performance in The Tempest on the west coast. Taylor's credits as playwright include Oo-Bla-Dee for which she won the American Critics' Association new play award, Drowning Crow (her adaptation of Chekhov's The Seagull, which was produced on Broadway by Manhattan Theater Club in its inaugural season at the Biltmore Theater and starred Alfre Woodard), The Dreams of Sarah Breedlove, A Night in Tunisia, Escape from Paradise, Watermelon Rinds, and Inside the Belly of the Beast. Taylor's critically acclaimed "Crowns" continues to be the most performed musical in the country. It is the winner of four Washington D.C. Helen Hayes awards including Taylor's win for Best Direction as well as Best Regional Musical. Taylor's play Magnolia premiered at Chicago's Goodman Theatre in March 2009 directed by Anna Shapiro. Taylor's new trilogy, The Trinity River Plays premieres this season at as a co-production with the Dallas Theater Center and the Goodman Theatre in January. Taylor is a member and Artistic Associate of the Goodman Theatre. She received the Hope Abelson Award from Northwestern in 2010. She received an honorary doctorate from DePaul University. She was raised in Dallas, Texas and recently moved to Chicago.

Henry Godinez (TIC Artistic Director and Northwestern University Theatre Department Associate Profesor) is the resident artistic associate at the Goodman where his directing credits include Mariela in the Desert, Millennium Mambo, Straight As A Line, the Goodman/Teatro Vista co-production of Cloud Tectonics, and A Christmas Carol from 1996-2001.   He is curator of the Goodman's Latino Theatre Festival and co-founder of Teatro Vista, where he directed Broken Eggs, El Paso Blue, Journey of the Sparrows, Santos & Santos and The Crossing.  Other directing credits include Esperanza Rising and A Year with Frog and Toad (Chicago Children's Theatre), Two Sisters and a Piano (Apple Tree/Teatro Vista), Anna in the Tropics (Victory Gardens), Boleros for the Disenchanted (Yale Repertory Theatre), True West (Portland Center Stage), Urban Zulu Mambo starring Regina Taylor (Signature Theatre in NYC), The Winter's Tale (Missouri Repertory Theatre), Macbeth (Oak Park Festival Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Colorado Shakespeare Festival) and several seasons of Stories on Stage for WBEZ Chicago Public Radio.
Harvey Young (Northwestern University Theatre Department Associate Professor) is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Northwestern University, where he also holds appointments in African-American Studies, Performance Studies, and Radio/Television/Film. He is the author of more than a dozen articles and two dozen reviews/essays on black theatre and performance. His first book, Embodying Black Experience: Stillness, Critical Memory, and the Black Body (University of Michigan Press) was published in July 2010. His co-edited anthology Performance in the Borderlands (Palgrave Macmillan) is being published this year. His current research projects include a study on the operation of race within virtual and online communities and a historical study of post-1968 theatre in Chicago. Dr. Young is Director of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama program.
About the Theatre and Interpretation Center at Northwestern University
The Theatre and Interpretation Center at Northwestern University produces and presents as many as 40 productions annually, in four theatres, for the School of Communication, and in partnership with the Departments of Theatre and Performance Studies, and the Dance Program.   In addition, the Center produces the annual Waa-Mu Show, an original student written and performed musical, and is home for the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) that is dedicated to developing and producing new musicals by leading local and national artists.   Celebrating its 30th anniversary and currently under the leadership of Artistic Director Henry Godinez and Managing Director Diane Claussen, the Center is a rich laboratory for experimentation for 400 undergraduate and graduate students who create, design, direct and perform in classic and contemporary plays, dance performances and musicals directed by faculty, MFA students and guest professional artists.   The Center reflects the academic mission and values of the University, the curricular needs of the Theatre and Performance Studies departments, the educational priorities of Communication students and seeks to engage through performance the campus and greater Metropolitan Chicago area communities in civic dialogue.   The Dean of Northwestern University's School of Communication is Barbara O'Keefe, Rives Collins is Chair of the Department of Theatre and E. Patrick Johnson is Chair of the Department of Performance Studies.  President Morton Schapiro and Provost Daniel Linzer lead Northwestern University.
State(s) of America: The Regina Taylor Project Schedule
Friday 8pm, Saturday 11pm, Sunday 2pm
Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive
Friday 11pm, Saturday 8pm, Sunday 3:30pm
Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive
Friday-Saturday 6:30pm & 9:30pm, Sunday 5pm & 7pm
Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater, 1949 Campus Drive
Eyes on the World
Friday-Saturday 6:30pm & 9:30pm, Sunday 5pm & 7pm
Annie May Swift, 1920 Campus Drive
Lunch & Symposium
Sunday, March 6, Noon-1:30pm
Location TBD
Tickets & Festival Pass
Ticket prices for the short plays Dreams, Becoming and ID are $15 for the general public, $10 for seniors (over 65), Northwestern faculty/staff and area educators, and $5 for students and NU alumni graduated within two years. Tickets for the short film Going & Coming are $5. Symposium & lunch tickets are $5.  
Audience members may experience the entire festival with two different pass options.  The Sunday All-Day Pass includes tickets to all four events being presented back-to-back on Sunday, March 6, as well as a the lunch and symposium. Prices are $35 general public; $30 seniors (over 65), Northwestern faculty/staff and area educators and $20 full-time students. For audience members unable to attend the entire festival in one day, they may instead select their own dates and times with the Festival Flex-Pass, which includes all four events (the symposium and lunch must be purchased separately).  Flex-pass prices are $30 general public; $25 seniors (over 65), Northwestern faculty/staff and area educators, $15 full-time students.
For more information about purchasing tickets and festival passes, please call (847) 491-7282 or visit


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