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Rajiv Joseph's THE LAKE EFFECT to Make Ohio Premiere at Karamu House

Rajiv Joseph's THE LAKE EFFECT to Make Ohio Premiere at Karamu House

Karamu House, the oldest multicultural performing arts center in the country, continues its mission to produce socially relevant, professional quality entertainment.

Karamu presents the Ohio premiere of The Lake Effect from November 2 through November 26, 2017. Written by 2010 Pulitzer Prize-finalist Rajiv Joseph, and produced in collaboration with Ensemble Theatre of Cleveland Heights, all performances will be held in Karamu's newly refurbished Concert Hall located at 2355 East 89th Street, Cleveland, Ohio.

Directed by Celeste Cosentino, Artistic Director of Ensemble Theatre, The Lake Effect features Natalie El Dabh, Lashawn Little, and Ammen Suleiman.

Playwright Rajiv Joseph says "[I'm] so excited for this production and collaboration between these two historic and vital Cleveland theaters! The Lake Effect is the only play of mine that actually takes place in my hometown, and so it's very special to me in that way." He goes on to say, "The Lake Effect is, in many respects, a play about separate worlds colliding. On one level, these worlds are divided by race and culture, but beyond that, it's a play about secrets and families and what binds us together as just regular people."

During a fierce Cleveland mid-winter storm, estranged siblings are reunited by their father's sudden death. In the midst of closing his failing Indian restaurant, a regular customer claims to know much about their father and their family secrets. This spicy comedy serves up a complex platter of sibling rivalry, unlikely friendships, and brash perceptions of race, gender and success.

The Lake Effect was co-commissioned in 2013 by Chicago's Silk Road Rising and Crossroads Theatre of New Brunswick, NJ with development support from NYC's The Lark Play Development Center. The play received its world premiere in April 2013 at Silk Road Rising in Chicago, IL, receiving a 2013 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Play. The play has also been produced at Geva Theatre (Rochester, NY) and TheatreWorks in California. Best known for his Pulitzer Prize-nominated play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Joseph smartly interweaves humorous family drama between two siblings and their deceased father, along with grief and loss, mental health awareness, and traditional gender roles. He pulls the title of the play from the meteorological phenomenon in which warm moist air rising from a body of water mixes with cold dry air overhead, resulting in precipitation.

Rajiv Joseph is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and an award-winning playwright. Rajiv has been called "daring, magnificent, and virtuosic" by the L.A. Times. Joseph wrote Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (a 2010 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), Huck and Holden, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Animals Out of Paper, The Monster at the Door, and The North Pool. He is the book-writer and co-lyricist for the upcoming musical, Fly, adapted from JM Barrie's novel, Peter Pan. He also co-wrote the screenplay for the film Draft DaY. Joseph received his BA in Creative Writing from Miami University and his MFA in Playwriting from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa. Joseph has been awarded a United States Artists Grant, the Whiting Award, the Glickman Award, and the National Endowment for the Arts Outstanding New American Play grant. He is currently a writer on the Showtime television series "Nurse Jackie."

At the helm is Celeste Cosentino who currently serves as Artistic Director of Ensemble Theatre. She has previously served as Artistic Associate and Operations Manager at Ensemble Theatre, and has served in various capacities within Cleveland's theatre scene. Spending many of her formative years at Karamu House while her mother Lucia Colombi was interim Artistic Director, Cosentino is well known and respected in the Cleveland Theatre Community having worked with Cleveland Play House, Dobama Theatre, Clague Playhouse, Cain Park, Bang & Clatter, Willoughby Fine Arts and Weathervane Playhouse. She is a graduate of the Ohio University School of Theatre and returned to Cleveland in 2008 after living and working in New York City. Some of her favorite acting credits are Marela in Anna in the Tropics, Alice in Closer, Desdemona in Othello, and Kayleen in Gruesome Playgound Injuries. Favorite directing credits include The Gospel According to James, Death of a Salesman, Lower Ninth, Animals Out of Paper, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, and The North Pool. She is set to direct both parts of Tony Kushner's epic Angels in America at Ensemble this season.

The cast includes Natalie El Dabh (The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, Case Western Reserve University), Lashawn Little (Karamu's Ceremonies of Dark Men, and Ensemble's The Bloodless Jungle), as well as Ammen Suleiman (Ensemble's Huck and Holden).

Tickets range from $15-$37 and can be purchased by calling Karamu House ticket office at (216) 795-7077 or by visiting www.karamuhouse.org.



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