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Long Wharf Theatre and Hartford Stage to Present HAVING OUR SAY

Long Wharf Theatre, in co-production with Hartford Stage, presents HAVING OUR SAY: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years, by Emily Mann, directed by Jade King Carroll, from February through April.

The production will run at Long Wharf Theatre from February 17 through March 13, 2016 and will then move to Hartford Stage, running from March 31 through April 24, 2016. Tickets at both theatres run from $20-$85.

The cast includes Olivia Cole (Miss Sadie Delany) and Brenda Pressley (Dr. Bessie Delany.) The creative team includes Alexis Distler (set and video design), Karen Petty (costumes), Nicole Pearce (lighting), Karin Graybash (sound), and Denise Cardarelli (stage manager). Casting by Laura Stanczyk Casting, CSA.

103-year-old Sadie Delany and 101-year-old Bessie Delany were the daughters of a former slave, grew up in the Jim Crow South, lived in Harlem during its renaissance, and had professional careers as a teacher and a dentist, respectively. While they make dinner to remember their father's birthday, the two sisters tell us the story of the last century, as they lived it. It's a personal tale of the fight against injustices big and small, and how they never lost sight of doing the right thing no matter how difficult. History at its most immediate, and poignant. HAVING OUR SAY received three Tony nominations in 1995 and has since been produced internationally to critical acclaim.

"HAVING OUR SAY is an utterly winning evening of theatre," said Long Wharf Theatre Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein. "The Delany sisters survive the racial strife of the 20th century with their charm, warmth, and dignity intact."

"We're delighted to be bringing Emily Mann's work back to Hartford Stage in this co-production with Long Wharf. HAVING OUR SAY is a beautiful piece, and I can't wait to see the wonderful Olivia Cole and Brenda Pressley bring the Delaney sisters to life for our audiences," said Hartford Stage Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak.

Olivia Cole won an Emmy Award for her performance in the 1977 miniseries "Roots," and she was nominated for another Emmy Award for "Backstairs at the White House." Her many Broadway credits include The School for Scandal, You Can't Take It With You and The Merchant of Venice. Heroes, Coming Home and First Sunday are among her films. On TV she also starred opposite Brenda Pressley in Oprah Winfrey's "Brewster Place."

Brenda Pressley's Broadway credits include The Lyons, The American Plan, Cats and Dreamgirls. She counts The First Breeze of Summer, Seven Guitars, And the World Goes Round, Blues in the Night and Mom, How did you meet the Beatles? among her Off-Broadway credits. On TV Pressley appeared on "Law & Order," "Law & Order: SVU" and "New York Undercover," and she starred opposite Olivia Cole in Oprah Winfrey's "Brewster Place."

The Delanys' story has had an interesting evolution over the past three decades. In 1991, New York Times journalist Amy Hill Hearth interviewed the reclusive sisters. Sadie and Bessie then worked with Hearth on crafting their story as an oral history, published in 1993 as "HAVING OUR SAY: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years."

"They were taught to participate in history, not just witness it, and they have had the wit to shape their histories with style. If one likes to trace American literature through the voices of American citizens, one might place the shrewdly decorous Sadie in a Charles Chesnutt story, while Bessie, with her feisty pronouncements and slangy asides, belongs in a Mark Twain monologue," according to a 1993 review of the book in the New York Times.

In 1995 Emily Mann, artistic director of the McCarter Theatre, adapted the book for Broadway. The production, starring Mary Alice and Gloria Foster, ran for 317 performances. The final iteration of the Delanys' lives was created in 1999, when Mann adapted her script for television.

For more information about Long Wharf Theatre or to purchase tickets, visit www.longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282. For more information about Hartford Stage or to purchase tickets, visit www.hartfordstage.org or call 860-527-5151.


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