Westport Country Playhouse Opens 2018 Season With FLYIN' WEST

Westport Country Playhouse Opens 2018 Season With FLYIN' WESTWestport Country Playhouse will open its 2018 Season with an uplifting tale of bravery, pride, and sisterhood, "Flyin' West," written by Pearl Cleage and directed by Seret Scott, playing May 29 through June 16. This year marks the historic theater's 88th season.

"'Flyin' West' is a magical experience, at once funny, suspenseful, gripping, and then completely, joyously satisfying," said Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director. "The characters are richly delineated and the plot crafted to keep you on the edge of your seat. I've loved Pearl Cleage's writing for years and am thrilled to have Seret Scott directing on our stage at last."

"Flyin' West" is set in 1898 as the Civil War is still a living memory and the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas, offers a refuge for many former slaves. At one homestead lives a family of courageous and sharp-witted women determined to make a place for themselves. They overcome tremendous odds in a heroic effort to escape the scars of the past.

Cast members are Brittany Bradford as Fannie Dove (NYC/Regional credits: "For Colored Girls," "The Profane," "The Taming of the Shrew," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Neighbors," "Avenue Q," "Next to Normal," "Ragtime," "Stick Fly"); Michael Chenevert as Frank Charles (NYC: Writer and star of one-man show, "An Adam Experiment," about Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.; TV: "Ugly Betty," "Boardwalk Empire," "The Following"); Nikiya Mathis as Sophie Washington (Off-Broadway: Atlantic Theater Company, The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons; TV: "Braindead" (recurring), "The Blacklist," "Elementary," "Person of Interest," "Madam Secretary," "The Night Of"; Film: "Compliance," "Knucklehead"); Edward O'Blenis as Wil Parish (Westport Country Playhouse: "The Old Settler," "A Member of the Wedding," directed by Joanne Woodward; Film: "Eden," "Proud," "On the Outs"; MFA: Yale School of Drama).

Also, Brenda Pressley as Miss Leah (Broadway: "The Lyons," "The American Plan," original casts of "Cats" and "Dreamgirls"; Film: "Cradle Will Rock," "It Could Happen To You"; TV: "Elementary," "Mysteries of Laura," "Brewster Place"); and Keona Welch as Minnie Dove Charles (Off-Broadway: "Moony's Kid Don't Cry," "Court-Martial at Fort Devens" - AUDELCO Award Best Ensemble; Film: "Custody," "Didn't I Ask For Tea?"; Netflix: "Seven Seconds").

Director Seret Scott has helmed a dozen productions at The Old Globe as an associate artist. Her Off-Broadway directing credits include New Victory Theater, Second Stage, and Pan Asian Repertory Theatre. Regionally she directed "Native Son" at Yale Repertory Theatre, Court Theatre, and Marin Theatre Company. Other regional venues include Long Wharf Theatre and Hartford Stage, among many more. She was recently given a playwright/directing residency with the Eugene O'Neill National Theater Institute. Scott is a former director-in-residence with New Dramatists, a PEW/TCG Artist Residency Grant awardee, a produced playwright, and a Drama Desk Award-winning actress. She is on the executive board of SDC.

Playwright Pearl Cleage is an Atlanta-based writer whose work has won commercial acceptance and critical praise in several genres. She is an award-winning playwright of a dozen works including "Blues for an Alabama Sky," and "Flyin' West," the most-produced new play in the country in 1994. She is also a bestselling author whose first novel, "What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day," was an Oprah Book Club pick and spent nine weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

The design team includes Marjorie Bradley Kellogg, scenic design; Heidi Leigh Hanson, costume design; Stephen Strawbridge, lighting design; and Frederick Kennedy, sound design.

"Flyin West" Production Partners are Johnna G. Torsone and John McKeon; Corporate Production Sponsor is Fidelity Investments.

Performance schedule is Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Special series feature Taste of Tuesday (May 29), LGBT Night OUT (May 31), Opening Night (June 2), Sunday Symposium (June 3), Together at the Table Family Dinner (June 5), Open Captions (June 10), Backstage Pass (June 13), Playhouse Happy Hour (June 14), and Thursday TalkBack (June 14).

Single tickets start at $30; buy early for best prices.

All play titles, artists, and dates are subject to change.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit www.westportplayhouse.org, or call the box office at (203) 227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529, or visit Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, off Route 1, Westport. Stay connected to the Playhouse on Facebook (Westport Country Playhouse), follow on Twitter (@WCPlayhouse), and on YouTube (WestportPlayhouse).

ABOUT Westport Country Playhouse
The mission of Westport Country Playhouse is to enrich, enlighten, and engage the community through the power of professionally produced theater worth talking about and the welcoming experience of the Playhouse campus. The not-for-profit Playhouse provides this experience in multiple ways by offering live theater experiences of the highest quality, under the artistic direction of Mark Lamos; educational and community engagement events to further explore the work on stage; the New Works Circle Initiative, a program dedicated to the discovery, development, and production of new live theatrical works; special performances and programs for students and teachers with extensive curriculum support material; Script in Hand play readings to deepen relationships with audiences and artists; the renowned Woodward Internship Program during the summer months for aspiring theater professionals; Family Festivities presentations to delight young and old alike and to promote reading through live theater; youth performance training through Broadway Method Academy, WCP's resident conservatory program; and the beautiful and historic Playhouse campus open for enjoyment and community events year-round.

Photo: L-R, seated: Brenda Pressley, Nikiya Mathis
L-R, standing: Brittany Bradford, Edward O'Blenis, Keona Welch, Michael Chenevert, Seret Scott, director

Photo by Stephen Emerick

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