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Yale Rep to Present Nambi E. Kelley's Stage Adaptation of NATIVE SON


Yale Rep to Present Nambi E. Kelley's Stage Adaptation of NATIVE SON

Yale Repertory Theatre presents NATIVE SON, the critically acclaimed new play by Nambi E. Kelley adapted from the iconic American novel by Richard Wright, directed by Seret Scott, November 24-December 16 at Yale Repertory Theatre (1120 Chapel Street). Opening Night is Thursday, November 30.

The cast of NATIVE SON includes Jason Bowen, Jasai Chase-Owens, Rosalyn Coleman, Jessica Frances Dukes, Joby Earle, Jerod Haynes, Louisa Jacobson, Michael Pemberton, and Carmen Roman.

The production features scenic design by Ryan Emens, costumes by Katie Touart, lighting by Stephen Strawbridge, sound by Frederick Kennedy, dramaturgy by Molly FitzMaurice, technical direction by Jen Seleznow, vocal coaching by Ron Carlos, fight direction by Rick Sordelet, casting by Tara Rubin Casting, and stage management by Caitlin O'Rourke.

Chicago's South Side, the 1930s. Bigger Thomas struggles to find a place for himself in a world whose prejudice has shut him out. After taking a job in a wealthy white man's house, he unwittingly unleashes a series of events that violently and irrevocably seal his fate. Native Son is an unforgettable theatrical experience that captures the power of Richard Wright's iconic novel about oppression, freedom, and justice.

Development and production support are provided by Yale's Binger Center for New Theatre.

Tickets for NATIVE SON range from $12-99 and are available online at, by phone at (203) 432-1234, and in person at the Yale Rep Box Office (1120 Chapel Street). Student, senior, and group rates are also available.


Jason Bowen (Black Rat) is making his Yale Rep debut. Off-Broadway credits include My Mañana Comes at Playwrights Realm. Regional credits include Skeleton Crew (Studio Theatre); Jazz (Baltimore Center Stage); All The Way (Cleveland Play House); As You Like It, Black Odyssey (Denver Center Theatre); The Lake Effect (TheatreWorks Palo Alto); June Moon (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Ruined (La Jolla Playhouse, Huntington Theatre, and Berkeley Rep); A Raisin in the Sun, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (IRNE Award), Prelude to a Kiss, A Civil War Christmas (Huntington Theatre); Love's Labour's Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Commonwealth Shakespeare); Twelfth Night, Othello, The Tempest (Actors' Shakespeare Project); and It's A Wonderful Life: A Radio Play (Merrimack Rep). Television and film credits include Law & Order: SVU, Madam Secretary, Elementary, Braindead, What's Your Number?, and Untouchable. Awards: Best Actor, Boston magazine, 2012.

JASAI CHASE-OWENS (Buddy) is delighted to be making his Yale Rep debut. He graduated from The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at SUNY Purchase with a BFA in acting earlier this year, where his repertory credits include Blues for Mister Charlie (Pete), The Coast of Utopia: Voyage (Vissarion Belinsky), Middletown (Public Speaker), Seven Guitars (Hedley), The Winter's Tale (Autolycus).

Rosalyn Coleman (Hannah) previously appeared at Yale Rep in Miss Julie, Troilus and Cressida, and Starting Monday. Broadway: The Mountain Top, Radio Golf, Seven Guitars, The Piano Lesson, Mule Bone. Off Broadway: Pipeline (Lincoln Center); Breakfast with Mugabe, Zooman and the Sign (Signature Theatre); War (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater); The Sin Eater (59 E. 59th Street); Carson McCullers (Historically Inaccurate), Breath, Boom (Playwrights Horizons); Everybody's Ruby, Insurrection...Holding History (The Public Theater); Major Crimes (Actors Studio). Regional: Women in Jeopardy (Pioneer Theatre Company); Breakfast with Mugabe (Centenary Theatre); Levee James (American Conservatory Theater); Things of Dry Hours (Pittsburgh Public Theater); Doubt (George Street Playhouse). Film: Father's Day, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Twelve, Frankie & Alice, Brooklyn's Finest, Evolution of a Criminal, Indelible, Brown Sugar, Vanilla Sky, Our Song, Music of the Heart, Mixing Nia, Personals, The Opportunists, and The Window. Television: Bull, Madame Secretary, Blue Bloods, Elementary, Oz, Nurse Jackie, White Collar, New Amsterdam, Mercy (pilot), Kidnapped (recurring), Law & Order: CI and SVU, Deadline, D.C., The Piano Lesson, The Ditchdigger's Daughters (Family Channel). MFA, Yale School of Drama. BFA, Howard University.

Jessica Frances Dukes (Bessie) is excited to make her Yale Rep debut. Off-Broadway: Bootycandy (Playwrights Horizons, OBIE Award); Regional: Intimate Apparel (McCarter Theatre); Lady Macbeth in Macbeth (Actors Theatre of Louisville); King Hedley II, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Arena Stage); Detroit 67, Beneatha's Place, Clybourne Park (Baltimore Center Stage); Detroit 67 (Detroit Public Theatre); Stick Fly (Arden Theatre); A Raisin in the Sun, The Piano Lesson (Geva Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre); The Trip to Bountiful (Cleveland Play House); Jitney (Ford's Theatre); Bootycandy, Eclipsed, Fever Dream, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (Woolly Mammoth, company member); as well as work at the Folger, among others. Television and film: NCIS: New Orleans, The Good Wife, Bernard and Huey, A Raisin in the Sun Revisited. MFA: The Catholic University of America.

Joby Earle (Jan) previously appeared at Yale Rep in Owners. Broadway: War Horse; Off-Broadway: Familiar (Playwrights Horizons), Julius Caesar, and Romeo and Juliet (Smith Street Stage). Selected regional credits: These Paper Bullets! (Geffen Playhouse), The Tempest (American Repertory Theater, South Coast Rep), and The Puppetmaster of Lodz (Berkshire Theatre Group). Television: The Blacklist, The Good Fight, The Exorcist. He received his MFA from Yale School of Drama and teaches at NYU, Yale College, and CUNY, as well as privately.

Jerod Haynes (Bigger) is excited to make his Yale Rep debut and to reprise the role of Bigger Thomas, which he played in the Court Theatre/American Blues Theater world premiere in Chicago, for which he won the Jeff Award, and subsequently at Marin Theatre Company. Based in Chicago, where he has appeared as Walter Lee in ?A Raisin in the Sun (TimeLine Theatre Company), Jack Johnson in The Royale (American Theater Company), and Citizen Barlow in Gem of the Ocean (Court Theatre), Mr. Haynes trained at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford. He is perhaps best-known for playing Tommy in the Sundance hit, ?Southside with You (2016). Jerod also has appeared in independent films including Consumed (2015) and Animals (2014), on television in Empire, Sense8, and Crisis. Most recently, he co-wrote, co-produced, and starred in Blueprint, an independent film about a young man emotionally and mentally processing the murder of his best friend due to police brutality, which had its world premiere at the 2017 Deauville International Film Festival and also screened at the Chicago International Film Festival. Upcoming: the film Benji in 2018 from Blumhouse.

Louisa Jacobson (Mary Dalton) is thrilled to be making her Yale Rep debut. She is a second-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where she has been seen in Escape from Happiness. Other credits include The Other World and Re:Union (Yale Cabaret). She holds a BA in psychology from Vassar College, and studied acting in Oxford with the British American Drama Academy.

Michael Pemberton (Britten) is very happy to make his Yale Rep debut. New York theatre credits include: The Farnsworth Invention, I'm Not Rappaport, Not About Nightingales, Mamma Mia!, Picnic, Hedda Gabler, Sundown/Yellow Moon, Insignificance, Dinner With Friends, Saturday Night, Outward Bound (Drama Desk nomination), You Never Can Tell, and Black Snow. Regional theatres include Cincinnati Playhouse, Pittsburgh City Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Geva Theatre, The Wilma, Wilbur Theatre, George Street Playhouse. Film and television credits include Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn's Finest, The Family Stone, The Affair, The Good Wife, Veep, Madam Secretary, Damages, Blue Bloods, Elementary, Sleepy Hollow, and the Law & Order franchise. Pemberton is also a songwriter and NYC bandleader.

Carmen Roman (Mrs. Dalton) is making her Yale Rep debut. She appeared in the world premiere of Native Son in Chicago. She most recently played Margaret Thatcher in The Audience (TimeLine Theatre). She toured with the National tour of Angels in America and has worked with Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre, Chicago's Court Theatre, Classic Stage Company, Steppenwolf Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, The Wilma, Philadelphia Theatre Company, and Portland Stage, among others. Film and television credits include appearances in Chicago PD, Betrayal, Boss, All My Children, Law & Order, Savages, and the upcoming movie The Pages. She received the Sarah Siddons Award, Jeff Awards for Master Class and Wit, and was a 2002 Fox Fellow. She is a company member at American Blues Theater in Chicago.

NAMBI E. KELLEY (Playwright) has penned plays for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre/American Blues Theater, Lincoln Center Theater Director's Lab, LATT Children's Theatre/Unibooks Publishing Company (South Korea), Teatri Sbagliati (Italy), and The Finger Players (Singapore), where she also performed in the co-adapted production of The Book of Living and Dying. The world premiere of Native Son was nominated for five Jeff Awards including best adaptation and production of the year, and was the highest grossing production in Court Theatre's 60-year history. It is included on the Kilroy's List 2015, in the top 7% of new plays by female and trans* authors and can be purchased through Samuel French. Her other works include an adaptation of Toni Morrison's Jazz (Baltimore Center Stage) and Xtigone (Chicago Danz Theatre Ensemble; African American Shakespeare Company, directed by Rhodessa Jones), and For Her As a Piano (a Goodman Theatre/Chicago Dramatists/Pegasus co-production). A recent finalist for the Francesca Primus Award and the Kevin Spacey Foundation Award, Kelley is the Playwright in Residence at National Black Theatre, where her play Blood will receive a workshop production starring Roscoe Orman in November. Professional affiliations include Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, La Mama E.T.C., Spoleto, Ragdale Foundation, and playwright emeritus at Chicago Dramatists. An accomplished actress, Kelley has performed at theatres across the country and internationally and has been seen on several television shows, including Person of Interest, Madam Secretary, Elementary, and Chicago Justice. Nambi has a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University and an MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College.

Seret Scott (Director) recently directed the world premiere of Native Son at Chicago's Court Theatre and the subsequent production at Marin Theatre Company. At Yale Rep she previously directed Crumbs from the Table of Joy by Lynn Nottage. She is an Associate Artist at The Old Globe. She has directed productions Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre and New Victory Theatre; and at regional theatres including American Conservatory Theater, South Coast Repertory, Long Wharf Theatre, Hartford Stage, Arena Stage, Woolly Mammoth, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Denver Theatre Center, and Philadelphia Theatre Company, among many others.

RYAN EMENS (Scenic Designer) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where his credits include Othello and The Three Sisters. Select designs also include The Emperor of the Moon (Saint Sebastian Players), The Guide to Being Single (Underscore Theatre), Welcome to America (Prologue Theatre), She Kills Monsters (Steppenwolf Garage Rep), Coraline (Black Button Eyes Productions), and Jake's Women (University of Central Florida). He holds a BFA in design and technology from University of Central Florida.

KATIE TOUART (Costume Designer) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where her credits include Othello, Some Bodies Travel, and Fucking A. Yale Cabaret credits include the Satellite Series performances Do All Daddies Have Grey Suits? and The Silent Sex. Katie was thrilled to continue working with children this year as assistant costume designer for the 2017 Dwight/Edgewood Project. A designer and teaching artist from Washington, D.C., with over sixteen years of professional stage and classroom experience, Katie's recent credits include the 2016 Helen Hayes Award winning production of Wiley and the Hairy Man, Rumpelstiltskin, Peter Pan and Wendy (2014 Helen Hayes nomination), and Aladdin's Luck (2012 Helen Hayes Nomination), all at Imagination Stage; The Shipment (Forum Theatre); Duke Ellington's Nutcracker with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Green Is the New Black (Step Afrika!); Five Little Monkeys and Winnie the Pooh (2014 Helen Hayes Nomination) at Adventure Theatre, MTC. Katie holds a BA from the University of Chicago and a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art.

Stephen Strawbridge (Lighting Designer) has designed over 200 productions on and off Broadway and at most leading regional theatres and opera houses across the US. Internationally his work has been seen in Bergen, Copenhagen, The Hague, Hong Kong, Linz, Lisbon, Munich, Naples, São Paolo, Stockholm, Stratford-upon-Avon (for the Royal Shakespeare Company), Wroc?aw, and Vienna. Artistic collaborators have included such notable directors and choreographers as Robert Brustein, Martha Clarke, Ron Daniels, Graciela Daniele, Gordon Edelstein, Barry Edelstein, Richard Foreman, Athol Fugard, Loretta Greco, Mark Lamos, Emily Mann, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Trevor Nunn, Bartlett Sher, Rebecca Taichman, John Tillinger, Robert Wilson, MarK Wing-Davey, and RoBert Woodruff. He has numerous pieces in the repertories of Pilobolus Dance Theatre and Alison Chase/Performance. Recent work includes Turn Me Loose, with Joe Morton, in New York and Los Angeles; American Buffalo, with Treat Williams at Dorset Theatre Festival; Hamlet and Richard II for The Old Globe; and Happy Days, with Dianne Wiest, directed by James Bundy, at Theatre for a New Audience. He has been recognized with numerous awards and nominations including the American Theatre Wing, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle, Connecticut Critics Circle, Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum, Drama Desk, Helen Hayes, Henry Hewes Design, and Lucille Lortel. He is co-chair of the design department at Yale School of Drama and resident lighting designer for Yale Repertory Theatre.

FREDERICK KENNEDY (Sound Designer) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where his credits include If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka: An understanding of a West African folktale, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, and Othello. Other credits include The Trojan Women, Adam Geist, Alice In Wonderland, Envy: the Concert (Yale Summer Cabaret); Re:Union, Débâcles, Lake Kelsey, Vignette of a Recollection, The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens, How We Died of Disease-Related Illnesses, and I'm With You in Rockland (Yale Cabaret). In addition, he recently wrote, co-directed, and performed in Collisions, also at Yale Cabaret, and was the associate sound designer and music coordinator for Yale Rep's Scenes from Court Life, or the whipping boy and his prince. Prior to Yale, Frederick worked full time as a musician, producer, and educator in New York City, where he taught music production at City University of New York and appeared as a drummer on more than 50 albums. His diverse musical career has taken him on tours throughout North America and Europe, as well as to parts of South America, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific.

MOLLY FITZMAURICE (Production Dramaturg) is a second-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where she last dramaturged Blood Special. Other credits include The Apple Tree, The Quonsets, Mrs. Galveston, and her original participatory performance Dating Game (Yale Cabaret); A Guide for the Homesick (Huntington Theatre Company); Tollbooth: A Clown Show, Polaroid Stories, and Grimmfest (First Floor Theater, where she is a company member). Previously, she has worked in the artistic departments of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Huntington Theatre Company, About Face Theatre, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Stage, and Salonathon, an alt-cabaret and new works incubator. She is currently a managing editor of Theater magazine and co-leader of the affinity group Women's Voices in Theatre at the School of Drama. At Yale, she's also served as a mentor for the Dwight/Edgewood Project and a President's Public Service Fellow. She holds a BA from the University of Chicago.

JEN SELEZNOW (Technical Director) previously served as assistant technical director for Cymbeline, Seven Guitars, and Assassins at Yale Rep. She is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where her credits include Women Beware Women and the 2017 Carlotta Festival of New Plays. Prior to Yale, Jen worked for Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Children's Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre Company, among others. She has previously served as the Technical Director for Cornish College of the Arts, DePaul Opera Theate, Porchlight Music Theatre, Red Tape Theatre, Immediate Theatre Company, Lifeline Theatre, and Bayside Theatre. She holds a BFA in theatre technology from The Theatre School at DePaul University and studied technical and production management at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She was the recipient of a Founders Award at USITT Midwest in 2010.

Ron Carlos (Dialect Coach) is a lecturer at Yale School of Drama. Coaching credits include Mary Jane, Assassins, Seven Guitars, War (Yale Rep); The Glass Menagerie, It's Only a Play Broadway); Oedipus El Rey, Gently Down the Stream, Party People, Sweat, Plenty, Privacy (The Public Theater); The Capables (Judson Gym); The Piano Lesson (Hartford Stage); Misalliance, Love's Labour's Lost (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); The Lily's Revenge (American Repertory Theater); television:Orange Is the New Black (Netflix), Madam Secretary (CBS), Power (STARZ), Unforgettable (CBS), and Fringe (Fox); film: Look Away, The Week Of. Ron received his MFA in voice and speech pedagogy from the ART Institute at Harvard. Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework.

Rick Sordelet (Fight Director) and his son, ChristIan Kelly-Sordelet, are the creators of Sordelet Inc., a stage combat company. Among their credits are 72 Broadway productions, including The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, and more than 60 first-class productions on five continents in hundreds of cities around the world. Rick and Christian have been fight directors for dozens of regional theatres around the U.S. Their shows range from Sam Shepard to William Shakespeare. They have four National Tours running across America and Beauty and the Beast internationally. Both Rick and Christian are stunt coordinators for television and film with over 1000 episodes of daytime television and numerous feature films. Rick teaches stage combat for Yale School of Drama and with Christian at HB Studio in NYC.

Tara Rubin CASTING (Casting Director) has been casting at Yale Rep since 2004. Selected Broadway: Falsettos; A Bronx Tale; Dear Evan Hansen; Cats; Disaster!; School of Rock; Doctor Zhivago; It Shoulda Been You; Gigi; Bullets Over Broadway; Aladdin; Les Misérables, Mothers and Sons; Big Fish; The Heiress; How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; A Little Night Music; Billy Elliot; Shrek; Guys and Dolls; Young Frankenstein; The Little Mermaid; Mary Poppins; Spamalot; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; The Producers; Mamma Mia!; Jersey Boys; The Phantom of the Opera. Off-Broadway: Here Lies Love; Old Jews Telling Jokes; Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Regional: Paper Mill Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, Bucks County Playhouse.

CAITLIN O'ROURKE (Stage Manager) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where her credits include Everything That Never Happened, Blood Wedding, Othello, and The Skin of Our Teeth. Other credits include Imogen Says Nothing (assistant stage manager, Yale Repertory Theatre); Antarctica! Which Is to Say Nowhere, Alice in Wonderland (Yale Summer Cabaret); Me, My Mom, & Sharmila (Catharsis Productions); Assistance, A Permanent Image, The Mistakes Madeline Made (LiveWire Chicago Theatre); Much Ado About Nothing, Gruesome Playground Injuries (Rasaka Theatre Company); American Storm (Theatre Seven of Chicago); and more. Caitlin has worked regionally at Actors Theatre of Louisville and was The Managing director of LiveWire Chicago Theatre. She holds a BA in English and theatre from University of Michigan.

Yale Repertory Theatre, the internationally celebrated professional theatre in residence at Yale School of Drama, has championed new work since 1966, producing well over 100 premieres-including two Pulitzer Prize winners and four other nominated finalists-by emerging and established playwrights. Seventeen Yale Rep productions have advanced to Broadway, garnering more than 40 Tony Award nominations and ten Tony Awards. Yale Rep is also the recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.

Established in 2008, Yale's Binger Center for New Theatre has distinguished itself as one of the nation's most robust and innovative new play programs. To date, the Binger Center has supported the work of more than 50 commissioned artists and underwritten the world premieres and subsequent productions of 25 new American plays and musicals at Yale Rep and theatres across the country-including this season's Field Guide created by Rude Mechs.

The Tony Award-winning production of Indecent, created by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel and director Rebecca Taichman, which was commissioned by and premiered at Yale Rep in 2015, will be broadcast on PBS's Great Performances series on November 17. Amy Herzog's play Mary Jane, commissioned and first produced at Yale Rep in April 2017, and hailed by The Wall Street Journal as "the best new play so far this year," is playing at New York Theatre Workshop through October 29.

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