Diversity Series Presents NEAT Starring Marti Gobel 1/13-2/5


Renaissance Theaterworks (RTW) celebrates the 2nd year of its 3-year Diversity Series with NEAT by Charlayne Woodard. RTW Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director Suzan Fete will direct this play featuring UPROOTED Theatre Co-Founder Marti Gobel.

Running most evenings January 13-February 5 2012 at the Studio Theatre, 158 N. Broadway, tickets can be purchased now for $34 in person at the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office, by telephone at (414) 291-7800, or online. Click here to buy tickets and see full schedule. There will be a special talk-back after the show on January 2. .

In the oral traditions of West Africa and the African diaspora, Charlayne Woodard is a modern-day griot. This magnificent storyteller spins her own exquisite real-life remembrance of her brain damaged aunt, Neat, and the profound change she brought to Charlayne's life. Neat, with her enormous love, energy, simplicity and magnificent clarity, teaches the young Charlayne what it is to cherish life. A magical, compelling, personal portrait of a young woman's coming of age, NEAT is the story of an urban African-American girl bursting into adulthood, experiencing first love, and embracing both black-pride and feminism. An evening of pure joy, compelling insight and hopefulness, NEAT is an inspiration for every family.

The goal of the DIVERSITY Series is to create theater that reflects the face of our community. We made a three-year commitment that 40% of our productions will showcase the stories and talents of people of color. This series was launched with a reading of TWO SISTERS AND A PIANO by Cuban playwright Nilo Cruz, and continued with a fully-staged production of CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY by Pulitzer Prize-winning, African American playwright, Lynn Nottage.

Renaissance Theaterworks will partner for the fifth time with PEARLS for Teen Girls (PEARLS). PEARLS is a local mentoring program for at-risk girls. We have confirmed a PEARLS event for NEAT that will include a private show, transportation to and from the theater, dinner and a chance to meet the Mari Gobel and the director during a talkback - especially designed for the girls - after the show. Through our past collaborations, we have found that this will be the first live theater experience for many of the girls. NEAT is a great choice for a PEARLS event as many the characters portrayed in the play are similar in age and/or ethnicity to the PEARLS girls. Plays with young African-American girls as main characters are a rarity on the Milwaukee stage and RTW is delighted to provide the PEARLS girls with this opportunity.

Charlayne Woodard is currently performing her fourth solo play, THE NIGHT WATCHER, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles. Developed at the Ojai Playwrights’ Festival and La Jolla Playhouse’s Page To The Stage, THE NIGHT WATCHER was produced at Seattle Rep and Primary Stages.

Charlayne’s first solo play, PRETTY FIRE, was produced at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles, Manhattan Theatre Club, Seattle Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse. It received LA Drama Critics and NAACP awards for best play and best playwright.

NEAT was developed at Seattle Repertory Theatre. It was produced at Manhattan Theatre Club, where it received the Irving and Blanche Laurie Theatre Vision Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination; Seattle Repertory Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

Charlayne’s recent theatre credits include THE WITCH OF EDMONTON at the Red Bull Theatre, for which she received an Obie Award; world premieres of IN THE BLOOD by Suzan-Lori Parks, for which she received an Obie Award, STUNNING by David Adjmi at Lincoln Center, PURGATORIO by Ariel Dorfman, and FABULATION by Lynn Nottage. Other notable performances include SORROWS AND REJOICINGS by Athol Fugard, for which she received an Audelco Award; THE GOOD PERSON OF SETZUAN, adapted by Tony Kushner; and THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE directed by George C. Wolfe. On Broadway, she was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk awards for her role in the original company of AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’. Regional credits include MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Titania/Hippolyta) at La Jolla Playhouse and THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (Kate) at Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Charlayne’s recent film credits include: John Sayle’s SUNSHINE STATE; M. Night Shyamalan’s UNBREAKABLE; Wim Wender’s MILLION DOLLAR HOTEL; Arthur Miller's THE CRUCIBLE; John Schlesinger’s EYE FOR AN EYE and AROUND THE FIRE.

Charlayne’s many television credits include the starring role in the Showtime movie, RUN FOR THE DREAM: THE GAIL DEVERS’ STORY; Oprah Winfrey’s THE WEDDING, recurring roles on LAW AND ORDER, SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, ER, and TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNORS CHRONICLES; and many guest starring roles.

A founding member of UPROOTED Theatre, Marti Gobel was seen in Renaissance Theaterworks’ THE PERSIANS, CRUMBS FROM THE TABLE OF JOY and reading of EL NOGALAR. She recently appeared in the short film SPARE CHANGE as well as the web-series GETTING’ GROWN, both directed by award winning director Aaron Greer.

More information at www.r-t-w.com.


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