Rehearsals Are Underway For McCarter Theatre's FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN

Rehearsals are now underway at McCarter Theatre Center for the world premiere of Will Power's new play Fetch Clay, Make Man. Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Des McAnuff, the production will begin previews on Friday, January 8 with an Opening Night set for Friday, January 15, 2010. The production will run through Sunday, February 14 on the Berlind stage of McCarter Theatre Center (91 University Place, Princeton, NJ).

The cast will feature John Earl Jelks, Sonequa Martin, Richard Masur, Evan Parke and Tony Award winner Ben Vereen.

In the days before one of the most controversial fights in boxing history, 23-year-old heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali formed an improbable bond with former Hollywood star Stepin Fetchit. Set in the heady times of the mid-1960s, Fetch Clay, Make Man explores the story of two wildly different men, each struggling to create and shape his image and legacy. Will Power's absorbing tale is a rhythmic, expressive, and innovative exploration of one of the missing pages in America's history book.

The creative team for Fetch Clay, Make Man will include Riccardo Hernandez (scenic design), Paul Tazewell (costume design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Darron L West (soundscape), Justin Ellington (original music), Peter Nigrini (projection design) and Lisa Shriver (movement consultant).


Tickets are available at the McCarter Theatre Ticket Office (91 University Place, Princeton)) by calling (609) 258-2787; toll-free 1-888-278-7932; or online at Special Veteran ticket price $20 and student tickets are $12. McCarter Theatre Center is wheelchair accessible and is fully equipped with a hearing enhancement system. Group rates are available by calling (609) 258-6526.

A pioneer in Hip Hop Theater, playwright Will Power has created his own style of theatrical storytelling, fusing original music, rhymed language and dynamic choreography to produce compelling evenings of work. His adaptation of the Greek tragedy Seven Against Thebes, re-titled The Seven, completed a successful Off-Broadway run at the New York Theater Workshop and made its West Coast premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse. He received the prestigious 2008 USA Prudential Fellowship, the first annual TCG Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, a 2005 Joyce Award, a 2005 NYFA Fellowship, a 2004 Jury Award for Best Theatre Performance at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival, and a 2004 Drama Desk nomination for Best Solo Performance.

Des McAnuff (Director) is a two-time Tony Award winner and artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. He is Director Emeritus and former Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse, where he has directed over 30 productions. Broadway: Jersey Boys (four Tonys including Best Musical, now with seven companies around the world); Guys and Dolls; Aaron Sorkin's The Farnsworth Invention; Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays (Theatrical Event Tony); Dracula: The Musical; How to Succeed...; The Who's Tommy (director/co-author with Pete Townshend; Tony for Director; Olivier for Director/Musical); A Walk in the Woods; Big River (seven Tonys including Director/Musical).Film: Cousin Bette and Rocky and Bullwinkle (director); The Iron Giant (producer); Quills (executive producer). Upcoming: The Tempest (starring Christopher Plummer) and As You Like It at Stratford; a new opera commissioned by ENO and the Met with composer Michael Torke and lyricist Michael Korie.

John Earl Jelks (Brother Rashid) was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in August Wilson's Radio Golf, which he also toured to McCarter, Goodman Theatre, Center Stage, Seattle Rep, Mark Taper Forum, and Yale Rep. He also appeared on Broadway with Phylicia Rashad in Gem of the Ocean after runs at Goodman, Huntington, and Mark Taper Forum, where he won an NAACP Theater Award and an L.A. Ovation Award. In 2008, Mr. Jelks won an AUDELCO Award for the off- Broadway revival of The First Breeze of Summer. Most recently, he appeared in Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna.

Sonequa Martin (Sonji Clay) made her New York stage debut in the world premiere of Loss of Shadows and has also appeared in a workshop of Lisa Kron's Five Questions, directed by Leigh Silverman. She can currently be seen in the Sundance Film Festival Official Selection Toe to Toe, opposite Leslie Uggams. Her other screen credits include the independent film Rivers Wash Over Me, the upcoming film Yelling to the Sky, and guest appearances on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Good Wife, and multiple episodes of Army Wives.

Richard Masur (William Fox) first appeared on Broadway in 1973 in The Changing Room. He has starred in more than 50 feature films, including Risky Business, My Girl, Heaven's Gate, Heartburn, Under Fire, and Todd Solondz' Palindromes. He has also appeared on several television series and in over 40 television movies, including The Burning Bed opposite Farrah Fawcett, for which he received an Emmy nomination. He also received a DGA Award for directing Torn Between Two Fathers and an Academy Award for the short film Lovestruck, which he wrote and directed. His recent theater credits include The Oldsmobiles (The Flea), Michael Frayn's Democracy, The Exonerated, Rinne Groff's The Ruby Sunrise (The Public), Mike Leigh's 2000 Years, and Leslie Ayvazian's Make Me (Atlantic). Masur served as National President of Screen Actors Guild from 1995 to 1999.

Evan Parke (Muhammad Ali) has performed on Broadway in The Lion King and off-Broadway in Signature Theatre's Zooman and The Sign and Kraine Theatre's American Passenger. A graduate of Yale School of Drama, Parke has performed extensively in regional theater, including appearances in Famous Orpheus (Geva); The Old Settler (Intiman); and The Skin of Our Teeth (Yale Rep). On screen, he has been seen in numerous TV shows including Without a Trace, Dragnet, Jake in Progress, and Alias, and his film work includes The Cider House Rules, The Replacements, Planet of the Apes, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and King Kong.

One of the world's most talented and versatile performers, Ben Vereen (Stepin Fetchit) has left his mark on the Broadway stage, the concert and lecture circuit, and in film and television. On Broadway he has starred in Wicked, Fosse, I'm Not Rappaport, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin, Grind, and Jelly's Last Jam. For his role in Pippin, Vereen won the prestigious Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for Best Actor in a Musical. His television credits include memorable roles that stand the test of time, such as the unforgettable Chicken George in Roots and Louis Armstrong in Louis Armstrong - Chicago Style. His own network special, Ben Vereen: His Roots, won seven Emmy Awards. His film credits include Sweet Charity, All That Jazz, Funny Lady (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination), Why Do Fools Fall in Love, And Then Came Love, and the animated movie Once Upon a Forest.

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