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ANGELA'S MIXTAPE Comes To New Georges 4/6-5/2

New Georges (Susan Bernfield, Artistic Director; Sarah Cameron Sunde, Associate Director), the OBIE Award-winning downtown theater company founded in 1992, and Hip-Hop Theater Festival will present the premiere of OBIE Winning Actress/Pulitzer-nominated playwright Eisa Davis' "ANGELA'S MIXTAPE," directed by Liesl Tommy. Ms. Davis who was recently seen on Broadway in last season's award-winning musical Passing Strange will portray herself and Linda Powell, last seen on Broadway in the Tony-nominated revival On Golden Pond, will portray her aunt, professor and activist Angela Davis. "ANGELA'S MIXTAPE" will be performed at the Ohio Theatre, 66 Wooster Street (between Spring and Broome Streets). Previews begin Monday, April 6, and the official Opening Night will be Thursday, April 9 at 7:00 p.m. Performances will run through May 2.

Using the rhythms of music and memory, in "ANGELA'S MIXTAPE" Eisa tells the story of a radical upbringing on the dividing line between Oakland and Berkeley, California-in a family that includes her aunt, professor and activist Angela Davis. Time shifts between the 70s, 80s, and 90s as smoothly as a DJ fading from song to song. Each track, each memory, has a built-in switch to the next, for theatrical momentum that keeps on building. Crossing cultural borders as it scratches through time, the play moves from Angela's hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, to the House of Detention where she was once held prisoner, to the playgrounds of Eisa's Bay Area public schools, the dorm rooms of the Ivy League and the shores of Senegal. The music crosses styles and decades, but it's hip-hop and a b-girl stance that keeps the piece bouncing in the present. It's just your average black macrobiotic revolutionary dancing family.

Eisa Davis is a writer and performer whose plays include Bulrusher (2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist), Warriors Don't Cry, Hip Hop Anansi, Paper Armor, Six Minutes and Umkovu. She is a resident playwright at New Dramatists, and her playwriting honors include the Helen Merrill Award and the John Lippman New Frontier Award. This summer, her play The History of Light will be presented at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in West Virginia. As an actor she won an OBIE for her performance in Stew and Heidi Rodewald's Public Theater/ Berkeley Repertory Theatre production of Passing Strange, which also moved to Broadway. Film director Spike Lee filmed the final three Broadway Passing Strange performances and premiered the film at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Eisa has starred in many theatrical productions in New York and at regional theatres around the country. On Broadway she was also seen in The Violet Hour, and Off-Broadway in Belize and June and Jean in Concert. Her television appearances include: "The Wire," "Law & Order," and "Soul Food." Film appearances include: Passing Strange, Welcome to the Rileys, Robot Stories, The Architect, Confess, Apparition of the Eternal Church, and Happenstance. As a singer-songwriter her solo debut full-length album Something Else is available online at i-Tunes and CD Baby.

Director Liesl Tommy comes to this production directly from having helmed the Public Theater's world premiere production of Tracey Scott Wilson's The Good Negro. Other New York theater credits include Split Ends at La MaMa E.T.C.; the one-acts Bus and Our Children from the Play Company's Romania. Kiss Me! Play Festival at 59E59; Quiara Alegría Hudes' Adventures of Barrio Grrrl at Arielle Tepper's Summer Play Festival; Lynn Nottage's A Stone's Throw at Women's Project; and Kia Corthron's Dual at Sanctuary Playwrights' Theatre. She has also directed at regional theaters across the country including Trinity Rep, Dallas Theatre Center, Hartford Stage, the Sundance Theatre Institute, and the Berkshire Theatre Festival. She is a proud native of Cape Town, South Africa.

The complete five-member cast for "ANGELA'S MIXTAPE" will be: Eisa Davis (as Eisa), Linda Powell (Angela), Kim Brockington (Mommy), Denise Burse (Grandma and other characters), and Ayesha Ngaujah (Cess and other characters). Ms. Powell made her Broadway debut in the Tony-nominated revival of Wilder, Wilder, Wilder at Circle in the Square. Other noteworthy NY theater credits include: The Overwhelming at the Roundabout; Ominium Gatherum at Variety Arts; Jar the Floor at Second Stage; Jitney at Union Square Theater and Finder's Fee at Rattlestick. Ms. Brockington's New York theater credits include Zora Neale Hurston at the American Place Theatre; Holiday Heart at Manhattan Theatre Club; and Killa Dilla at the Working Theatre. Ms. Burse is perhaps best known for her role of Claretha Jenkins on the television series Tyler Perry's House of Payne. Her numerous stage appearances have included roles in Radio Golf, Fences, Miss Evers' Boys, and An American Daughter; and Ms. Ngaujah portrayed Eisa in the Synchronicity Performance Group production of Angela's Mixtape and at the Alliance Theater she portrayed Red Dog in Allison Gregory and Steven Dietz's adaptation of P.D. Eastman's GoDogGo! The set design will be by Clint Ramos; the costume design by Jessica Jahn; the lighting design by Sarah Sidman; and the sound design by Jane Shaw. The production stage manager will be Ryan Raduechel.

New Georges' (www.newgeorges.org) notable productions have included: Jenny Schwartz's God's Ear; Wendy Weiner's Hillary: A Modern Greek Tragedy With a (Somewhat) Happy Ending; Susan Bernfield's Stretch (a fantasia); Sheila Callaghan's Dead City (a winner of the 2007 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize); Deb Margolin's Three Seconds in the Key (winner of the 2005 Kesselring Prize); Lisa D'Amour's Anna Bella Eema; Jenny Lyn Bader's None of the Above; and Carson Kreitzer's Self Defense, or death of some salesmen. The company, in addition to producing regular seasons, is a play and artist development organization, providing essential resources and opportunities to a community of venturesome artists.

Hip-Hop Theater Festival (www.hhtf.org) was founded in 2000 and continues to invigorate the fields of theater and Hip-Hop by: nurturing the creation of innovative work within the Hip-Hop aesthetic; presenting and touring American and international artists whose work addresses the issues relevant to the Hip-Hp generation; and serving young, urban communities through outreach and education that celebrates contemporary language and culture. "ANGELA'S MIXTAPE" is being presented with New Georges and Hip-Hop Theater Festival as a joint world premiere with Synchronicity Performance Group (Atlanta), who produced it in 2008.

The complete schedule for "ANGELA'S MIXTAPE" (April 6 through May 2) will be: Mondays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. The opening night performance on Thursday, April 9 will start at 7:00 pm. The ticket price will be $20.00 for general admission (including students and seniors), with a $35.00 reserved premium ticket also available. Monday night performances are "pay-what-you-will" at the door only. TDF vouchers will be accepted. The box office number for reservations is 212-868-4444 or www.smarttix.com. For more information and group rates call 646-336-8077.

 


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