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LCT3's ON THE LEVEE Begins Previews 6/14

Lincoln Center Theater (under the direction of Andre Bishop, Artistic Director and Bernard Gersten, Executive Producer) announced that Amari Cheatom, Brian D. Coats, Chuck Cooper, Maria Couch, Harriett D. Foy, Dion Graham, April Matthis, Jacob Ming-Trent, Seth Numrich, Stephen Plunkett, Michael Siberry and Shelley Thomas will be featured in its upcoming LCT3 world premiere production of ON THE LEVEE, a play with music, conceived and directed by Lear deBessonet, with play by Marcus Gardley, and music and lyrics by Todd Almond. The production will be presented at The Duke on 42nd Street, a New 42nd Street® project (229 West 42 Street) beginning Monday, June 14, through Saturday, July 10. Opening night is Monday, June 28 at 6:45pm. LCT3 is Lincoln Center Theater's programming initiative devoted to producing the work of new artists and developing new audiences. Paige Evans is the Director of LCT3.

ON THE LEVEE tells the story of two fathers and sons - a white cotton farmer (Michael Siberry) and his poet son (Sam Numrich), and an African-American bootblack (Dion Graham) and his offspring (Amari Cheatom) - inspired by the Great Flood of 1927 in Greenville, Mississippi when 5000 black laborers were left stranded on a levee.

The production has sets by Peter Ksander, costumes by Emily Rebholz, lighting by Justin Townsend, sound by Leon Rothenberg and projections by Austin Switser. Acclaimed visual artist Kara Walker will be creating new art for the production.

Conceiver-Director Lear deBessonet's productions include a site-specific Don Quixote in collaboration with playwright Lucy Thurber in Philadelphia, Brecht's Saint Joan of the Stockyards at PS 122, transfigures (Women's Project) and productions at the HERE Arts Center, NY Fringe and NYU's Experimental Theatre Wing. Marcus Gardley (play) is a playwright-poet who received the 2008 Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwright and the prestigious 2007 Kesselring Honoree Award. His plays include Love is a Dream House in Lorin (Shotgun Players, Berkeley, CA.), dance of the holy ghost (Yale Rep), (L)imitations of Life (Empty Space Theatre) and like sun fallin' in the mouth (National Black Theatre Festival). Todd Almond (music and lyrics) is a composer, lyricist and performer whose musicals include People Like Us (NY Musical Theatre Festival), Girlfriend (Berkeley Rep), Ahraihsak (Theatre Mitu) and the upcoming We Have Always Lived In The Castle (Yale Rep). His songs have been performed by such theatre performers as Victoria Clark, Cheyenne Jackson, Jayne Houdyshell, Laura Benanti and Stephen Pasquale.

Citing the need to develop strong relationships with new artists and to build new audiences, Lincoln Center Theater created LCT3 to offer these artists fully staged productions. LCT has just begun construction of a new theater, rehearsal and office space complex on the roof of the Vivian Beaumont Theater. The 131 seat theater, to be named the Claire Tow Theater, is scheduled to open in 2012 and will be the home of LCT3.

This world premiere of ON THE LEVEE will be the final production in Lincoln Center Theater's 25th Anniversary year during which it produced a season of entirely new work. In addition to ON THE LEVEE, LCT is currently presenting the LCT3 New York premiere of Graceland, a new play by Ellen Fairey, directed by Henry Wishcamper, May 3 through May 29, at The Duke on 42nd Street and the world premiere of A.R. Gurney's The Grand Manner, directed by Mark Lamos, beginning Wednesday, June 2 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, and the Tony Award winning production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific, directed by Bartlett Sher, which will end its record-breaking run at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on Sunday, August 22.

ON THE LEVEE will be performed Monday through Saturday evenings at 8pm, with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2pm. (There is no Wednesday matinee on June 16.) Tickets, priced at $20, are available at The Duke on 42nd Street Box Office, by visiting or by calling 646.223.3010. For additional information on LCT3 please visit

Amari Cheatom Off-Broadway: Book of Grace (Public Theater), Zooman and the Sign (Signature Theatre). TV: Numb3rs.

Brian D. Coats Off-Broadway: Merry Wives of Windsor and Two Gentlemen of Verona (NYSF at the Delacorte), and productions at HERE, Theatre for the New City and The Culture Project. TV: Law & Order, How To Make It in America, The Sopranos, Jag. Film: Friendship.

Chuck Cooper Broadway: Finian's Rainbow, Lennon, Caroline or Change, Chicago, The Life (Tony Award). Off Broadway: Marco Polo Sings a Solo, Avenue X, Police Boys. TV/Film: Gossip Girl, Nurse Jackie, Law & Order, Without a Trace, Third Watch, Oz, American Gangster, Evening, Noise.

Maria Couch New York theater: Wallenberg, A Time to be Born, Unlock'd, Iron Curtain, Happy Anniversary. National tours: Phantom, Annie, Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Harriett D. Foy Broadway: The American Plan, Mamma Mia!, Once On This Island. Off-Broadway: Crowns, Lone Star Love. National Tours and Regional Theater: The Women of Brewster Place (Helen Hayes Award nomination), After the War (ACT), Dance of the Holy Ghost (Yale Rep), Seven Guitars (Center Stage). TV: Rescue Me, Law & Order.

Dion Graham Broadway: Not About Nightingales. Off Broadway: 10 Things to Do Before I Die, Lobby Hero, Elliot Loves, A View of the Dome. Regional: productions at The Old Globe, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Center Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse. . TV: Gossip Girl, The Wire, Third Watch, Law & Order: SVU, Homicide, NYPD Blue.

April Matthis Off Broadway: LEAR (Soho Rep), The Sound & the Fury (ERS/NYTW), Dead City, Anna Bella Eema (New Georges). Regional: Rust (Magic, San Francisco), San Culottes in the Promised Land (Actors, Louisville), Home (NC Stage), Venus (SVT, Austin).

Jacob Ming-Trent Broadway: Shrek, The Musical. Regional: Continental Divide (La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, Barbican/London) and productions at ACT in San Francisco, Pittsburgh Musical Theatre and Vermont Shakespeare Co. Film/TV: Law & Order: C.I., The Unexpected, The Crime.

Seth Numrich Off-Broadway: Blind and Slipping (Rattlestick Theatre), Gates of Gold, Too Much Memory, Iphigenia 2.0. Regional credits include: The History Boys (Ahmanson Theatre/LA), Summer and Smoke (Guthrie Theater). TV: Gravity. Film: How To Kill A Mockingbird.

Stephen Plunkett Off-Broadway: The Orphan's Home Cycle, Finding Neverland, This Beautiful City, Gone Missing, The Horton Foote Project. TV: Mercy, Law & Order:C.I.. Film: Baader Meinhof.

Michael Siberry LCT: When the Rain Stops Falling, The Frogs. Broadway: Spamalot, The Sound of Music, Nicholas Nickleby. Many productions with England's RSC including: Richard III, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, All's Well That Ends Well, As You Like It. Film and TV: If Looks Could Kill, Victoria & Albert, Beast, Sherlock Holmes, Noble House.

Shelley Thomas Broadway: Brooklyn, The Musical; Rent. Off-Broadway: Zanna, Don't. TV: Immaculate Conception (Lifetime).

About the organization: The New 42nd Street®
Founded in 1990, The New 42nd Street is an independent, nonprofit organization charged with long-term responsibility for seven historic theaters on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. In addition to running The New Victory®, The New 42nd Street built and operates the New 42nd Street Studios - a ten-story building of rehearsal studios, offices and a 200-seat theater named The Duke on 42nd StreetSM - for national and international performing arts companies. Since its opening on June 21, 2000, the New 42nd Street Studios has been fully occupied by both nonprofit and commercial theater, dance and opera companies. With these institutions and the other properties under its guardianship, The New 42nd Street plays a pivotal role in fostering the continued revival of this famous street at the Crossroads of the World.

About the theater: The Duke on 42nd StreetSM
The Duke on 42nd StreetSM is an intimate 200-seat black box theater built and operated by The New 42nd Street. Since opening in 2000, the theater has been available to international and domestic nonprofit organizations to present their work. Companies that have presented at The Duke on 42nd Street include: Harkness Dance Project; The NYC Tap Festival; Rosie's Broadway Kids; Playwrights Horizons; London's National Theatre; Theatre for a New Audience, which continues to present work on a regular basis; Lincoln Center Theater's LCT3, which is in its second season, and The New 42nd Street's "New Victory at The Duke" series. Companies presented by The New 42nd Street have included: Karole Armitage; Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Naked Angels, The Classical Theatre Of Harlem, and Step

Photo Credit: Peter James Zielinski

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