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Battiste, Belcon, Beltran Set For 10 THINGS TO DO BEFORE I DIE At 2ST Opens 5/28

Second Stage Theatre (Carole Rothman, Artistic Director; Ellen Richard, Executive Director) will kick off this summer's Second Stage Theatre Uptown Series with the world premiere of Zakiyyah Alexander's 10 Things To Do Before I Die. Directed by Jackson Gay, 10 Things To Do Before I Die will feature Francois Battiste, Natalie Venetia Belcon, Kyle Beltran, Dion Graham, and Tracie Thoms. Opening night is Thursday, May 28 at 7:00pm.

10 Things To Do Before I Die was commissioned by the Time Warner Commissioning Program at Second Stage Theatre and is the second commissioned play to be produced in the company's acclaimed Uptown series. The first was Rajiv Joseph's Animals Out of Paper, which recently received a Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Play.

10 Things To Do Before I Die is presented at Second Stage Theatre's uptown home, the McGinn/Cazale Theatre on Broadway at 76th Street. Ticket are $50 and can be purchased by calling the Second Stage Theatre Box Office at 212-246-4422 or online at www.2ST.com.
Vida (Natalie Venetia Belcon), a NYC high school teacher and Nia (Tracie Thoms), a once-successful writer, are two sisters who couldn't be more different. When a delivery of boxes from their recently deceased father arrives they must reconnect and re-examine their complicated history. 10 Things To Do Before I Die is a drama infused with comedy that explores how we let go of yesterday so we can find a tomorrow.

Second Stage Theatre Uptown Series will also present the world premiere of Lila Rose Kaplan's Wildflower, directed by Callaway Award-winner Giovanna Sardelli, later this summer. Wildflower will be performed July 13 - August 8, with an official opening scheduled for July 27.

Zakiyyah Alexander is a writer and performer whose plays include Sick? (Summer Play Festival), The Etymology of a Bird (Hip Hop Theater Festival), and Blurring Shine (Market Theater, Johannesburg). Her work is included in New Monologues for Women by Women and Girls who like Boys who like Girls. She is a resident member of New Dramatists and the Dramatists Guild, and a 2003 graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

Jackson Gay's credits include Len, Asleep in Vinyl by Carly Mensch (Second Stage), Jason Grote's Box Americana (O'Neill Playwrights Conference), Made In Poland by Wojcieszek (Play Company), Lucy Thurber's Scarcity, Rolin Jones' The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (Atlantic Theater Company), David Adjmi's Marie Antoinette (Sundance Institute Theatre Lab/Public Theater). She received the Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Production for Jenny Chow (Yale Rep) and earned her MFA in Directing at Yale School of Drama.

10 Things To Do Before I Die will have scenic design by Wilson Chin, costume design by Jenny Mannis, lighting design by Thomas Dunn, and original music/sound design by Daniel Baker and Aaron Meicht.

ABOUT THE COMPANY

Francois Battiste was recently nominated for a Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in The Good Negro. His other New York credits include Quiver and Twitch (NYSF), Antony and Cleopatra (Shakespeare Society), UgLy (Storm Theatre), Vassar residency (NYTW). Originally from Chicago, some regional credits include A Raisin in the Sun (Goodman), Hambone (Victory Gardens), They All Fall Down (Lookingglass), The Bomb-itty of Errors (Chicago Shakespeare), Hamlet (Illinois Shakespeare Festival). Film: One Week, 51/50, Blood in the Sand. Training: British American Drama Academy at Oxford, a 2006 graduate of the Juilliard School.

Natalie Venetia Belcon has appeared in Avenue Q (Original Cast, Gary Colman), Rent (Joanne), Once on This Island (Erzulie), The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Playwrights Horizons), The Glorious Ones (Columbina). Film/TV: "The Cosby Show," "Martin," "Melrose Place," "Living Single," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Spin City," "The Education of Max Bickford," "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Damages."
Kyle Beltran is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. His credits include Kingdom at the Old Globe Theatre, Aida at West Virginia Public Theatre, and When January Feels at City Theatre of Pittsburgh.
Dion Graham's New York stage credits include leading and supporting roles in Raisin in the Sun, Lobby Hero, Not About Nightingales, and Washington Square Moves. He has appeared in guest roles on "Law and Order," "Homicide," "NYPD Blue," "Hack," and in supporting roles in the films Malcolm X, Asbury Park, and Thirteen Conversations About One Thing. He played attorney Rupert Bond on HBO's "The Wire," and narrates "The First 48" on A&E. As a highly-regarded narrator, his audiobook credits include Walter Mosley's mysteries, the Grammy-nominated "Behind the Lines," the Audie-nominated "River Rising," and David Fulmer's "Rampart Street," which won the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award for Adult Fiction.

Tracie Thoms has appeared in Rent (Joanne), Drowning Crow (Mary Bow), The 24 Hour Plays 04, 05, 07. Film credits include: Rent, The Devil Wears Prada, Sex and Breakfast.

ABOUT Second Stage Theatre UPTOWN

Created as a program to help develop and provide exposure for the voices of a new generation of theatre artists, the Second Stage Theatre Uptown Series seeks to develop the skills of emerging playwrights, to provide early-career artists with the support of a major artistic institution, and to create new plays for the American Theatre. Each show has a limited rehearsal period, as well as a streamlined budget. The series has helped launch and advance the careers of several up-and-coming playwrights, including Rajiv Joseph (Lortel-nominated Animals Out of Paper), Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (whose play, Good Boys and True, was recently part of Second Stage's mainstage season); Adam Bock (The Receptionist, The Drunken City), and Brooke Berman (Hunting and Gathering).

The series premiered in 2002 with three new American plays: ...in the absence of spring..., written and directed by Joe Calarco; The Notebook, written by Wendy Kesselman and directed by Evan Yionoulis; and Hunt Holman's Spanish Girl, directed by Erica Schmidt. Second Stage Theatre Uptown was on hiatus in 2003 due to theatre repairs. The 2004 season saw the New York premiere of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's The Mystery Plays, as well as Brooke Berman's The Triple Happiness, starring Ally Sheedy. In 2005, the series presented the New York premiere of the critically acclaimed comedy Swimming in the Shallows, written by Adam Bock and starring Logan Marshall-Green, as well as the world premiere of Dan O'Brien's The Dear Boy. The 2006 series featured two world premiere comedies: Getting Home, written by Anton Dudley and directed by David Schweizer, and Rajiv Joseph's All This Intimacy, directed by Giovanna Sardelli. The 2007 series featured Marisa Wegrzyn's The Butcher of Baraboo, directed by Judith Ivey, and Joshua Tobiessen's Election Day, directed by Jeremy Dobrish.
Last season's Uptown Series featured two world premiere plays: Carly Mensch's Len, Asleep in Vinyl, directed by Jackson Gay, and Rajiv Joseph's Animals Out of Paper, which was recently nominated for a Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, directed by Callaway Award-winner Giovanna Sardelli.

10 Things To Do Before I Die will be performed at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre (Broadway & 76th Street, above The Promenade) from Tuesday, May 12 - Sunday, June 14 on the following schedule: Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Wednesday and Saturday at 2:00pm, and Sunday at 3:00pm. There will be no matinee performances on May 13 and May 20.

Tickets can be purchased at the Second Stage Theatre Box Office (307 West 43rd Street) or by calling (212) 246-4422. Advance tickets are not available at the McGinn/Cazale Theater. Single tickets are $50; advance youth tickets (age 30 and under) are $20; and student RUSH tickets are $10 (available 30 minutes prior to curtain). A 2-play subscription (including the upcoming world premiere Wildflower) is available for $60.

For more information, please visit www.2ST.com

 

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