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Karen Pittman to Lead Dominique Morisseau's PIPELINE at Lincoln Center Theater; Cast Announced!

Lincoln Center Theater has announced that Tasha Lawrence, Morocco Omari, Karen Pittman, Namir Smallwood, Jaime Lincoln Smith, and Heather Velazquez will be featured in its upcoming production of Pipeline, a new play by Dominique Morisseau, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, which begins performances Thursday, June 15 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater (150 West 65 Street). Opening night is Monday, July 10.

In Dominique Morisseau's Pipeline, Nya Joseph (to be played by Karen Pittman) is a dedicated, inner-city public high school teacher who is committed to her students' achievement, while she sends her only son, Omari (Namir Smallwood), to a private boarding school. When Omari is involved in a controversial incident which threatens him with expulsion from his school, Nya is forced to reconcile Omari's rage and her own parental decisions, as she rallies to save her son.

PIPELINE will have sets by Matt Saunders, costumes by Montana Levi Blanco, lighting by Yi Zhao, sound by Justin Ellington, and projections by Hannah Wasileski.

Dominique Morisseau is the author of The Detroit Project (A 3-Play Cycle) which includes the following plays: Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company), Paradise Blue (Williamstown Theatre Festival), and Detroit '67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem and NBT). Additional plays include: Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theater); Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre), and Follow Me To Nellie's (Premiere Stages). She is alumna of The Public Theater Emerging Writer's Group, Women's Project Lab, and Lark Playwrights Workshop and has developed work at Sundance Lab and Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference. Her work has been commissioned by the Hip Hop Theater Festival, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Women's Project, South Coast Rep, People's Light and Theatre, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Penumbra Theatre. She currently serves as Executive Story Editor on the Showtime series "Shameless." Awards: Stavis Playwriting Award, NAACP Image Award, Spirit of Detroit Award, Weissberger Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper New American Play Prize, TEER Spirit Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama (Detroit '67), and OBIE Award (Skeleton Crew).

Lileana Blain-Cruz returns to Lincoln Center Theater where she directed last season's LCT3 production of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' War. Her other credits include The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World (Signature Theatre Company); Salome (Governors Island); Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again (Soho Rep.); Red Speedo (New York Theatre Workshop); a new translation of The Bakkhai (Fisher Center at Bard College); Much Ado About Nothing (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Christina Anderson's Hollow Roots (Under the Radar Festival, The Public); Project Realms (La Sala); A Guide to Kinship and Maybe Magic (with choreographer Isabel Lewis and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins; Dance New Amsterdam); and the Yale Rep. production of War. Yale School of Drama: Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, The Taming of the Shrew, Tall Skinny Cruel Cruel Boys, Buffalo Maine, Cavity, Fox Play (Carlotta Festival of New Plays). She was one of the co-artistic directors of the 2011-2012 Yale Cabaret and is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. Education: Princeton University; M.F.A. in directing, Yale School of Drama.

In addition to Pipeline, Lincoln Center Theater is currently producing the return engagement of its hit production of J.T. Rogers' Oslo, directed by Bartlett Sher, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater; Sarah Ruhl's How To Transcend A Happy Marriage, directed by Rebecca Taichman, at the at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater; and is co-producing the current Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, starring Sally Field, directed by Sam Gold, at the Belasco Theatre. Next month LCT3 will present Third Rail Projects' newest work Ghost Light, beginning performances Saturday, June 3 at the Claire Tow Theater. Upcoming productions next season include Ayad Akhtar's Junk, directed by Doug Hughes, and the Lerner & Loewe classic musical My Fair Lady, directed by Bartlett Sher, both at the Vivian Beaumont Theater.

PIPELINE is sponsored by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation's Theatre Visions Fund program. This play is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. The production is supported by the Henry Nias Foundation courtesy of Dr. Stanley Edelman and the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater. Special thanks to the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting new American plays at LCT. The Mitzi E. Newhouse season is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

Tasha Lawrence. Broadway: Good People; Wilder, Wilder, Wilder. Other theater includes Proof (National Tour); If I Forget (Laura Pels Theatre); Confederates; The Whale (Playwrights Horizons); Bhutan; Les Liasons Dangereuses (Huntington Theatre); Ashville, The Pavilion, Ascendency, Suburban Motel (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater); Bad Dates, Betrayal, He She Them (world premiere; Shubert Theatre); The Director; June Moon; Ruthless Beauties; Street Scene; The Killing Of; Goose and Tomtom; Camino Real. Film: Romance and Cigarettes; Dig a Hole, Find a Finger; Desolation Angels; Too Pure; While Emily Sleeps; Erma and Floyd. TV: "The Line;" "Third Watch," "Deadline," "Law & Order: SVU," "Law & Order" (NBC); "Loving," "All My Children" (ABC).

Morocco Omari. Broadway: A Streetcar Named Desire, A Time to Kill. Off-Broadway: Sticks and Bones (The New Group). Regional: Denver Theatre Center, St. Louis Repertory, Lookingglass Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Virginia State Company, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Congo Square Ensemble, Victory Gardens Theater, Geffen Playhouse, Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Film: Gun Hill, Half Past Dead 2, Kubuku Rides, Momentum. TV: "Empire," "Prison Break," "24" (Fox); "Homeland;" "Persons of Interest," "The Good Wife," "NCIS" (CBS); "Chicago Fire" (NBC); "The Beast."

Karen Pittman. LCT: Disgraced (Broadway and LCT3), Domesticated. Broadway: Passing Strange, Good People (MTC). Off-Broadway: King Liz. Other theater includes Bard SummerScape, Denver Center, Kitchen Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre, Kennedy Center (D.C.), Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference, Connelly Theater, Arizona Performing Arts, Billie Holiday Theatre. Film: Untitled Detroit Project; Benji the Dove; The Reluctant Professor; Begin Again; The Bourne Legacy; Passing Strange; Righteous; No Tips, No Love. TV includes "Madame Secretary" (CBS); "Horace & Pete;" "Luke Cage;" "The Americans;" "One Life to Live;" "White Collar," "Law & Order," "30 Rock," "Kings" (NBC).

Namir Smallwood. Regional: BLKS, Monster, Man in Love, The Hot L Baltimore (Steppenwolf Theatre); East Texas Hot Links; Grapes of Wrath; Gem of the Ocean; Charm; Buzzer (Guthrie); The Gospel of Lovingkindness, The Brothers Size, Buzzer, Pa's Hat: A Liberian Legacy (Pillsbury House Theatre); Two Trains Running (Goodman Theatre); Romeo and Juliet; Life is a Dream; Lost Boys of Sudan; Ruined. TV: "Chicago Fire" (NBC), "Betrayal" (ABC). Education: B.F.A., University of Minnesota; Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program.

Jaime Lincoln Smith. Broadway: Holler If Ya Hear Me. Off-Broadway: Skeleton Crew, Seed, Felony Friday, Ruined (MTC), Light Rise on Grace, Birthright. Regional: Marley, Gleam (Baltimore Center Stage); Carnaval (Luna Stage); Marcus: Or the Secret of Sweet (City Center); Dreaming For Real, On Our Hands (Climb Theatre). Film: 11:55 Holyoke; Shades of Brooklyn; Lecterns; Amazon Women; 14,085. TV: "Blue Bloods," "Elementary," "The 2-2," "As The World Turns," "MTV's Human Giant," "Shades of Brooklyn." Education: M.F.A., Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Heather Velazquez. Off-Broadway: Another Word for Beauty (Goodman); So Go The Ghost of Mexico (Sundance Theatre Lab); Rosario and the Gypsies, Worship (Theaterfor the New City); Pinkolandia (INTAR Theatre); Nobody Rides a Locomotive No Mo' (Rising Circle Theater). Education: B.F.A. in Theatre, New World School of the Arts.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride


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