Kathleen Chalfant & Timothy Simonson to Star in New Federal Theatre's DR. DU BOIS AND MISS OVINGTON, Begin. 1/16
Woodie King Jr's New Federal Theatre continues its 44th season with Dr. Du Bois and Miss Ovington starring Kathleen Chalfant and Timothy Simonson. Gabrielle L. Kurlander directs. Performances begin January 16h, with opening night scheduled for January 30th.
Dr. Du Bois and Miss Ovington is a two character play that captures a moment of crisis between two of the most esteemed founders of the NAACP: the heroic educator, human rights activist, African-American visionary leader Dr. W.E. B. Du Bois and Mary White Ovington, a white Unitarian, granddaughter of abolitionists, and outspoken justice advocate. These two courageous pioneers meet unexpectedly at the New York City NAACP headquarters on a Sunday morning, June1915. He comes charging in to write his final resignation letter that he intends to submit if his demands for full autonomy are not met. She, the only board member he trusts, is determined to change his mind. To lose the only African-American in administrative leadership would crash the Association. They spar, flirt, clash, reveal secrets, and compete to save their vital work, and protect their erotically charged partnership.
This is the World Premiere of Clare Coss' play, Dr. Du Bois and Miss Ovington. Clare Coss' productions include String of Pearls, Provincetown Theatre Company; Our Place in Time: Ten Scenes from the Twentieth Century, co?produced by the Women's Project and New Federal Theatre; The Blessing starring Anita Gillette and Kelly Bishop; Lillian Wald: At Home on Henry Street starring Tony Award winner Patricia Elliott; Growing Up Gothic with Crystal Field, George Bartenieff and Joyce Aaron; co?author with Segal and Sklar: The Daughters Cycle: Daughters; Sister/Sister; Electra Speaks, InterArt Theatre, The Well of Living Waters, Old Testament Story Theatre; The Star Strangled Banner, Brechtian-Marx Brothers version of 1848 U.S. invasion of Mexico, Berkshire Theatre Festival Barn. For more information, visit www.ClareCoss.com
Gabrielle L. Kurlander (director) has been a member of the Castillo Theatre company since 1989. Her production of the musical Sally and Tom (The American Way) by FrEd Newman and Annie Roboff, won five 2012 Audelco Awards, including an award for Outstanding Director of a Musical. Ms. Kurlander's other directing credits include: Playing with Heiner Müller winner of a 2010 Audelco Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance; Coming of Age in Korea (co-directed with Desmond Richardson), Still on the Corner, Billie and Malcolm: A Demonstration, Revising Germany, Lenin's Breakdown, all by FrEd Newman; The Task and Heiner Müller: A Man Without a Behind, by Heiner Müller; and Hot Snow by Laurence Holder. Her performances as an actor include: Amelia Earhart in Safe at Third (or Josh Gibson Don't Bunt), Susan B. Anthony in Backstage (A Love-Hate Story of the Women's Movement) both by FrEd Newman, Charlotte Corday in Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss, the roles of Hamlet and Ophelia in productions of Hamletmachine by Heiner Muller, among numerous others. A longtime activist and non-profit leader, Ms. Kurlander is President and CEO of the All Stars Project.
Kathleen Chalfant's Broadway credits include Angels In America (Tony and Drama Desk nominations); City Center ENCORES! Bloomer Girl, Racing Demon (NY premiere), Dance With Me, M. Butterfly. In addition to Wit for which she won the Drama Desk, OBIE, Lucille Lortel, and Outer Critics Awards, Kathleen has appeared Off-Broadway in Painting Churches, Prophecy, Family Week, Vita & Virginia with Patricia Elliot; Deadman's Cell Phone; A Hard Heart by Howard Barker; Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell; Great Expectations at Theatreworks/USA; 5 By Tenn at MTC; Guantanamo at the Culture Project; The Last Letter, Alan Bennett's Talking Heads; Savannah Bay; Far Away; The Vagina Monologues; Nine Armenians (Drama Desk nomination); Twelve Dreams (written and directed by James Lapine); Henry V (NYSF, Callaway Award); True History and Real Adventures, among others. Films include Duplicity; The Last New Yorker; Bob Roberts, A Price Above Rubies; The Last Days Of Disco; Side Streets; Random Hearts; Company Man and Kinsey. TV: "The Damn Thorpes" (pilot for the CW network), "Mercy" (new series for NBC), "Rescue Me" (Ma Garrity), "Book of Daniel," "Guardian" (social worker Laurie Solt in the CBS series), "The Laramie Project," "Benjamin Franklin," "A Death in the Family" for Masterpiece Theatre, "Law & Order," "Law & Order: SVU," "Law & Order: CI," "The Beat" (recurring role), "Storm of the Century" (Stephen King miniseries for ABC); "Prince Street" (recurring role), "Spin City," "LA Law," "One Life to Live." The Lion in Winter for LA TheatreWorks with Alfred Molina. Additional Awards: 1996 OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance; 1998 Connecticut Critics Circle Award (Wit); 2000 Ovation, Garland, and Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards for Wit. She has received the Drama League and Sidney Kingsley Awards for her body of work. Kathleen is a founding member of the Women's Project and sits on the boards of Vineyard Theatre, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, and the advisory board of the New York Foundation for the Arts and was a member of the Board of Advisors of MSF/Doctors Without Borders for 5 years. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Cooper Union in 2010.
Timothy Simonson's credits include the title role in The Trial of Adam Clayton Powell (New Federal Theater), Ghost Stories of the Blacksmith, Black Codes From The Underground (National Black Theater), Deadwood Dick Legend of the West (Black Spectrum Theater), Women in the Pit, Blues for a Gospel (Billie Holiday Theater), Equus (127th St Rep)
COMING IN APRIL: Ed Bullins' 1971 play, The Fabulous Miss Marie, is set in Los Angeles during the Civil Rights' student sit-ins. This is arguably Bullins' greatest work, one that bears comparison to Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. Like Chekhov, Bullins is interested in how love can be expressed in a "cemetery of human failure and class arrogance." With this play, part of his Twentieth Century Cycle, Bullins perfected a dramatic structure also found in In the Wine Time, which kicked off this season dedicated to Mr. Bullins.
Woodie King Jr. is the Founder and Producing Director of New Federal Theatre. Woodie King Jr.'s New Federal Theatre has presented over 300 productions in its 44 years and has produced more plays by women and minorities than any other theatre in New York City. Mr. King has produced and directed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in regional theatres, and in universities across the United States. He is the original producer of the ground breaking "choreopoem" For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. (The play was then co-produced by NFT with Joseph Papp's Public Theatre). He also produced What the Wine Sellers Buy, Reggae and The Taking of Miss Janie (Drama Critics Circle Award). His directional credits are extensive and include work in film as well as theater. Mr. King was recently inducted into The Theater Hall of Fame for outstanding contribution to the American Theater.
Performances will be Thursday and Friday evenings at 7:30 PM, Saturday at 2 PM and 7:30 PM, and Sunday at 2 PM. Tickets will be $25 and may be ordered online at www.castillo.org or by phone at 212/941-5800.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride