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One-Week Extension Announced for Dominique Morisseau's CONFEDERATES

The play leaps through time to trace the identities of two Black American women and explore the reins that racial and gender bias still hold on American systems today.

Confederates

Signature Theatre has extended the New York premiere of Dominique Morisseau's Confederates, directed by Stori Ayers to April 24. The production, running in The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 W. 42nd Street, New York), opened March 27.

Confederates, from the Signature Residency 5 playwright, Tony Award-nominee, and MacArthur Fellow Morisseau, leaps through time to trace the identities of two Black American women and explore the reins that racial and gender bias still hold on American systems today. Sandra, a tenured Political Science professor in a modern-day private university, has been targeted with a hateful Photoshopped image taped to her office door. She sorts through fraught relationships with students and faculty, finding herself buried in everyone's reductive visions of her as a Black woman in academia. Sara, an enslaved rebel, is brought into a plot to spy on her master for the Union, and begins to find her own control as she resists being oppressed, underestimated, and desired-and forges a path out.

The cast includes Elijah Jones (Richard II, The Many Deaths of Nathan Stubblefield) as Abner/Malik, Kristolyn Lloyd (Dear Evan Hansen, Dominique Morisseau's Paradise Blue) as Sara, Andrea Patterson (cullud wattah, Dominique Morisseau's Paradise Blue) as LuAnne/Jade, Kenzie Ross (Blood at the Root, A Christmas Carol In Harlem) as Missy Sue/Candice, and Michelle Wilson (The House That Will Not Stand, Sweat) as Sandra. The creative team includes Rachel Hauck (Scenic Design), Ari Fulton (Costume Design), Amith Chandrashaker and Emma Deane (Lighting Design), Curtis Craig and Jimmy Keys (Sound Design), Katherine Freer (Projection Design), Ann James (Intimacy Coordinator), Jonathan Castanien (Production Stage Manager), and Caparelliotis Casting (Casting).

Confederates began with a commission from Oregon Shakespeare Festival (where it will run this summer in a production directed by Nataki Garrett) and Penumbra Theatre, whose founder Lou Bellamy reached out to Morisseau, pointing her in the direction of a Ta-Nehisi Coates article asking why more Black people do not study or write about Black involvement in the Civil War. In the 2011 article, Coates writes, "For my community, the message has long been clear: the Civil War is a story for white people-acted out by white people, on white people's terms-in which blacks feature strictly as stock characters and props." Bellamy engaged Morisseau to interrogate Coates' central question. As she describes, her interest immediately turned towards, "what were the Black women doing in that time?" This inquiry, which would lead her to create Sara, collided with her thinking, "If I'm going to write a play looking at that era, I don't think I want to do that in a vacuum-I want to interrogate something right now, and not in the way most of these stories about the past are just there to be subtle mirrors into the present. I don't want a subtle mirror; I want an overt mirror. I'm trying to directly own and confront our nation's history and its implications on the present day."

Though Confederates meticulously depicts the world of academia in its contemporary storyline, its analogues across other fields are striking. Ayers adds, "In theater, it's become clear to me that so many people at the top don't fully understand how our past has seeped into the culture we're producing and seeped into the entire institution. In the play, we're asked the question: can this Black woman hold a position of power in this institution with what she's facing and what she's up against and how she's being treated and how that position is being undermined? In the last year, within the theater industry, we've seen a significant increase of Black leadership and appointments and hirings throughout our industry. People will be, I hope, more able to draw direct parallels between academia, our institution of theater-making, and other realms where positions of power are shifting, but not without adversity."

Tickets and Schedule

All performances take place at The Pershing Square Signature Center's (480 W 42nd St) Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre. For a full performance schedule click here.

All tickets through April 10 are $35, thanks to the Signature Ticket Initiative. In an effort to sustain access to affordable tickets, Signature now offers the choice between the subsidized $35 price, or new option Pay It Forward $52.50-$70 that includes a donation directly to the Signature Ticket Initiative. Ticket prices increase to standard dynamic pricing during the extension, with April 12-17 tickets ranging from $40-$100, and April 19-24 ranging from $45-$125.

COVID-19 Safety

Signature will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all visitors to The Pershing Square Signature Center. Additionally, masks must always be worn, except for when actively eating or drinking. See all of Signature's COVID-19 safety protocols and the latest updates at signaturetheatre.org/covid-19.

About Dominique Morisseau

Dominique Morisseau (She/Her) is a Residency 5 playwright at Signature Theatre, and the author of The Detroit Project (A 3-Play Cycle): Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company), Paradise Blue (Signature Theatre), and Detroit '67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem and NBT). Additional plays include: Pipeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theatre), Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre), and Follow Me To Nellie's (Premiere Stages). She is also the TONY nominated book writer on the Broadway musical Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations (Imperial Theatre). TV/Film projects: She most recently served as Co-Producer on the Showtime series "Shameless." She's currently developing projects with Netflix, HBO, and A24, and wrote the film adaptation of the documentary STEP for Fox Searchlight. Awards include: Spirit of Detroit Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper Prize, TEER Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Audelco Awards, NBFT August Wilson Playwriting Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, OBIE Award (2), and the Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship, named one of Variety's Women of Impact for 2017-18 and a recipient of the 2018 MacArthur Genius Grant.

About Stori Ayers

Stori Ayers (She/Her) is a New York-based actor and director and a co-founder of [RARE] Lotus Productions. Originally from Washington, DC., she has a passion for stories that challenge social norms, create conversations in the community, and ignite within her generation a spirit of activism. This season Ayers has directed Dominique Morisseau's Blood at the Root at Chautauqua Theatre Company and Paradise Blue at The Geffen Playhouse, and has associate-directed on Skeleton Crew on Broadway. Ayers assistant-directed the world premiere of August Wilson's one-man show How I Learned What I Learned at the Signature Theatre (NYC). She was the 2018 & 2019 Directing Fellow at Chautauqua Theater Company, where she assistant-directed An Octoroon (dir. Giovanna Sardelli), Into the Breeches (dir. Laura Kepley), One Man, Two Guvnors (dir. Andrew Borba), and Amish Project (Dir. Sarah Wansley). Other directing credits include Skeleton Crew (Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati); When Statues Fall (Cleveland Playhouse); Night Vision; Third Grade (Playing On Air); Blood at the Root (University of Michigan); Single Black Female (Penn State School of Theatre); Hip Hoperella; Here I Go, Boys. Wish Me Luck; and Fires in the Mirror (Fletcher Collins Theatre). Ayers is a proud member of SDC and Actors' Equity, holds a B.A. from Mary Baldwin University and an MFA in Acting from Penn State University, and is the former Executive Assistant to writers Dominique Morisseau and Katori Hall. She is currently a writing assistant to Ms. Morisseau

About the Cast

Elijah Jones (Abner/Malik). (He/Him). Off Broadway: Richard II (The Public Theater), Rolling Stone (u/s) (Lincoln Center). Regional: The Many Deaths of Nathan Stubblefield (Humana Festival), Airness (Chautauqua Theater Company), As You Like It (Chautauqua), Macbeth (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Awards: 2021 Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award. Education: MFA from Juilliard, BA from Penn State.

Kristolyn Lloyd (Sara). (She/Her). Kristolyn is an actress, singer, writer, and director. Grammy and Emmy Award Winning. Acting credits include Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen. Off-Broadway: Little Women (Primary Stages), Blue Ridge (Atlantic), Paradise Blue (The Signature Theatre), Hamlet (The Public Theatre), Invisible Thread (Second Stage Theatre), Heathers The Musical (New World Stages), Cabin In The Sky (Encores City Center). Selected Regional: Paradise Blue (Williamstown), Witness Uganda (A.R.T.), Hairspray, Rent (Hollywood Bowl). TV: Random Acts of Flyness (HBO), Elementary, Madam Secretary (CBS), ER (NBC), Lie to Me (FOX), Kevin Can Wait (CBS). Her directing credits include: Dainty (BOLD Festival, The Garden Workshop) Nick and The Prizefighter (Modern Works Festival), A Patriots Place (B-Street Theatre, BOLD Festival).

Andrea Patterson (LuAnne/Jade). (She/Her). Recently seen onstage as Ainee in cullud wattah at The Public Theater, Queen Woodville in Seize The King (Classical Theatre of Harlem), Silver in Paradise Blue (Detroit Public Theater). TV credits include Blue Bloods, Manifest, and Jessica Jones.

Kenzie Ross (Missy Sue/Candice). (She/Her). Off Broadway: Blood at the Root (The National Black Theatre), A Christmas Carol In Harlem (Classical Theatre of Harlem). Regional: Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival, ACANSA Arts Festival, Market Theatre Lab, Magnet Theatre, National Arts Festival, The Kennedy Center, People's Light, Penn State Center Stage, The LARK. Film: The Next Right Thing, Commit, Mutt.

Michelle Wilson (Sandra). (She/Her). Michelle Wilson's most recent stage appearance was in the New York Theatre Workshop acclaimed production of The House That Will Not Stand. Michelle is best known for her work in Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning Sweat. Wilson originated the role of factory worker Cynthia at The Public Theatre where the show was extended several times before moving to Broadway and receiving three Tony Award nominations including Best Play and the Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role for Michelle. More of the many theatre credits include the Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun, Detroit '67, Follow Me to Nellie's, Fahrenheit 451, Two Trains Running, The People Before the Park and others. Wilson wields powers as Sara Jordan in Steven Speilberg's (Apple TV) Amazing Stories, Signs of Life episode. Her other notable tv appearances include Bull, The Good Fight, Blue Bloods, and Madame Secretary. She's featured in the Emmy winning Apollo Theater documentary, and participated in the HBO Special of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me. She may be seen on the big screen as Sarita in Premature of Sundance Film Festival acclaim, as Pollok in The True Adventures of Wolfboy alongside Jaeden (Lieberher) Martell and John Turturro, Late January of 2022 found Michelle in the release of three films: the Adrien Brody led film, Clean, ( 2021 Tribeca Film Festival); The 2022 Sudance film starring Dale Dickie and Wes Studi, A Love Song: and A Shot Thru the Wall, written and directed by Aimee Long.



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