Robert O'Hara's BARBECUE Opens Tonight at The Public
The Public Theater presents the world premiere of Barbecue, written by Obie Award winner Robert O'Hara. Directed by Kent Gash, Barbecue began previews on September 22 and runs through Sunday, November 1, with an official press opening tonight, October 8.
The complete cast of Barbecue features Becky Ann Baker, John Earl Jelks, Arden Myrin, Paul Niebanck, Tamberla Perry, Constance Shulman, Heather Alicia Simms, Samantha Soule, Benja Kay Thomas, and Kim Wayans.
The O'Mallerys have gathered in their local park to share some Barbecue and straight talk with their sister Barbara, whose spiral of drugs and recklessness has forced her siblings to stage an open-air intervention. But the event becomes raucous and unpredictable as familial stereotypes collide with hard realities, and racial politics slam up against the stories we tell-and maybe even believe-about who we were and who we become. Kent Gash directs this new play that proves family can be a bigger vice than any other addiction.
ROBERT O'HARA (Playwright). His credits for The Public include his play Insurrection: Holding History; as well as directing Wild With Happy and The Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2). His recent Off-Broadway and regional credits include Bootycandy (Obie Award) at Playwrights Horizons, In the Continuum (Obie Award) at Primary Stages, Marie Antoinette at Steppenwolf Theater Company, Five Guys Named Moe and The Mountaintop at Arena Theater. His play, Zombie: The American, world premiere this season at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. He's worked at McCarter Theatre, Magic Theatre, CTG/Kirk Douglas Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Alley Theater, City Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, American Conservatory Theater, Goodman Theatre and Cleveland Playhouse. Film: The Inheritance. Awards: 2 Obies, Helen Hayes, NAACP, Oppenheimer, Lammy. He is currently the Mellon Playwright in Residence at Woolly Mammoth Theater.
KENT GASH (Director). His credits in New York City include Langston in Harlem at Urban Stages, which earned the AUDELCO Award for Best Musical; Brokeology at Julliard; Miss Evers' Boys and Home for the Melting Post Theatre; and Beggars' Holiday at the York Theatre Company. His regional credits include The Comedy of Errors at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Choir Boy at Studio Theatre in DC and the Marin Theatre Company; and the premiere of The CA Lyons Project. He also served as the Associated Artistic Director of the Alliance Theatre from 2001 to 2009 where he also directed the premiere of Quiara Hudes' 26 Miles and Elliot; A Soldier's Fugue; Jelly's Last Jam; and Topdog/Underdog with Trinity Rep and New Rep, which earned him the Elliot Norton Award. He has directed King Hedley II, Romeo and Juliet, and Pacific Overtures with Cincinnati Playhouse and North Shore; and God of Carnage starring Jasmine Guy. The Alliance Theatre was also the recipient of the 2007 Regional Tony Award. He has directed over 50 other regional productions including Harriet's Return at the Kennedy Center starring Debbie Allen; and Native Son at Intiman, which he also adapted. He served as the Associate Artistic Director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival from 1999 to 2001 where he directed Troilus and Cressida, Twelfth Night, Guys and Dolls, and others. He received his B.F.A. from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama and his M.F.A. in Directing from UCLA. He is the Founding Director of NYU Tisch, New Studio on Broadway.
BECKY ANN BAKER has performed in The Public Theater productions of The Comedy of Errors, Othello, and Two Gentleman of Verona. Her Broadway credits include Good People, All My Sons, Assassins, Titanic, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Her additional Off-Broadway credits include The Great God Pan, The House in Town, Shanghai Moon, June Moon, Durang Durang, and Laura Dennis. Her television credits include "Girls," "Person of Interest," "Elementary," "The Good Wife," and "Freaks and Geeks."
JOHN EARL JELKS was recently seen in Lemon Andersen's ToasT at The Public. His Broadway credits include Holla If Ya Hear Me; August Wilson's Radio Golf, and August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean. He has performed Off-Broadway in Fetch Clay, Make Man; Sunset Baby; The Break of Noon; Magnolia; and Two Trains Running. His film and television credits include Snap; The Miraculous; Miracle at St. Anna; "Law and Order: SVU"; and "Blue Bloods."
ARDEN MYRIN has appeared at The Public in Boston Marriage. As a comedian and actress, she has appeared in film and television as a roundtable panelist on "Chelsea Lately" over 100 times and in Morning Glory, The Lucky Ones, Evan Almighty, Christmas with the Kranks, Kinsey, Wrong Cops, Bachelorette, "Bones," "Psych," "@midnight," "Reno 911," "Fresh Off the Boat," "The Exes," "Anger Management," "Legit," "Orange Is the New Black," "Inside Amy Schumer," "Suburgatory," "Hung," "Hot in Cleveland," and was a cast member of "MADtv" for four seasons.
PAUL NIEBANCK has appeared on Broadway in In the Next Room. His Off-Broadway credits include A Picture of Autumn; Much Ado About Nothing; Rx; Blood and Gifts; Bill W. and Dr. Bob; Great Expectations; All's Well That Ends Well; Shockheaded Peter; The Pussycat and the Expert Plumber Who Was a Man; and The American Clock. His film and television credits include Insects with Glasses, "The Blacklist," "Person of Interest," "Burn Notice," and "Gossip Girl.
TAMBERLA PERRY has appeared regionally in Race; In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play; Eclipsed; The North Plan; The Brothers/Sisters Plays; Fedra; The Overwhelming; Bus Stop; Icarus; The Piano Lesson; Black Diamond; among others. Her film and television credits include The Belle of New Orleans, "The Illinois Lottery," "Boss," "The Jamz," and "Crisis," among others.
CONSTANCE SHULMAN has appeared Off-Broadway in Loose Knit and Steel Magnolias. Her film and television credits include Fried Green Tomatoes; Weekend at Bernie's III; McBain; He Said, She Said; Men Don't Leave; A Jersey Christmas; Sweet and Lowdown; Doug's 1st Movie; "Orange is the New Black"; "Law & Order: SVU"; "The Faculty"; and "Doug."
HEATHER ALICIA SIMMS has appeared at The Public in The Brothers/Sisters Plays, Part 1 and 2. Her Broadway credits include Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Gem of the Ocean, A Raisin in the Sun, and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Her additional Off-Broadway credits include A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of Great Lakes and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. She has appeared in film and television in Red Hook Summer; The Nanny Diaries; Broken NY's Dirty Laundry; "The Good Wife"; "As the World Turns"; "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"; "Whoopi"; and "Third Watch."
SAMANTHA SOULE has appeared at The Public in the Mobile Shakespeare Unit production of Much Ado About Nothing and Public Lab's Detroit '67. She has appeared on Broadway in The Philanthropist, Coram Boy, and Dinner at Eight. Her additional Off-Broadway credits include And I and Silence, A Fable, A Summer Day, A Little Journey, Gabriel, The Voysey Inheritance, White Chocolate, and Valhalla. Her film and television credits include Revolutionary Road; How We Got Away With It; "Nurse Jackie"; "Blue Bloods"; "Do No Harm"; "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"; and "Smash."
BENJA KAY THOMAS has appeared Off-Broadway in Robert O'Hara's Bootycandy. Her additional theater credits include Insurrection: Holding History; Unspeakable; Pearl's Gone Blue; Intimate Apparel; Steal Away; The Bow Wow Club; Brave Brood; American Menu; and God, The Crack House & The Devil. She has appeared in film in The Cycle, the Dying Truth, The Warrior Class, and A Gun for Jennifer.
KIM WAYANS appeared on television in "In Living Color" from 1990 to 2001. Her numerous additional film and television credits include Pariah; Dance Flick; Talking about Sex; "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; A Low Down Dirty Shame; Juwanna Mann; "In the House"; "Waynehead"; "The Wayans Bros."; "Reckless"; "Hawaii Five-O"; and "The Soul Man; among others.
Photo Credit: Tammy Shell