Roscoe Orman to Lead 'I Am Soul' Workshop of BLOOD at National Black Theatre

Roscoe Orman to Lead 'I Am Soul' Workshop of BLOOD at National Black Theatre

Dr. Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre [NBT] announced today that Roscoe Orman (Sesame Street, The Night Of) will star in Nambi E. Kelley's play "Blood," the first I AM SOUL PLAYWRIGHTS RESIDENT workshop. The show will be directed by Elizabeth Van Dyke.

The workshop runs from Wednesday, November 15 to Sunday, November 19, and falls under the banner of NBT's 49th season themed: "Black To The Future." Roscoe will be joined by three additional actors that will be announced later in the month.

"Blood" follows Scipio, who is dying. His estranged son visits. What happens when these two men meet after decades of silence? Blood takes us into the journey of Scipio's mind spanning time, reality, and blood memory to question the very essence of his own existence as a Black revolutionary, a father, a man.

Taking on the lead of Scipio, Roscoe Orman is best known for playing Gordon Robinson, one of the central human characters on Sesame Street. Orman released his memoir, Sesame Street Dad: Evolution of An Actor in 2006. In 2008, he became the Chief Storyteller of His television credits include work on such shows as All My Children, Kojak, Sanford and Son, Cosby, Sex and the City, The Wire, Law & Order, and "SVU". He has recently appeared on the Garry Trudeau/Amazon streaming production Alpha House and also the HBO mini-series, "The Night Of".

As part of the production team NBT is excited to announce lighting design by Xavier Pierce, sound design by Jane Shaw, and stage management by Belynda Hardin.

Launched in 2012, I AM SOUL - Playwright Residency Program is the only program in the country that is dedicated to Black playwrights, whose work demonstrates exceptional artistic merit and excellence in the theatrical field, with a commitment to production. Coined as a dream MFA program this eighteen (18) month residency also seeks to unleash the soul of a playwright on the page so that they can develop, hone and explore new ways of artistic expression in a safe, supported and transformative environment. With I AM SOUL, NBT seeks to deepen the artistic relationship between Black theatrical institutions and Black playwrights in order to re-establish Black theatrical institutions as the foremost supporters and producers of new works created by Black playwrights.

Past residents: Dennis A. Allen II, Aurin Squire & Mfoniso Udofia Current residents: Angelica Chéri, Derek Lee McPhatter, Nambi E. Kelley, Eric Micha Holmes, & Lee Edward Colston II.

Available now are NBT's Season Passes, offering great discounts for theater lovers! A VIP Season Pass ($149) includes two tickets to "Sancho: An Act of Remembrance" (including Opening and Closing Night shows), two tickets to "Blood," "I Will Not Lie To David," and "Serious Adverse Effect", two tickets to each monthly Keep Soul Alive Monday Reading Series showcase and access to other events throughout the season. A Regular Season Pass ($99) includes one ticket to every NBT production this year (excluding any Opening or Closing Night shows), one ticket to every Keep Soul Alive Monday Reading Series and access to other events throughout the season.

Tickets for "Blood" are now on sale. The workshop is from Wednesday, November 15 to Sunday, November 19 at 7:30 p.m., with Saturday matinees at 2:00 p.m.; Sunday performances will be at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $20.00 general admission. Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling NBT directly at (212) 722-3800 or at NBT's Box Office, open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. National Black Theatre is located at 2031 Fifth Avenue between 125th and 126th Streets in Harlem. (Take the 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 subway to 125th Street.)

Follow NBT on Facebook ( and Twitter/Instagram (@NatBlackTheatre).


Roscoe Orman (Scipio)- Roscoe Orman is widely known for his forty-two seasons as 'Gordon' on Sesame Street. TV audiences have also seen him on Sanford and Son, Kojak, All My Children, A Man Called Hawk, Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, Cosby, Sex and the City, The Wire, Alpha House, and, most recently, HBO's The Night Of. As a voice-over artist, he has narrated many documentary films, including Langston Hughes: The Dreamkeeper on PBS, Lifeline on Discovery, and Heritage of the Black West on National Geographic. As a founding member of Harlem's New Lafayette Theatre from 1967 to 1972, he appeared in such plays as Whose Got His Own, We Righteous Bombers, The Duplex, The Devil Catchers, and The Fabulous Miss Marie. He received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Brutus in the 1979 NY Shakespeare Festival production of Julius Caesar, and also for his performance in the role of Gabriel in the original Broadway production of Fences. His more recent stage roles have included Doaker Charles in The Piano Lesson, Jim Becker in Jitney, Troy Maxon in Fences, Hoke Colburn in Driving Miss Daisy, and Lincoln Perry in Fetch/Clay, Make/Man, He is a five time nominee and a two time recipient of the Audelco Theatre Award, in 2014 for his portrayal of Bill Horton in the New Federal Theatre revival of The Fabulous Miss Marie, and for his 1997 performance in NFT's Do Lord Remember Me. As a director, Orman has staged productions of plays such as Ed Bullins' Goin'a Buffalo, Clara's Ole Man, How Do You Do, and House Party. As a writer, Orman was a contributing editor of Black Theatre Magazine during the 1970s. His memoir, Sesame Street Dad: Evolution of an Actor was published in June 2006. His children's book Ricky & Mobo which he wrote and illustrated was published in 2007. From 2008 to 2009 he served as the Chief Storyteller and national spokesperson for AudibleKids. For more information go to

NAMBI E. KELLEY (PLAYWRIGHT) has penned plays for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre/American Blues Theater, Lincoln Center Theater Director's Lab, LATT Children's Theatre/Unibooks Publishing Company (South Korea), Teatri Sbagliati (Italy), and The Finger Players (Singapore), where she also performed in the co-adapted production of The Book of Living and Dying. The world premiere of Native Son was nominated for five Jeff Awards (Chicago's Tony Awards) including best adaptation and production of the year, and was the highest grossing production in Court Theatre's 60-year history. It is included on the Kilroy's List 2015, in the top 7% of new plays by female and trans* authors and can be purchased through Samuel French. Her other works include an adaptation of Toni Morrison's Jazz (Baltimore Center Stage); Xtigone (Chicago Danz Theatre Ensemble; African American Shakespeare Company, directed by Rhodessa Jones); and For Her As A Piano (a Goodman Theatre/Chicago Dramatists/Pegasus co-production). A recent finalist for the Francesca Primus Award and the Kevin Spacey Foundation Award, Kelley is the Playwright in Residence at National Black Theatre where her play Blood starring Roscoe Orman is receiving a workshop production in November. Professional affiliations include Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, La Mama E.T.C., Spoleto, Ragdale Foundation, and playwright emeritus at Chicago Dramatists. An accomplished actress, Kelley has performed at theatres across the country and internationally and has been seen on several television shows, including Person of Interest, Madam Secretary, Elementary, and Chicago Justice. Nambi has a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University and an MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College.

Elizabeth Van Dyke (DIRECTOR) is an award winning Director and Actress and is thrilled and grateful to be returning to NBT, where she directed Un-tamed & The Assembly by Korde Tuttle in 48hrs. Other directorial credits include: The Talk, The Effect of Gamma Rays Man-On-The-Moon Marigolds, Radio Golf, Gem Of The Ocean (Superior Award from Ass. Of Colleges) The Ballad Of Emmett Till (Giorgee Award, Best Director), Gee's Bend, From Sun to Sun; Great Men of Gospel: Spirit Into Sound (Audelco Nomination, Best Director), A Raisin In The Sun, Waiting To Be Invited, The Piano Lesson, Sophisticated Ladies, (Onyx Award Best Director & Best Musical Production Of The Year), The Old Settler, Sweet Mama Stringbean, For Colored Girls, Ti Jean And His Brothers, and Remembering Weselves: The Black Renaissance by the late Amiri Baraka. Elizabeth originated the roles of Fannie Mae Dove in Flyin' West by Pearl Cleage and Mattie in No...N, No Jews, & No Dogs by the late John Henry Redwood and Annie Talbot in The Dance On Widow's Row by Samm Art Williams. Ms. Van Dyke is currently nominated for an Audelco for Best Actress for her portrayal of Zora Neale Hurston. Ms. Van Dyke serves as the Producing Artistic Director of Going to the River: an organization that presents, develops, and produces the work of female playwrights of color. Elizabeth is a member of AEA, SAG, AFTRA, SDC, The Dramatist Guild, The Playwrights Center, The League of Professional Theatre Women, and the National Theatre Conference.

Founded by visionary Dr. Barbara Ann Teer in 1968, National Black Theatre (NBT) is a nationally recognized cultural and educational institution. Dr. Teer pioneered "the healing art of black theatre as an instrument for wholeness in urban communities where entrepreneurial artists of African descent live and work." In 1983, Dr. Teer expanded the vision of NBT by purchasing a 64,000-square-foot building on 125th Street and Fifth Avenue (renamed "National Black Theatre Way" by local law in 1994). This was the first revenue-generating Black arts complex in the country, an innovative arrangement through which for-profit businesses who shared NBT's spiritual and aesthetic values rented retail space to subsidize the arts. Out of her vision, NBT houses the largest collection of Nigerian new sacred art in the Western hemisphere and is considered the authentic representation of a model whose time has come. NBT is partially supported by grants from the City Council of New York, City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, Ford Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts and private donations.


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