Steve Earle to Make Off-Broadway Acting Debut in SAMARA at Soho Rep; Full Cast Announced!

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At the Mezzanine Theatre at the A.R.T./New York Theatres (502 W 53rd Street), Soho Rep. is pleased to present the world premiere of Richard Maxwell's Samara, commissioned by Artistic Director Sarah Benson. In a departure, Maxwell, who has directed nearly all 20 of his plays, is handing over the directorial duties to Benson. Maxwell's work was seen previously at Soho Rep. in 2001 with Cavemen and in 1999 with Cowboys and Indians.

Samara marks the Off-Broadway acting debut of legendary singer-songwriter Steve Earle, who has also composed an original score for the production. Joining Earle in the eclectic cast, which spans ages 14-88, are Becca Blackwell, Vinie Burrows, Roy Faudree, Modesto Flako Jimenez, Matthew Korahais, Paul Lazar and Jasper Newell. The company will also include musician Ivan Goff and a percussionist to be announced.

In Samara, we find ourselves on the fringes of the frontier, where a messenger embarks on an arduous journey to collect a debt from a man he's never met. Friends set out to atone for a mistake that can't be undone. Strangers look for a little bit of comfort wherever they can find it.

The creative team for Samara includes Louisa Thompson (sets), Junghyun Georgia Lee (costumes), Matt Frey (lights), and Palmer Hefferan (sound), George Hoffmann and Greg Kozatek (props masters), J. David Brimmer (fight choreography), Annie-B Parson (choreography) and Rachel K. Gross (production stage manager).

Performances of Samara will take place April 4-May 7 (see schedule above) at the Mezzanine Theatre at the A.R.T./New York Theatres, which is located at 502 W 53rd Street). Critics are welcome as of April 12 for an official opening on Sunday, April 16. Admission tickets are $35 general/$65 premium through April 30 and $45 general/$65 premium, May 2-7, and can be purchased by visiting sohorep.org or calling 212.352.3101. $30 general rush and $20 student rush (valid school ID) tickets are available at the box office 30 minutes prior to curtain for each performance, no advance sales. $0.99 Sunday tickets will be offered on April 9 at 5pm and April 23 at 8pm and are available first come, first served at the box office only.

About the artists

Richard Maxwell is a playwright, director and the artistic director of New York City Players. He studied acting at Illinois State University and then became a co-founder of the Cook County Theater Department. He is a Doris Duke Performing Artist. Maxwell has been selected for a Guggenheim Fellowship, two OBIE Awards, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant, and was included in the Whitney Biennial. His latest play, The Evening, which premiered in 2015 was a commission by the 2014 Spalding Gray Award. He directed Jackie Sibblies Drury's play, Really, for New York City Players in March 2016. His latest book, Theater for Beginners, was published by Theatre Communications Group.

Sarah Benson has been Artistic Director of Soho Rep. since 2007. Her directing credits for Soho Rep. include César Alvarez and The Lisps's Futurity, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's An Octoroon, (Soho Rep. & Theater for a New Audience); Lucas Hnath's A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay about the Death of Walt Disney; David Adjmi's Elective Affinities, and Sarah Kane's Blasted. She has also directed at A.R.T., Woolly Mammoth & M.T.C.. She holds a MFA from Brooklyn College. In 2016, Benson was awarded a Vilcek Foundation Prize for Creative Promise.

A protégé of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Steve Earle is one of today's master musical storytellers, whose songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, The Pretenders, Joan Baez and countless others. Throughout his more than 30-year career, Earle has mined the veins of American roots music: country rock and roll, folk and rockabilly. His debut record, Guitar Town, shot to No. 1 on the country charts, and his Grammy Award-winning albums include The Revolution Starts...Now, Washington Square Serenade and Townes. He is host of "The Steve Earle Show: Hardcore Troubadour" Radio, on Sirius XM Radio.

On June 10, 2016, Earle's collaborative album with Shawn Colvin, Colvin & Earle, was released on Fantasy Records. Colvin & Earle, produced by Buddy Miller, reveals a truly creative partnership between these friends who first met nearly three decades ago. His debut novel, I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive, was published in 2011, and a second novel and a memoir are forthcoming. Earle is also recognized as an actor from his roles on HBO's "The Wire" and "Treme," both created by David Simon.

About the Artists

Becca Blackwell (Actor) is a NYC based trans actor, performer and writer. Existing between genders, and preferring the pronoun "they," Blackwell works collaboratively with playwrights and directors to expand our sense of personhood and the body through performance. Some of their collaborations have been with Young Jean Lee, Half Straddle, Jennifer Miller's Circus Amok, Richard Maxwell, ShaRon Hayes, Theater of the Two Headed Calf and Lisa D'Amour. Recently seen in Erin Markey's tour of A Ride on the Irish Cream. Becca is a recipient of the Doris Duke Impact Artist Award 2015.

Vinie Burrows (Actor) made her Broadway debut in The Wisteria Trees, starring Helen Hayes. Vinie has appeared in six other Broadway shows, Off Broadway shows, and international theatre festivals in Paris and Berlin. Frustrated with scarcity and quality of roles for the Black actor, Vinie produced her first solo show Walk Together Children, a chronicle of the Black experience in the USA. She became the United Nations representative for an international women's organization speaking in Geneva, Nairobi, Copenhagen and at headquarters in NYC speaking up for women's rights and denouncing apartheid. Vinie continues an active theatre career and her role in the Foundry Theatre production of Good Person of Szechuan starring Taylor Mac brought her back to her revolutionary off-Broadway beginnings in Jean Genet's The Blacks. Among her many honors are AEA's Paul Robeson Award and the Brecht Forum's Bertolt Brecht Award.

Steve Earle (Actor) A protégé of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Steve Earle is one of today's master musical storytellers, whose songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, The Pretenders, Joan Baez and countless others. Throughout his more than 30-year career, Earle has mined the veins of American roots music: country rock and roll, folk and rockabilly. His debut record Guitar Town, shot to No. 1 on the country charts, and his Grammy Award-winning albums include The Revolution Starts...Now, Washington Square Serenade and Townes. He is host of "The Steve Earle Show: Hardcore Troubadour" Radio, on Sirius XM Radio. On June 10, 2016, his collaborative album with Shawn Colvin, Colvin & Earle, was released on Fantasy Records. Colvin & Earle, produced by Buddy Miller, reveals a truly creative partnership between these friends who first met nearly three decades ago. His debut novel, I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive, was published in 2011, and a second novel and a memoir are forthcoming. Earle is also recognized as an actor from his roles on HBO's "The Wire" and "Treme," both created by David Simon.

Roy Faudree (Actor) with Sheena See started NO THEATER in Northampton, MA in 1974. NO has created new works for the stage with theaters in Paris, London, Manchester, Rotterdam, Ghent, Linz, Munich, Berlin, Tokyo and Melbourne, and occasionally brings productions to New York. Most recently it performed Caveman by Richard Maxwell at the Performing Garage in 2013 and End of the Road with the Young@Heart Chorus at St. Ann's Warehouse in 2010. Previous performances in New York include Dupe, Last Resort, DFS (de fiancé suction), and NO's original 1974 production of Faudree's The Elephant Man. Roy has performed in several Wooster Group Productions.

Modesto Flako Jimenez (Actor) is a Dominican-born, Bushwick-raised theater director, writer, poet, actor, producer, and educator. Winner of The Princess Grace Honoraria in Theater for 2016, ATI & HOLA Award Winner for 2015 and 2016, NY Times and Wall Street Journal profiled, 'Flako' is best known for original productions and three signature festivals - Ghetto Hors D'Oeuvres, One Catches Light, and Oye! Avant Garde Night! - produced with his company Brooklyn Gypsies Collective. Flako has appeared on TEDxBushwick, Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart", NY 1 and NPR.Favorite: Early Shaker Spirituals (Wooster Group), Last Night At The Palladium (Bushwick Starr/3LD), Yoleros (Bushwick Starr), Conversations Pt.1: How To Make It Black In America (JACK), Oye For My Dear Brooklyn (The Performance Garage/Wooster Group), Furry by WilLiam Burke (Bushwick Starr).

Matthew Korahais (Actor) is an actor and playwright originally from Queens. He was an ensemble member in The Nature Theater of Oklahoma's Life & Times (OBIE, Guardian Best Theater Pick), appeared as the Coffin Salesman in Pedro Reyes' DOOMOCRACY, presented by Creative Time and directed by Meghan Finn, performed in 600 Highwaymen's The Total People at the FIAF Tilt Kids Festival, and was most recently seen as Richard in Sarah DeLappe's Richard in 9 Poses for Clubbed Thumb. Upcoming: Take Me Through This On The Ground, a collaboration with visual artist Joey Hauk Weiss, and Zarina Shea's Stella Stein: A Parable.

Paul Lazar (Actor) co-foundedBig Dance Theater in 1991 with Annie-B Parson and Molly Hickok. His work with Big Dance includes conceiving, directing and/or performing in such works as Comme Toujour Here I Stand, PLAN B, andMac Wellman's Antigone. Big Dance has received BESSIE and OBIE awards. Paul has directed plays by Young Jean Lee, Christina Masciotti and Suzanne Bocanegra. He has performed in The Wooster Group's North Atlantic, Brace Up, Emperor Jones, The Hairy Ape, and North Atlantic. Mr. Lazar also acts in plays, movies and television shows. His most recent piece is a solo dance with text by John Cage text and live music by Lea Bertucci called Cage Shuffle.

Jasper Newell (Actor) is a 14-year-old actor growing up in the East Village of NYC. He made his 2015 Off Broadway debut in Gob Squad's, Before Your Very Eyes at The Public Theater and spent a few years traveling the world with the Oliver Award winning Einstein on The Beach as The Boy. Other credit highlights -Film: We Need To Talk About Kevin (Kevin), The Drowning (Danny), Imaginapped (Desmond), Meet The Small Potatoes (Jasper). Television: "Primetime: What Would You Do?" (ABC), "Small Potatoes" (Disney Jr.), "Dora The Explorer" (Nick Jr.), "The Wonder Pets" (Nick Jr.) You can also find him working on his jump shot at Basketball City.

Ivan Goff (Musician/Pipes) plays uilleann pipes and Irish concert flute and is currently a member of Irish traditional band Danú. Over the years he has performed worldwide in duets and ensembles with many household names of Irish music including Iarla Ó Lionáird, Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh, Martin Hayes, Cormac Breatnach, Eileen Ivers Band, Dervish, and Lúnasa. His credits that range from film and theater to appearances with the New York Philharmonic, and with collaborations that cross genres with new music, electroacoustic, and jazz; Ivan's music has also featured in several well-known productions such as Riverdance and Sting's The Last Ship on Broadway.

Funding Credits

Funding for Samara is provided, in part, by the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and an anonymous individual donor.

The Soho Rep. 2016-2017 season is made possible with major support from the Kashif Akhter, Douglas Durst, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Barry Feirstein, The Howard Gilman Foundation, James Gleick & Cynthia Crossen, Frank Holozubiec, Alfred F. Hubay, The Jerome Foundation, Janice Lee & Stuart Shapiro, Victoria Meakin, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, John Miller, National Endowment for the Arts, Tim Blake Nelson, New York Council of the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Mace Rosenstein and Louise de la Fuente, John A. Selzer, Shubert Foundation, Seth Sprague Educational & Charitable Foundation, SHS Foundation, The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, The Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation, Anonymous.

About Soho Rep.

Soho Rep. is a leading hub for innovative contemporary theater in New York City. We are dedicated to artistic excellence by supporting distinctive, diverse, and pioneering theater. We empower artists to make their boldest work and invite audiences to share in that intimate and transformative live experience. Soho Rep. creates a dynamic context for both artists and audiences that promotes and sustains conversation in the field and the cultural fabric of the city.

Soho Rep. is a very big, small theater. We have six full-time staff members, and our annual budget is $1.6M. At the same time, our outstanding reputation and recent accomplishments far exceed the size of our company.

Soho Rep. was honored with a 2014 Drama Desk Award for Sustained Achievement citing "nearly four decades of artistic distinction, innovative production, and provocative play selection," and we were named The Village Voice's 2015 Best Off Broadway Theater. Our productions have been recognized with 18 OBIE Awards; the 2016 Lucile Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical for César Alvarez and The Lisps' FUTURITY; nine Drama Desk nominations; two Kesselring Awards; and The New York Times Outstanding Playwriting Award for Dan LeFranc's Sixty Miles to Silverlake. In 2016, Artistic Director Sarah Benson was also named one of three recipients of the prestigious Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Theatre.

Many of our most acclaimed productions have been Soho Rep. commissions, were generated in the Writer/ Director Lab, and/ or developed in weeklong Studio workshops. They include: Annie Baker's Uncle Vanya, David Adjmi's Marie Antoinette, Anne Washburn's 10 out of 12, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' An Octoroon, which transferred to Theatre for A New Audience's 299-seat space in 2015.

Photo credit: Ted Barron

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