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THE FORBIDDEN CITY Up Next in the LCT SPOTLIGHT SERIES Featuring Derrick Baskin, John Benjamin Hickey & More

Additional cast members include Ato Blankson-Wood, Jason Bowen, Alfie Fuller, John Benjamin Hickey, Roscoe Orman, Brenda Pressley and Ray Anthony Thomas.

THE FORBIDDEN CITY Up Next in the LCT SPOTLIGHT SERIES Featuring Derrick Baskin, John Benjamin Hickey & More

The LCT SPOTLIGHT SERIES, Lincoln Center Theater's free program of digital events, will continue on Thursday, April 29 with an audio performance of Bill Gunn's 1989 play, THE FORBIDDEN CITY. Directed by Seret Scott, THE FORBIDDEN CITY's cast of 11 will feature James T. Alfred, Spencer Scott Barros, Derrick Baskin, Kyle Beltran, Ato Blankson-Wood, Jason Bowen, Alfie Fuller, John Benjamin Hickey, Roscoe Orman, Brenda Pressley and Ray Anthony Thomas. This audio performance will be available as a podcast beginning Thursday, April 29 wherever you find your podcasts or by visiting lct.org.

The LCT Spotlight Series is expanding its programming to include audio presentations of largely forgotten plays that are deserving of a contemporary audience. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, a writer in LCT's Beaumont New Play Commission Program, chose THE FORBIDDEN CITY to include in the Spotlight Series. A bonus podcast episode featuring a conversation between Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins and director Seret Scott discussing THE FORBIDDEN CITY and playwright Bill Gunn, as well as a transcript of the audio play, will also be available at lct.org.

THE FORBIDDEN CITY premiered in March 1989 at The Public Theater in a production directed by Joseph Papp. Set in Philadelphia circa 1936, THE FORBIDDEN CITY examines how the bonds of a middle-class Black family are tested by the specter of a tragedy that occurred many years prior in the Jim Crow South.

Bill Gunn (1934-1989) was a playwright, novelist, actor and film director. He began his career as an actor appearing on Broadway in the 1950's alongside James Dean in The Immoralist and with Ethel Waters in The Member of the Wedding. Frustrated with the limited opportunities available to him and the lack of control he had as an actor, Gunn turned to playwriting, eventually writing more than 29 plays. His first play Marcus in the High Ground was produced by The Theatre Guild in 1959 and was followed by productions of Johnnas, the musical Rhinestone, Family Employment, Celebration, and Black Picture Show, which was produced at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in 1975 by the New York Shakespeare Festival. His many screenplays include the 1977 Muhammad Ali biopic The Greatest. He also wrote and directed Ganja & Hess, a horror film which since its 1973 premiere has become a cult classic of both horror and independent black filmmaking. Ganja & Hess was selected for Critic's Week at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, where it was also recognized as one of the ten best American films of the decade. The film was remade in 2014 by Spike Lee as Da Sweet Blood of Jesus. Lee credited Gunn as co-writer of his remake, describing the late writer as "one of the most under-appreciated filmmakers of his time." Gunn also authored the novels "All the Rest Have Died" (1964) and the semi-autobiographical "Rhinestone Sharecropping" (1981). Bill Gunn died on April 5, 1989, one day before the opening night of THE FORBIDDEN CITY at The Public Theater.

This audio production of THE FORBIDDEN CITY will have sound design by Fred Kennedy; JJJJJerome Ellis, Resident Artist at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, is the production's composer and music director, Jonathan McCrory, Artistic Director of the National Black Theatre is the dramaturg; Matt Craig is audio supervisor; and Roxana Kahn is the stage manager.


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