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Casting Announced For FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT at RAVE Theater Festival

Casting Announced For FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT at RAVE Theater Festival

Rave Theater Festival's reading of FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT, a new American play by Ofem Ajah, M.D. announces cast. Obie award-winning actress Yvette Ganier ("Breath, Boom", "Jitney", "Gem of the Ocean") will direct. The reading starts at 12:30 Wednesday, August 21st at Teatro SEA, at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, located at 107 Suffolk Street, 1st Floor in Manhattan. The reading is free and open to the public. Please R.S.V.P to

The cast includes Michael J. Burg, John Concado, Mike Meth, Grace Parker, Danielle Skraastad and Sharon Talbot. Monique A. Robinson is the stage manager.

Based on historical facts, FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT is set in the White House in 1920s Washington D.C. Hard drinking and often smoking Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States, is badly bothered by rumors of his black ancestry which his opponents hope will defeat his re-election hopes. Harding directs his aide and fixer to neutralize the chief rumor monger while also helping him achieve his fantasy of being the first President to take a young girl's virginity in the White House. When the First Lady consults her astrologer she uncovers the truth about the affair and the avalanches of scandals that are about to ensnare the president.

OFEM AJAH, M.D. (playwright) based FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT on his earlier work "Warren, Oh Warren!" (2015). His play "Dirty Linen" was produced by Manhattan Repertory Theatre in 2018 ("... hilarious moments ... filled with equal amounts of political and sexual humor" - He is also the author of the novel "Dream Comes True," published by Vantage Press, New York, in 1997. Dr. Ajah was born in Adim, Cross River State, Nigeria. He attended Presbyterian School Adim from 1965-71 which was interrupted by the Biafran war, during which he was a refugee. His secondary education was in St. Brendan's Secondary School, Iyamoyong, Cross River State, Nigeria. He went on to medical school, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria and began practicing in Nigeria until 1989 when he relocated to the US. In 1990, Dr. Ajah began his internship at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn. He went on to specialize in gastroenterology, completing his training in 1996. He is currently an attending physician at New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn. Dr. Ajah is married with two children.

Yvette Ganier (director/actor) received a 2001 Obie award for her portrayal of Prix in Kia Corthron's play "Breath, Boom" at Playwrights Horizons. Her directing credits include "August in April: A Tribute to August Wilson's Life and Legacy," an anthology drama that fused live performances with filmed commentaries at the Abrons Arts Center. She also served as dramaturg on Shona Tucker's one-person show "Growing Wild" as part of the #HealMeToo Festival at the IRT Theater in April. As an actor Yvette is best known for working with August Wilson on three of his last four plays, originating the roles of Rena in "Jitney" and Black Mary in "Gem of the Ocean" and featured as Tonya in "King Hedley II" at The Goodman Theatre. Some of Yvette's acting credits include: Broadway - "The Miracle Worker", "King Hedley II"; London - "Jitney"; Off-Broadway/NY - "The Slow Room", "The Block", "Pitbulls", "Breath, Boom", "Jitney", "For Colored Girls"; Regional: The Goodman and Steppenwolf theaters in Chicago; The Mark Taper Forum in LA; The Curran Theater in San Francisco; Baltimore CenterStage; PTC, The Wilma Theatre and Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia; Cleveland Playhouse; Actors Theatre of Louisville; Seattle Rep and The Intiman in Seattle. Yvette is currently recurring in "New Amsterdam" on NBC as Nurse Linda Weber. Other awards include The Bowden Award (New Dramatists), LA Ovation Award, NAACP Image Award and the AUDELCO Award. Yvette was recently a member of The Acting Company for the 2019 Orchard Project and the Drama League Directors' Retreat.

RAVE THEATER FESTIVAL will be held this summer from August 9-25, 2019 at the Clemente Solo Velez Cultural Center (107 Suffolk Street) on the Lower East Side. The festival is helmed by Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Ken Davenport, who will serve as artistic director.

For its inaugural year, Rave Theater Festival has selected a diverse roster of 20 plays, musicals, family-friendly shows, and cross-disciplinary projects. To learn more about Rave Theater Festival visit

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