Franz Jones, Danny Bolero and More to Lead Platform Group's ROUGHLY SPEAKING; Cast, Creative Team Set!

By: Sep. 30, 2016
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Shara Ashley Zeiger's Roughly Speaking, a new play with rap based on over 200 interviews with New York City's homeless, has announced its full cast and creative team. Conceived and produced by The Platform Group, in cooperation with Xavier Mission's Welcome Table Soup Kitchen, Roughly Speaking will be presented at Tada, located at 15 West 28 Street from October 29 through November 20.

Show times are Wednesday-Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2pm. There will be an additional performance on Monday, November 14 at 8pm and no performance on Sunday October 30, or Wednesday, November 16. All tickets are $25.00, with $3.00 from each ticket sold going towards purchasing backpacks for the homeless. Reservations: 212-868-4444 or The approximate running time of the show is 90 minutes.

The Roughly Speaking cast will feature Franz Jones* (Broadway's Big River), Danny Bolero* (Broadway's In the Heights & Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat), Christopher Michael McLamb*, Steven J. Michel*, Michael Twaine* (European Tour of West Side Story), Madeline McCray*, Troy Valjean Rucker* (National Tour, Jesus Christ Superstar), Shara Ashley Zeiger* and Joanie Anderson. (* - Member of Actors' Equity)

Roughly Speaking will be directed by Celine Rosenthal (Broadway's Leap of Faith & Seminar). Set Design is by Joseph Napolitano. Lighting Design is by Sophie Talmadge Silleck. Costume Design is by Shirlee Idzakovich. Stage Manager is Megan Roberts. Assistant Stage Manager is Ari Grossman. Assistant Director is Benjamin Abraham. Dramaturg is Nancy Kelly.

Roughly Speaking presents a look into a world often not acknowledged, one seen through the eyes of Lightning Bolt, a rapper bound only by his wheelchair and a cast of diverse characters on a not so typical day at the soup kitchen. An existential struggle of survival begs questions of love, loss, and what's next. Roughly Speaking is a drama with rap about those who are caught in a system which exists more to maintain the status quo, rather than offer a way out.

The Platform Group previously presented a successful staged reading of Roughly Speaking this past June at Manhattan Theatre Club. Those who attended the reading call the work "funny, sad and moving," "well-written, with good comic timing and heartfelt stories of anguish and struggle," and that "it captured the magic, sadness, reality, pain and humanity of the guests of Xavier."

All Sunday and Wednesday performances of Roughly Speaking will include a post-show talk back featuring members of the cast and creative team, along with experts on the homeless, community partners and members of Xavier Mission's Welcome Table Soup Kitchen. Audiences will also experience the WE ARE ALL HOMELESS art installation by Willie Baronet set up in the lobby of Tada Theatre. WE ARE ALL HOMELESS has been featured in TEDx Talks, Democratic and Republican National Conventions, an Upworthy viral video of 6 million hits, and the documentary film Signs of Humanity.

Shara Ashley Zeiger is the founder and Artistic Director of The Platform Group, where she acted in and produced Savage in Limbo and The Ladder Series. Her play The Dark Place was part of the 2014 Emerging Artist Theater's New Works Festival. As a devised work teaching artist she has developed 14 new plays with The Queens Theatre. Shara's theatre acting credits include the National Tour of Moliere's Imaginary Invalid and appearances at La Mama E.T.C., PS 122, Theater for the New City, Kitchen Theatre, Bristol Riverside Theatre and Buck's County Playhouse. She is on the reader selection committee for The O'Neill Center's National Playwrights Conference and sits on the board for NY's Educational Theater Association.

Celine Rosenthal is a Tony-nominated producer (Leap of Faith, Seminar), an NYU Tisch alum, and graduate of The New School for Drama's MFA Directing Program. She is a founding member of Neela Theatre Project in Mumbai, and a Musical Theatre Factory Board Member. Her work has been seen at NYMF, New York City Center, MMAC, 54 Below, 59E59 and in the Broadway's Future Songbook Series at Lincoln Center. Recent projects include Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries, David Grieg's Yellow Moon, and Bekah Brunstetter's Little Man.

The Platform Group was formed in early 2010 as a call to action by Artistic Director Shara Ashley Zeiger. Their mission is to create work that challenges, inspires and provides a place to stand on. They seek to elevate both their audiences and creators. In early 2011 they produced a sold-out Off-Broadway run of John Patrick Shanley's Savage in Limbo. In 2012 they produced The Ladder Series, a staged reading series of 9 new full length plays, working with over 80 theatre artists, which lead to further development, world premieres, and publishing of some of the works.

Funding for Roughly Speaking is made possible through a very successful Kickstarter campaign and a grant from The Puffin Foundation. The production team is currently fielding various funding sources and hopes to take the play to a future life once the Tada run is finished.


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