Full Casting Announced For THE AFRICAN COMPANY PRESENTS RICHARD III Staged Reading
Full casting has been announced for NY Classical Theatre's staged reading of Carlyle Brown's drama The African Company Presents Richard III, which will be performed on two nights in March in Harlem and midtown.
The reading is presented by NY Classical in association with Voza Rivers/New Heritage Theatre Group and David Heron's Sure Thing Productions, as part of NY Classical's 'Diversifying the Classics' series.
The first performance is slated for Monday, March 2 at the Williams Institutional CME Church in Harlem with the second performance to follow on Tuesday, March 3 at St Bartholomew's Church Community House in midtown Manhattan. Both performances will begin at 7pm.
Stephen Burdman, Artistic Director of NY Classical, will direct the reading.
Set in 1821, the play is based on the true story of the first African-American theatre company in New York City. It dramatizes the conflict that arises when free African-American, William Henry Brown- founder of The African Company- organizes a production of Shakespeare's Richard III for a predominantly black audience, thereby challenging leading New York City producer Stephen Price, who is presenting an all-white version of the same play a few blocks away.
According to Burdman, "The cast assembled for this production is an accomplished ensemble of actors whose resumes span the worlds of theatre, film and television. We are extremely pleased and very excited to have them onboard, to bring to life this wonderful script by Carlyle Brown."
Maechi Aharanwa will appear as Ann, the talented African Company actress who also plays Lady Anne in Richard III. Aharanwa's Off Broadway credits include Mothers and If Pretty Hurts (Playwrights Horizons) and The Winter's Tale at Theatre for a New Audience. She has also been seen regionally in The Call (Theatreworks Hartford) and Seven Guitars at The People's Light and Theatre in Pennsylvania. Her television appearances include Elementary and Person of Interest. She is a graduate of The Juilliard School and a past winner of the Princess Grace/Gant Gaither Theatre Award.
Lincoln A.M. Brown portrays Papa Shakespeare, the Caribbean born, veteran African Company actor who plays Catesby in Richard III. Brown's credits include Off Broadway appearances in Funnyhouse of a Negro (Classical Theatre of Harlem) and Moon On a Rainbow Shawl (The New Federal Theatre). Other credits include Boesman and Lena and All My Sons at the New Day Repertory Theatre and A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Florida Shakespeare Festival and the Danbury Shakespeare Festival.
Nixon Cesar is cast as actor James Hewlett, The African Company's leading man who also portrays Richard III. Cesar appeared in Mother Courage at The Public Theatre with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. Other New York and Off Broadway credits include Paul Calderon's Master of The Crossroads as well as Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge and The Hook, adapted by Ron Hutchinson from Miller's screenplay of the same name. Cesar earned an Audelco Award nomination for his role in David Heron's Love and Marriage and New York City (The Billie Holiday Theatre).
Ian Gould is cast as The Constable, the law officer who attempts to shut down the company's production of Richard III. Gould is a veteran actor with NY Classical and has appeared in their productions of Romeo & Juliet, The Winter's Tale and A Midsummer Night's Dream among others. Other credits include The Show Off at the Pecadillo Theatre as well as Hamlet and Macbeth at The Acting Company.
David Heron will play William Henry Brown, the Caribbean born founder and producer of The African Company. Heron's Off Broadway credits include The Winter's Tale (NY Classical), The Emperor Jones (Irish Rep) and his own play Love and Marriage and New York City (Billie Holiday Theatre). He has been seen regionally in Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Festival St Louis), Marley-The Musical (Baltimore Centerstage) and A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Colonial Theatre of Rhode Island.
Candice McKoy is cast as Sarah, The African Company member who portrays Queen Elizabeth in Richard III. A graduate of the ACT Conservatory in San Francisco, she has appeared in New York and regionally in productions such as Intimate Apparel (Portland Stage), Single Black Female (Actors Playhouse), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Sonnet Rep) and David Heron's Love and Marriage and New York City (Billie Holiday Theatre) for which she earned an Audelco Award nomination. Her television and film appearances include The Path and Man on A Ledge.
John Michalski will portray Stephen Price, the New York producer determined to close down The African Company's production of Richard III. Michalski is a Juilliard graduate who has appeared in numerous productions with NY Classical including The Rivals, The Winter's Tale and Measure for Measure among others. Off Broadway and regional credits include Under My Skin and Homer's Odyssey (Handcart Ensemble), One Man, Two Guvnors (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis) and The Crucible (Pioneer Theatre, Salt Lake City).
For more information and reservation visit nyclassical.org or call (866) 811-4111.
Photo Credit: Maechi Aharanwa