New Ohio Theatre And IRT Theater Welcome Kareem M. Lucas and The Team Of Zhailon Levingston, Alex Hare, & Nehemiah Luckett As Their Newest Archive Residency Artists

Article Pixel

New Ohio Theatre And IRT Theater Welcome Kareem M. Lucas and The Team Of Zhailon Levingston, Alex Hare, & Nehemiah Luckett As Their Newest Archive Residency Artists

New Ohio Theatre and IRT Theater are excited to welcome Kareem M. Lucas and the team of Zhailon Levingston, Alex Hare & Nehemiah Luckett as their newest Archive Residency artists. The Archive Residency is a vital opportunity for New York City's most electrifying theater artists and independent companies which offers them an artistic home for the development and presentation of a new work over two years. Each residency culminates with a world premiere production. Now in its seventh year, the Archive Residency is a collaboration between New Ohio Theatre and IRT Theater (likeminded neighbors in the historic Archive Building in the West Village).

The two works the incoming artists will develop over the next two years are:

Black Is Beautiful, But It Ain't Always Pretty, created and performed by Kareem M. Lucas. In this solo show, Lucas reanimates the memory of a never-ending NYC night - a wild roller coaster ride through alcohol, drugs, sex, joy, loss, and self-discovery. He weaves together his past and present to interrogate our desperate need for significance, in life and after death, and mythologizes the everyday experience of a common Black man in America. 'Black Is Beautiful, But It Ain't Always Pretty' is an epic poem about fulfilling one's purpose-if there is any-before time runs out. The clock is ticking.

A Burning Church (a new musical), book and direction by Alex Hare and Zhailon Levingston, music by Nehemiah Luckett, and lyrics by Zhailon Levingston. Cleo and Pastor Jen are standing in the rubble that used to be Calvary Baptist Church. Two years ago they lost the lease, five years ago little Ciara was killed, ten years ago half the congregation left in protest, twenty years ago it was the second biggest megachurch in Alabama, thirty-four years ago they found the pastor in the basement - and last night Richard broke in, to await God's imminent return. A kaleidoscopic new musical tracing the lives of church leaders and congregants amid political movements, tragedies, and spiritual rebirth, A Burning Church is about an American institution fighting to survive a crisis of faith.

Speaking about the new artists joining the Archive Residency, New Ohio Theatre Artistic Director Robert Lyons said, "They are exploring the American black experience from two radically different points of view in very different theatrical forms. We are looking forward to supporting the development of these singular visions."

The first year of the Archive Residency includes a one-month stay in IRT's 3B Development Series and a one-week presentation in New Ohio's Obie Award-winning Ice Factory summer festival. The second year includes additional time at IRT, and culminates with a fully realized, four-week run in the New Ohio's main season.

Each fall, two independent companies or groups of artists are invited into the Archive Residency, bringing the program to full strength with four companies in residence, each cycling through the two-year development process.

Zhailon Levingston, co-writer and co-director of A Burning Church, said, "I'm so excited to be a part of this residency. The New Ohio has such an interest in creating a space for artists to throw their ideas to the wall in a safe and encouraging environment. To have them behind us is an honor."

Lucas and Levingston, Hare, & Luckett join Byzantine Choral Project and Radical Evolution, who are in their second year of the Archive Residency and who's world premiere productions will open in Spring 2020, at New Ohio Theatre.

Archive Residency alumni include Built for Collapse (dir. Sanaz Ghajar), CollaborationTown (dir. Lee Sunday Evans), The Mad Ones (dir. Lila Neugebauer), Our Voices Theater (dir. Kim Weild), Piehole (dir. Tara Ahmadinejad), Vampire Cowboys (writer Qui Nguyen). For more information visit

About the Artists: Kareem M. Lucas is a Brooklyn born and Harlem based Actor/Writer/Producer/Director. His solo pieces include "The Maturation of an Inconvenient Negro (or iNEGRO)", "From Brooklyn With Love", "RATED BLACK: An American Requiem", "A Boy & His Bow", and "Black Is Beautiful, But It Ain't Always Pretty". He has performed his solo work at The Greene Space, Aaron Davis Hall at City College, The Town Hall, Fire This Time Festival, IRT Theater, The Slipper Room, Teatro Circulo, Judson Arts Wednesdays, Hi-ARTS, AFO Theater, JACK, New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater, among others. He is currently co-collaborating on the immersive theatrical piece "The Black History Museum...According to the United States of America", as a writer/performer with the Smoke & Mirrors Collaborative as a part of their Residency at HERE Arts Center, it will premiere at HERE in November 2019. He most recently was a part of The 2019 Mentor Project at The Cherry Lane Theatre, where his solo show "The Maturation of an Inconvenient Negro (or iNEGRO)" was mounted. He's also an inaugural Jerome Hill Artist Fellow and a NYTW 2050 Playwriting Fellow. MFA: NYU Graduate Acting Program. For more info you can visit or follow him on Instagram @KareemMLucas

Zhailon Levingston (Co-Director, Co-Book Writer) is a writer/director. He recently directed Neptune at Dixon Place and the Brooklyn Museum and The Years That Went Wrong by David Zheng at The Lark and MCC. Other credits include The Exonerated at Columbia Law School and Chariot Part 2 at Soho Rep for The Movement Theatre Company. He is the associate director of Primer for a Failed Super Power, Annie Salem and Reconstruction with Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin, as well as Runaways at The Public with Sam Pinkleton. Most recently he directed Mother of Pearl at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, Thea and the Sheen Center and Chicken and Biscuits at Queens Theatre. He is the US Associate Director of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical on Broadway.

Alex Hare (Co-Director, Co-Book Writer) is a director of new musicals (mostly) and the associate artistic director of Corkscrew Theater Festival, which seeks to provide early-career artists with a high level of production support while reducing barriers to entry. In the works: Walt Whitman BodyJolt (developed at Barn Arts Collective and Corkscrew Downstairs) and You Can't Kiss a Movie (workshop production at HERE). Assistant credits: School of Rock (Broadway), Side Show (Broadway, Kennedy Center). Frequently an assistant to film director Bill Condon, Alex studied American Studies at Columbia University.

Nehemiah Luckett (Composer): Originally from Jackson, Mississippi, Nehemiah Luckett has been performing, composing and conducting for over 30 years. He has been a featured soloist at the National Cathedral and Carnegie Hall, and has performed all over the US and Europe. Currently, Nehemiah has three musicals in development - Triple Threats with Tracey Lee, A Burning Church with Zhailon Levingston and Alex Hare, and (((Jazz Singer))) with Joshua William Gelb, premiering at Abrons Arts Center in September 2019. Nehemiah is the Music Director and Composer for Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir (, a group of anti-consumerist gospel shouters and Earth loving urban activists who have worked with communities on four continents defending community, life, and imagination and resisting Consumerism and Militarism.

New Ohio Theatre is a two-time OBIE Award-winning theatre under the leadership of Robert Lyons, Artistic Director, and Marc Stuart Weitz, Producing Director. The New Ohio serves New York's most adventurous theatre audiences by developing and presenting bold work from today's vast independent theatre community. They believe the best of this community, the small artist-driven ensembles and the daring producing companies who operate without a permanent theatrical home, are actively expanding the boundaries of where American theatre is right now and where it's going. From their home in the West Village's historic Archive Building, the New Ohio provides a high-profile platform for downtown's most mature, ridiculous, engaged, irreverent, gut-wrenching, frivolous, sophisticated, foolish and profound theatrical endeavors. The theatre is accessible from the #1 train to Christopher St. or A, B, C, D, E, F or M train to West 4th St. For info visit, Like them on Facebook at /NewOhioTheatre, and follow on Twitter and Instagram at @NewOhioTheatre.

IRT Theater is a grassroots laboratory for independent theater and performance in New York City, providing space and support to a new generation of artists. Tucked away in the old Archive Building in Greenwich Village, IRT's mission is to build a community of emerging and established artists by creating a home for the development and presentation of new work. Some of the artists they have supported include Young Jean Lee, Reggie Watts, Mike Daisey and many others. For info visit

Related Articles View More Off-Off-Broadway Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You