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Rebel Theater and Nuyorican Poets Cafe to Present R+J: AN UNCIVIL TALE, 4/10-26

Rebel Theater Company and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe present the world premiere production of R+J: An Uncivil Tale, a new adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. The play, which was written by Adam Mace and Kaitlyn Schirard, is set in the border-state of Kentucky in 1863 during the American Civil War. Romeo, son of the former-slave Montague's, meets Juliet, daughter of the Confederate Capulet's.

"R+J: An Uncivil Tale continues Rebel's tradition of exploring William Shakespeare's work with historical platforms," said Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, Producing Artistic Director of Rebel Theater. "After the great success of Othello: The Panther, we know that R+J will continue the high bar that was set."

In addition to being co-writer, the play his helmed by Adam Mace, Associate Producing Artistic Director of Rebel Theater. "Adam Mace represents for me one of our brightest emerging voices in the American theatre today," says Maharaj. "He, along with Kaitlyn Schirard bring a new sparkle and light to the Downtown Theatre Arts Movement."

This marks Kaitlyn Schirard's writing debut. "We often see productions of Shakespeare's works transposed into different settings; but in adapting his work we were able to weave his incredible tale with the story we wanted to tell with more specificity," said co-writer Kaitlyn Schirard. "We have endeavored to craft a piece that offers a new voice to some of Shakespeare's most loved characters."

"The biggest tragedy in our adaptation is that it is still relevant today." Says Co-Writer and Director, Adam Mace. "I am constantly reminded that the main reason for so much civil unrest in 2015 is due to the civil unrest of the 1800s and for that matter every year in which slavery was an institution in America. While creating this piece we discovered that it was no longer just about two families, but about an entire nation as a whole."

The Nuyorican Poets Cafe has long nurtured innovative and experimental work by diverse artists from communities that have been traditionally underrepresented in the theatrical, musical and literary fields. Rebel Theater is the Cafe's first-ever resident theater company, and R+J: An Uncivil Tale is the second production of Rebel's second season at the Café, following the success of Black Footnotes. This residency program resonates with the Cafe's focus on championing exceptional artists of color and diverse backgrounds who exist outside the mainstream. Rebel and the Cafe also reinterpret many classic works of theater, literature and music from the viewpoint of disenfranchised communities. Rebel Theater Company's final production at the Cafe this season will be The Trail of Tears, which tells the story of the genocide visited against Native Americans in the American West (co-produced with the Eagle Project, and featuring Native American actors and activists).

R+J: An Uncivil Tale opens Friday, April 10th and runs through Sunday, April 26th (12 total performances) at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (236 East 3rd Street, between Avenues B and C in Manhattan). Admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the door. $15 tickets are available for students and seniors at the door. Tickets are available at


Adam Mace (Playwright/Director) is a Director, Playwright and Producer. He is the Associate Producing Artistic Director of Rebel Theater and the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of Mount Carmel Theatre Company. Directing credits include: B E T W E E N (World Premiere by Tony Winner, John Guare, The Australia Cure (World Premiere at Theatre Row), Little Rock, An American Play (Assistant Director/Fight Director at Passage Theatre), The Laramie Cycle (MCTC) and Jesus Christ Superstar (MCTC). Producing Credits include: Othello: The Panther (Rebel), Salome Da Voodoo Princess of Nawlins (Rebel), and Black Footnotes (Rebel). Adam is an accomplished teaching artist and has held residencies with The Leadership Program and Rising City Arts. Adam is the Producer and Head Writer of ¡Rockamole! Productions, a new media production company. He holds an M.A. in Educational Theatre from NYU and is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).

Kaitlyn Schirard (Playwright) Kaitlyn Schirard is a member of the Rebel Ensemble and is making her writing debut with Adam Mace with R+J: An Uncivil Tale. She is so pleased to be sharing this story with audiences at the Nuyorican. A graduate from Rollins College, she moved to New York in 2013. Some of her credits include her recent work in Black Footnotes, Rosalind in As You Like It, Rosaline in Love's Labors Lost, and Richard II in Richard II.

Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj (Producer/Choreographer) is an Indo-Caribbean American artist, educator, and activist. He was hailed by the New York Times as "one of the most talented directors in New York these days." Rajendra is the founder and Artistic Director of Rebel Theater Company. He founded River Voices, an African American and Latino playwriting festival in collaboration with Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Maharaj is the former Associate Artistic Director of Syracuse Stage and the Lark Play Development Center, and an alumnus of Lincoln Center Directors Lab and TCG Young Leaders of Color. Maharaj is the recipient of grants, fellowships, and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Theater Communications Group, Time Warner Diverse Voices Fund, the Van Lier Directing Fellowship, and the AUDELCOs. He worked as an assistant director on the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival A Raisin in the Sun and on ABC's All My Children. Maharaj has been featured in American Theatre Magazine, Yale Review, New York Times, The Star Ledger, Chicago Sun Times, Ebony, and Variety.

Daniel Gallant (Producer) is the Executive Director of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, as well as a writer, producer, actor and teacher. He previously served as the Director of Theater and Talk Programming at the 92nd Street Y's Makor and Tribeca centers. He has produced theater and music events at venues including Summerstage, Town Hall, Brooklyn Museum, Joe's Pub, Abrons Arts Center and the DR2 Theater. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Crain's New York, the Daily News and the New York Post; on MTV, NBC, NY1, CBS, Univision, the BBC; and in anthologies from Vintage Books and Applause.

Assistant Director: Najah Muhammad. Musical Director: Christian Lee Branch. Stage Manager/Lighting Design: Charlie Kanev. Sound Design: Lauren Harpst.

ABOUT THE NUYORICAN POETS CAFE - Over the last 40 years, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe has served as a home for groundbreaking works of poetry, music, theater and visual arts. A multicultural and multi-arts institution, the Cafe champions the use of spoken word and music as means of social empowerment for minority and underprivileged artists. Our community of spectators, artists and students is a reflection of New York City's diverse population.

ABOUT REBEL THEATER COMPANY - Rebel Theater Company was founded in 2003 by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, Terry Costantino, Nick Pietre, and Winston Bachelor. The company gives voice to marginalized communities and is deeply committed to exploring the full beauty and diversity of the American experience. Rebel Theater resists the old traditions of the American theater and compels conversation through art. Under the artistic direction of Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, Rebel Company partnered with the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in 2013; since that time, the company has garnered rave reviews, as well as multiple AUDELCO and New York Innovative Theatre Award nominations for its productions.

The production runs for 90 minutes with no intermission. Tickets: $20 online; $25 at the door; $15 for students and seniors at the door. Visit The Nuyorican Poets Cafe (located at 236 East 3rd Street, between Avenues B and C in Manhattan) is a short walk from the 2nd Avenue Station of the F train and the Essex/Delancey Station of the J/M/Z trains.

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