Rosalind Brown, Michael Michele Lynch and More Announced in Casting of LEAVING THE BLUES at The Flea Theater
Casting has been announced for the upcoming New York City premiere of Leaving the Blues, a new play by Jewelle Gomez, directed by Mark Finley. Rosalind Brown (original Broadway productions of Footloose and One Mo' Time) will play the lead role of Alberta Hunter, the great American jazz singer and songwriter. The cast also features Michael Michele Lynch, Joy Sudduth, Cooper Sutton, Benjamin Mapp, Ameerah Briggs, Tsebiyah Mishael Derry and Erik Ransom.
Leaving the Blues, a two-act, eight-actor, multi-character drama with songs, will feature the original song Lettie's Blues by the world-renowned musician/composer Toshi Reagon. Leaving the Blues is the second work in Words and Music, Gomez's trilogy about African-American artists in the first half of the 20th century and will be produced by the award-winning theater company TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence).
"I'm always searching for stories that reclaim the LGBTQ+ community's presence and participation in our country's history and culture, so Leaving the Blues is a perfect fit for us" said TOSOS artistic director Mark Finley. "Not only does this beautiful play celebrate the perfectionism and drive of Alberta Hunter the artist, but it also humanizes the sacrifices she made to survive in a world determined to minimize her. Her story continues to startle, amaze and inspire me."
The creative team for Leaving the Blues includes TJ Greenway (sets), Ben Philipp (costumes), Paul Hudson (lighting), Morry Campbell (sound), Bree Williams (properties), Cynthia Murray (choreography) and Assaf Gleizner and David Shenton (music), with Reesa Graham (assistant director) and Kaitlin Fann (stage manager).
Leaving the Blues begins previews January 16 at The Flea Theater, where it runs through February 8, 2020. Performances are at 7 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday (Tickets start at $30, plus a $2 renovation fee). To purchase or find out more information, visit www.theflea.org or www.tososnyc.org.
(Alberta) Rosalind is honored and blessed to be a part of the TOSOS family making her long awaited return to the theatre in this monumental production. Broadway: Original cast of Footloose (Wendy Jo) and One Mo' Time (Thelma). Regional and Europe: Dreamgirls (Lorrell), Hair (Dionne), Ain't Misbehavin (Nell), Little shop of Horrors(Ronnette). Las Vegas: We Will Rock You: The Music of QUEEN Television: When They See Us (NETFLIX) Orange Is The New Black (NETFLIX), Power (STARZ), BillIons (SHOWTIME) The Leftovers (HBO), Broad City (Comedy Central), Law & Order: SVU(NBC), Third Watch (NBC), All My Children (ABC). Instagram: msrozbrown Twitter:@rozbrown FB:@rosalindbrown
Michael Michele Lynch
(Will) Michael Michele Lynch is the proud recipient of the 2019 TOSOS HONORS Award for Outstanding Achievement. A founding member of TOSOS, they have appeared in every production of Doric Wilson's Street Theater playing the role of Boom Boom since 1984 (the Mineshaft bar production), played Leslie Bright in the critically acclaimed TOSOS production of Lanford Wilson's The Madness of Lady Bright, appeared in Joe Godfrey's A Queer Carol , played Dame Delancey in the first American pantomime production of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Abrams Arts Center directed by Julie Atlas Muz, appeared in Stephen Winter's groundbreaking urban gay film Chocolate Babies, and Dog Day Afternoon; was a member of La MaMa's Great Jones Company with founder Ellen Stewart, The Ridiculous Theater Company and Peter Brooks' International Center of Theater Research. A proud retired New York state civil servant and CSEA union member, they attended the High School of the Performing Arts. For ma.
(Calvino) Cooper is thrilled to be making his NYC debut at the Flea! Regional credits include Singin' in the Rain, White Christmas, and Peter and the Starcatcher. Film: Who We Are. BFA, BYU. Much love and gratitude to Emma, BMG, and the entire TOSOS family. coopergsutton.com
(Cal/Billy) Benjamin is thrilled to be appearing at The Flea! His theater credits include: Holiday Inn, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Hairspray, Riverdance, High School Musical & White Christmas. His TV credits include: Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Kevin Can Wait, Sweetbitter & Mozart of the Jungle. His Commercial credits include: McDonald's, Hardees, AT&T, Samsung, Citibank & Bud Light. Proud member of Actors Equity & Sag-Aftra. Thanks to Scotty, Dani & John. Love to Laura, Baby Mapp & fam. Insta:@bcmapp
(Lettie) Joy attended the University of Michigan, graduating cum laude (Master Degree in Public Policy). She also studied/trained in classical theatre at the Sorbonne (Paris, France). She has been in commercials, plays (Walk Hard, The Store: One Block East of Jerome), films (Paul, Lapsis), and television. Some of her recent credits include Gotham (FOX), Power (STARZ), Escape at Dannemora (Showtime), and The Village (NBC). Her theatrical work has been featured in the LA TIMES, BACKSTAGE WEST and VARIETY. She has also executive produced several festival award winning films. She is thrilled to being working with TOSOS again, thank you Mark, Michael and the whole wonderful TOSOS family! www.joysudduth.com
(Beebe) Ameerah is from SC. Her credits include M. Night Shyamalan's Split, and Equal Standard opposite Marc John Jefferies and Ice T. Ameerah has won awards for Best Supporting Actress in the films Never Once An Ocean and The Underhanded Free Throw. Coming from a military and artistic family, she traveled at a young age. Ameerah lived in Spain until the age of three, then moved to England and ultimately back to South Carolina where she studied art and received a BFA in theatre. Outside of acting, Ameerah enjoys studio art and is currently working on her series of batik fabric portraits.
Tsebiyah Mishael Derry
(May/Blanch) Tsebiyah is an actor, singer and poet native to New York. She made her Broadway debut in the choir of Rocktopia, and recently her regional debut as Sweet Thing in Nina Simone: Four Women at People's Light. Other favorite roles include Tybalt/Friar Laurence/Lady Capulet in Romeo & Juliet, Tamika in the Off-Broadway Sistas The Musical and the title role in Aida. Find Tsebiyah's debut single, "Regrow" on all music platforms. Follow and find more info at Tsebiyah.com!
(Fred/Jean/Chris) Erik is an award-winning, internationally-produced playwright, lyricist, composer and performer. He spent years playing Rodney/Mrs. Polinski in the long-running Off-Broadway hit My Big Gay Italian Wedding and plays the recurring role of François in PopStar! TV's "Tainted Dreams". Erik starred in and wrote songs for the film, "Happy Yummy Chicken" featuring Taryn Manning and available on Amazon Prime. His magnum opus, GRINDR The Opera, has been produced across the U.S. and won the 2019 "Offie" Award for Best New Musical in London. He served as lead comedy writer for The Celebrity Roast of Michael Musto, presented by Rosie O'Donnell and hosted by Bruce Vilanch and is thrilled to be making his debut with the TOSOS family!