Soho Rep Presents Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's AN OCTOROON, Now thru 5/18
Soho Rep presents the world premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's An Octoroon, directed by Soho Rep. Artistic Director Sarah Benson. The production, tonight, April 23, through May 18, concludes a banner New York season for the celebrated playwright, whose Appropriate made its New York premiere February 25-April 6 at Signature Theatre.
Performances of An Octoroon will take place tonight, April 23, through May 18 (see schedule above) at Soho Rep. Critics are welcome as of Wednesday, April 30 for an official opening of Sunday, May 4 at 7:30pm. Soho Rep. is located at 46 Walker Street in Manhattan. General admission tickets are $35 and can be purchased by visiting sohorep.org or calling 212.352.3101. $0.99 Sunday tickets will be offered on April 27 and May 11 and are available first come, first served at the box office only. $30 general rush and $20 student rush (valid school ID) tickets are available at the box office one hour prior to curtain for each performance, no advance sales.
The cast of An Octoroon includes Amber Gray as Zoe; Jocelyn Bioh as Minnie; Marsha Stephanie Blake as Dido; Shyko Amos as Grace; Danny Wolohan as Playwright, Wahnotee and Lafouche; and Ben Horner as Assistant, Pete and Paul. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.
The creative team includes Mimi Lien (sets), Matt Frey (lights), Matt Tierney (sound), Wade Laboissonniere (costumes), Cookie Jordan (wigs and makeup), Jeff Sugg (projections) Jon Knust (props), J. David Brimmer (fight director), Amanda Spooner (stage management) and Elizabeth Moreau (producer).
Funding for this production is provided, in part, by the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation.
In 1859, Dion Boucicault's The Octoroon opened at The Winter Garden Theatre in New York City and was quickly christened "the great dramatic sensation of the season." Seven companies toured the antebellum melodrama for years, making it second in popularity only to Uncle Tom's Cabin.
In the play, Judge Peyton is dead, and his plantation Terrebonne is in financial ruins. Peyton's handsome nephew George arrives as heir apparent, and quickly falls in love with Zoe, a beautiful "octoroon." But, the evil overseer M'Closky has other plans-for both Terrebonne and Zoe.
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins collides the sensational plot and heightened theatrical gestures of Boucicault's original with contemporary language and dueling set of narrators. His An Octoroon is a piece that's firmly about us-here and now.
Jacobs-Jenkins is a 2008/09 alumni of the Soho Rep. Writer/Director lab and was a Dorothy Strelsin Fellow in 2009. Started in 1998 under the leadership if Daniel Aukin, the Writer/Director Lab fosters collaboration between early-career writers and directors who may not otherwise have an artistic home. Each year, up to five writers and directors are paired to create a new play. Over a 9-month period, the Lab meets regularly to read and respond to one another's work under the guidance of established mentors, now co-chairs Ken Russ Schmoll & Jenny Schwartz. The plays generated from the Lab are presented in a free public reading series each spring. As a Strelsin Fellow, Branden received an artistic stipend, open access to Soho Rep's offices and supplies, and two developmental workshops of An Octoroon.
Special thanks to Signature Theatre, where Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is part of Residency Five. Residency Five is a unique program that guarantees playwrights three premiere productions of new plays over the course of a five-year residency. Residency Five enables a diverse community of playwrights to build bodies of work, and each playwright receives a significant cash award, full health benefits, a stipend to attend theatre, access to Signature's resources and staff, and a place at the center of the artistic process.
About The Octoroon Artists: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (playwright) other plays include Neighbors, Appropriate and Gloria. His work has been or will be seen at The Vineyard Theater, The Public Theater, The HighTide Festival (UK) the Actor's Theater of Louisville, Victory Gardens in Chicago, and the Woolly Mammoth in DC. He is a Lila Acheson Wallace fellow at the Juilliard School and a playwright-in-residence at The Signature Theater. Recent honors include the Tennessee Williams Award, the Paula Vogel Award and the Helen Merill Award for Emerging Playwrights.
Sarah Benson (director) has been the Artistic Director of Soho Rep since 2007. For Soho Rep, she has directed David Adjmi's site-specific Elective Affinities with Zoe Caldwell; Sarah Kane's Blasted (OBIE Award, Drama Desk nomination); Gregory Moss' Orange, Hat & Grace; and last season's world premiere of Lucas Hnath's A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney. Other recent credits include: Futurity a musical by The Lisps (A.R.T. & Walker Arts Center), Polly Stenham's That Face (MTC), Gregory Moss' House of Gold (Woolly Mammoth) and Sophocles' Ajax (A.R.T.). Upcoming projects include The Lisps' Futurity in New York and Richard Maxwell's Samara.
Amber Gray (Zoe): Natasha Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 (Kazino and Ars Nova), The TEAM's Mission Drift (London's National Theatre, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Perth International Arts Festival, New York COIL, Salzburger Festspiele, Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre, Universide de Coimbra, and Lisbon's Culturgest), The World is Round (Ripe Time), We Play for the Gods (Women's Project), All Hands (Hoi Polloi), Eager to Lose (Ars Nova), Banished Children of Eve (Irish Rep), and ongoing shows with Reverend Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping. TV/Film: The Burg, Law and Order: SVU, Roger the Chicken, Herkimer Dufrayne, Sissypants, The Weekend, What Would Jesus Buy? Training: MFA NYU Graduate Acting.
Jocelyn Bioh (Minnie) was born and raised in New York City. Previous credits: Bootycandy (Wilma Theater), Seed (Classical Theater of Harlem), Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet (City Theatre), The world premiere of Neighbors (The Public Theater). Various workshops at: Arena Stages, Soho Rep, Hi-Arts NYC, The Lark, Eugene O'Neill Center, Primary Stages. TV: "Louie" (FX Network), "One Live To Live" (ABC), Cover Girl spokesmodel (National Commercial/Print Ads); BA in English and Theatre from The Ohio State University; MFA in Theatre-Playwriting from Columbia University.
Marsha Stephanie Blake (Dido) was last seen in Soho Rep's Marie Antoinette. She has appeared on Broadway in The Merchant of Venice, Joe Turner's Come and Gone and The Crucible. Her Off-Broadway credits include Luck of the Irish, Bullet for Adolf, Hurt Village (Audelco Award), This Beautiful City, Queens Boulevard, Speak Truth to Power and Aunt Dan and Lemon. Film and television credits include Stand Clear of the Closing Doors (Best Feature Jury Award, Tribeca 2013), Django Unchained, The Architect, "Law & Order," "Law & Order: SVU," "The Big C," "Gifted Man," "ElemeNtarY" and HBO's "Girls."
Shyko Amos (Grace) is a Lifetime Artist Member of The Ensemble Studio Theatre NYC. U.S. credits include: Mamma Mia (world tour); Gin Baby (IRT); Cell (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Sex and Death in London for Rising Phoenix Theatre; Veils Workshop for StageWorks Hudson Theatre and I star Theatre Lab; The Honest Whore at The Flea Theatre and The Founders Project Workshops for New York Theatre Workshop. UK credits include: In Time at the Almeida Theatre written by Oliver Award winning playwright Bola Adje. The first British revival of Once on This Island (UK tour), Songs of Freedom at The Southbank Centre written by award winning British playwright/director Kwame Kwe Ama; Charlten Heston and The Prodigal Son Workshops for The National.
Danny Wolohan (Playwright, Wahnotee, Lafouche) was recently seen Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in Marlane Meyer's The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters. He has performed regionally at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Berkeley Rep and Portland Center Stage. Wolohan has recently featured in Variety for his performance at the Humana Festival and in American Theatre magazine as one of seven actors in the nation one should travel to see. He was named San Francisco's Best Ensemble Actor by SF Weekly, and The Bay Area's Best Drag Performer of the Year by The Bay Area Reporter. Along with playwright Will Eno, Danny was, at one point, the Williamsburg Brooklyn Doubles Tennis Champion.
Ben Horner (Assistant, Pete, Paul) Broadway: War Horse, Macbeth. Off-Broadway: The Gods Are Pounding My Head, Zomboid (Ontological-Hysteric Theatre), Bingo with the Indians, seating ARRANGEMENTS, Smoke and Mirrors (The Flea Theatre), Mustard (La MaMa E.T.C.) Other Theatre: Romeo and Juliet (Yale Repertory Theatre), Macbeth (Wachovia Playhouse), As You Like It, The Tempest (Colorado Shakespeare Festival), Macbeth (Smith Street Stage), Macbeth, A Streetcar Named Desire, Bones in the Basket (Yale School of Drama). Film: Deliver Us From Evil. Television: Person of Interest. Founding Member: Good Belly. Education: BFA NYU (Stella Adler Studio/Experimental Theatre Wing); MFA Yale School of Drama.
About Soho Rep.: Founded in 1975, and in its theater on Walker Street since 1991, Soho Rep. has built an outstanding reputation for being at the forefront of new and innovative theatre, serving as a vital center for contemporary theatre artists.
Soho Rep. is dedicated to cultivating and producing visionary, uncompromising, and exuberant new plays, performing to one of the youngest adult audiences in New York City, with over half aged 18-40.
Critics continue to herald Soho Rep. as a go-to theatre destination for new and original works. New York Magazine has said, "this indispensable theater offers more excitement per chair than any space in town," Time Out New York says, "Soho Rep is the best theater in NYC," and The New York Times declares Soho Rep. to be "a first-class downtown company" and "The downtown powerhouse...regularly outclasses the work done on many of the city's larger stages." In 2013, Time Out New York declared Soho Rep. as the "Best Downtown Theater Institution."
Over the last decade, Soho Rep. productions have garnered 15 OBIE Awards; nine Drama Desk nominations, two Kesselring Awards, The New York Times Outstanding Playwriting Award for Dan LeFranc's Sixty Miles To Silverlake and, a special citation in The New York Drama Critics' Circle's 2012-13 awards. In recent years, Soho Rep. has presented plays by established and emerging theatre artists such as Annie Baker, Lucas Hnath, Sarah Kane, Daniel Alexander Jones, Debbie Tucker Green, Mac Wellman, Young Jean Lee, Richard Maxwell, Nature Theater of Oklahoma and Jackie Sibblies Drury.