Tonya Pinkins Directs VISIONARY VOICES, Beginning Tonight at American Bard Theater

American Bard Theater Company presents Visionary Voices, three poignant, tantalizing plays by two pioneering women playwrights, exploring gender roles, race, and death in America's early twentieth century. Aimee Todoroff and Tonya Pinkins direct.

The evening of one-act works include Trifles by Susan Glaspell (1916), Exit: An Illusion by Marita Bonner (1929), and The People by Susan Glaspell (1918). Performances will be staged at the Gloria Maddox Theatre, 151 West 26th Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10001 from tonight, February 15, through March 5, 2017.


Trifles by Susan Glaspell, directed by Aimee Todoroff
A "ripped from the headlines" murder-mystery is the inspiration for Glaspell's iconic play about a seemingly diabolical crime without a motive. While the investigators look to the usual clues, only their wives, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, are able to clearly see course of events that lead to a woman's desperate act. Director Aimee Todoroff states, "The discussion around the inclusion of women's perspectives in our public discourse, especially in politics and media, has been a hot topic in 2016. In 1916, Susan Glaspell brilliantly created a taught, heart-wrenching mystery that can only be fully understood when the audience shares the women's perspective, illuminating in a visceral way that inclusion is imperative to the human experience. Without women, we're only telling half the story!"

Cast: Cheri Wicks*, Mel House*, Michael Birch*, Arthur Aulisi*, Chris Harcum*

Exit: An Illusion by Marita Bonner directed by Tonya Pinkins
A lovers quarrel? A nightmare? A dream? The only thing that is certain is that tomorrow is not promised. So Live, Love Now.

Cast: Morgan McGuire, T. Thompson, Carl Fisk

The People by Susan Glaspell, directed by Aimee Todoroff
The radical newspaper "The People," run by the world-weary Edward Willis and his cynical assistant editor Oscar Tripp, is on the verge of shutting down. As the staff and loyal readers each take comic swipes at why the paper is failing, a mysterious woman from out of town arrives with some much needed inspiration, just in time to save "The People." The Charlie Hebdo shootings. Breitbart media. Fake news. A 'post-fact society.' These issues can feel overwhelming. It's enough to make a person want to give up. Susan Glaspell's humor, wit and experience as a journalist send us a poignant message from exactly 100 years ago...Hope.

Cast: Arthur Aulisi*, Erin Gilbreth*, Chris Harcum*, Carl Fisk, Nihara Nichelle, Sidiki Fofana, Cheri Wicks*, Michael Birch*, Mel House*, Morgan McGuire, T. Thompson, and Madeline Lovegrove

*Member, Actors' Equity Association. AEA Showcase.


Visionary Voices is presented by American Bard Theater Company. Producer: Cheri Wicks; Costume Designer: Nancy Nichols; Set Designer: (Raphael) Zhao Mingshuo; Lighting Designer: Christopher Weston; Projections Designer: Elizabeth Mak; Sound Designer: Matthew Fischer; Stage Manager: Clarissa Marie Ligon; Assistant Stage Manager: Tai Thompson; Graphic Designer: Samantha Hewitt; Public Relations: Paul Siebold/Off Off PR.

Tickets are: $18 for adults; $15 for students and seniors. Visit Eventbrite or call 800-838-3006. For more information, visit www.americanbard.org. Fifteen performances will be staged from February 15-March 5, 2017 on the following schedule: Wednesdays-Sundays at 8pm.


Tonya Pinkins (director for Exit: An Illusion by Marita Bonner) produced, directed and adapted the short film "What Came After" with Christopher Oscar Pena from his play by the same name which was produced in the 2016 at Eclectic Festival. She directed: Miss Roj from THE COLORED MUSEUM for Project One Voice at The Kimble Theater, A Visit Home by Jeffrey Sweet in 2013, Colored Boys by Jesse Alick in 48 Hours in Harlem, V-Day, the Vagina Monologues at The World Health Ministry Conference in Mexico, The Klucking of Hens by Carol Lockwood at New Professional Theater, Lord's Resistance by Camille Darby's at The National Black Theater Festival in Winston Salem, Dead Peoples Things by Patricia Ione Lloyd at Red Circle Rising and co-directed Easy to Love by Larry Powell in the Fire This Time Festival. She has been developing Blaine Teamer's "#BoxSeats" at NYTW and in National Black Theater's Monday Night Reading Series. Tonya is a Tony, Obie Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Lortel Award winning actor. She teaches privately and at The Atlantic Theater School's NYU program. Tonya is the author of Get OVER YOURSELF: How to Drop The Drama and Claim The Life You Deserve (Hyperion Books). Tonya works The African American Policy Forum and actively supports #SayHerName and TheMovementForBlackLives among other causes and organizations.

Aimee Todoroff (director for Trifles and The People by Amy Glaspell) is a director and producer originally from Dayton, OH currently working in New York City and regionally. She has been a part of two Obie Award-winning projects, performing in Peculiar Works Project's Off Stage-the East Village Fragments and directing Green for the Metropolitan Playhouse's 2010-2011 Season. Recently, she directed Hedda Gabler at the Gilbert Theatre in NC, and she will return in the spring to direct The Secret Garden. She has also directed at Primary Stages, The Living Theatre, HERE Arts Center, The Westside Theater, Guild Hall and at various site-specific locations around New York City. She has directed the premieres of works by Cusi Cram, Daisy Foote, and Chris Harcum, including We Haven't Told Anyone About This, Rabbit Island, American Gun Show, a 5-star reviewed show in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and presented a workshop of a Halley Feiffer's A Funny Thing Happened... Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Centers of New York City in the spring of 2015, prior to its Off-Broadway production at MCC. As Artistic Director of the independent theatre company Elephant Run District, Aimee conceived and developed the popular Brecht in the Park Series, bringing free, outdoor performances of Brecht's lesser knows plays to an underserved community. An enthusiastic collaborator, Aimee has helped develop many plays, including Turing Test by Dom DeGaetano, The Girls of Ward 3 by Tom Slot, Mighty Good Company by Tim Nolan and How to Bury a Saint by Janice Maffei. Aimee received her MFA in Directing from Southampton Arts, studying with Marsha Norman, Nick Mangano and Rinde Eckert, and has taken master classes with Karen Kohlhaas, Joanna Merlin, Neil LaBute and Kim Wield. Aimee was the Assistant Director under the director John Rando and the playwright David Ives for Classic Stage Company's production of The Heir Apparent. Please visit aimeetodoroff.org or elephantrundistrict.org.

ABOUT THE CAST:

Arthur Aulisi* has been acting in New York for over twenty years. He was an original member of Adobe Theatre Company and the Associate Artistic Director of Andhow Theater Company. He's worked with Soho Rep, New Dramatists and Ensemble Studio Theater, to name a just a few. He's a regular participant in Off the Hook (a youth playwriting program in Red Hook) and an ensemble member of Laurie Stanton's Sound Diet (a radio program taped before live audiences). He was named a newyorktheater.com Person of the Year for his contribution to independent theatre.

Michael Birch* has been an actor, writer, singer, comedian and all around performer in NYC for over 25 years. He is known worldwide as The Father of Awesome on the popular YouTube channel, The Key Of Awesome. His YouTube views currently number over 400 million. He recently appeared on Hulu's "Difficult People" and can be seen in the upcoming feature film, "Future '38." Michael has been in several commercials, has numerous theater credits and in 2017 is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his pseudo-serious folk rock duo, Fish & Chips. In 2009, Michael debuted his One Man Hamlet to critical acclaim.

Carl Fisk is a recent graduate of Syracuse University's Acting program. Most recently, he has appeared in a 2 episode co-star arc on Hulu's "The Path." In addition to acting, Carl is a Model and works in the fitness industry as a personal trainer and fitness coach.

?Sidiki Fofana is originally from Coyah, Guinea. Recipient of the 2012 AUDELCO "Rising Star Award." Some theatre Credits include the world premiere of Amiri Baraka's last play Most Dangerous Man In America (New Federal Theatre); Children of Killers (Castillo Theatre); The Legend of Buster Neal (The Billie Holiday Theatre); Promised Land (T. Schreiber Studio); The Theatre Made in Paradise (FringeNYC); Finding Home (The Billie Holiday Theatre); The Poll Tax Matter (Metropolitan Playhouse/Transcendental Festival). Twitter/Instagram: @sidiki_fofana

Erin Gilbreth* was the founding managing director of American Bard Theater Company and served on the Board of Directors as well as performing Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, Four by Tenn, and Pericles, Prince of Tyre. She has a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies at SUNY Stony Brook and serves as a teaching artist with Hip to Hip Theatre Company and Riverdale Children's Theater.

Chris Harcum* is an actor and playwright whose works include American Gun Show, Gotham Standards, Green, Rabbit Island, and Some Kind of Pink Breakfast. His next project is writing and performing the title role in Martin Denton, Martin Denton this July at the Kraine Theatre for Elephant Run District. More details: www.chrisharcum.com.

Mel House* recently played Heloise in MTWorks' Anais Nin Goes to Hell and Thea in Hedda Gabler at NCR in San Diego. Other NY Stage credits include Jan in Alan Acykbourn's Bedroom Farce, Kristin in Strindberg's Miss Julie, MacDuff in Shakespeare's MacBeth, and Kate in In the Bones (2015 NYIT Award for Outstanding Actress). Mel is a member of the Actors Center.

Madeline Lovegrove - Credits include Psycho Beach Party (Berdine) with Richmond Triangle Players, the national tour of Alexander Who's Not...Going to Move (Alexander) with Two Beans Productions, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Snug/ Cobweb) with Gorilla Repertory Theater.

Morgan McGuire is an actor and playwright. Originally hailing from the golden foothills of the Sierra Nevada she now calls the county of Kings home. Recent Stage Credits: Trapper, Triptych, Cul de Sac. Recent Film: "Camp Wedding," "Takers," "Unbelievers." ?

Nihara Nichelle is a Chicago-born, New York-based actor, writer, singer, improviser, and producer. Credits include a co-star role on Blue Bloods, commercials for Web.com, and Time Warner Cable, and the short films "Room for Love," and "Living The Dream." She is currently in pre-production for season 2 of her comedic webseries "Velma" on FunnyOrDie.

T. Thompson is a Brooklyn based performer. They most recently performed in Marian or The True Tale of Robin Hood (Will Scarlett) at the New Ohio Theatre, The 28 Hour Festival at the Flea Theater, Taylor Macs 24 Decade History of Popular Music at St. Ann's Warehouse; Night of the Living N- Word (Aunt Jinny) at NYC Fringe Festival, and The Messiah Complex (Messiah) at BRIC Arts Media. Other credits include the OBIE award winning Fire This Time Festival plays Slavesperience, Time in the Penn, and You Mine. As a member of the Hotel Savant Theatre Co., thier roles include Dryope in Men Go Down- Part 3, PS 122 and Alas, the Nymphs... BAM Next Wave Festival, Funeral Games (Fury), The Public Theater.

Cheri Wicks* is a native of Montana and a proud founding member of ABTC. Favorite New York Theater roles include: Ouisa in Six Degrees of Separation, Claire in Fuddy Meers, Mercy in Greyhounds, Agnes in The Shadow Box, Estelle in No Exit, Queen Catherine in Henry VI, part IIl, Goneril in King Lear and Olivia in Twelfth Night. She also works in film and TV. www.cheriwicks.com

The American Bard Theater Company is a not-for-profit theatrical organization serving New York City. We are dedicated to the exploration of works by Shakespeare and other highly regarded playwrights. We seek to entertain and impact today's audiences through classics: the established and the newly uncovered -storytelling that encourages the shared experience of common ground or new worlds.

American Bard Theater Company was born out of the desire for 14 artists to hone our craft and provide ourselves with opportunities for performance, design, directorial and administrative growth. With a collective agreement that "The play's the thing," the founding members worked to establish a company that honors the playwright and deems service to the text as the #1 priority in storytelling.

Since the creation of our company in 2009, we have proudly worked with over 500 wonderful NYC artists. We look forward to sharing the creative process, design visions, rehearsal room collaborations, and stage productions with more artists in the future.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride




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