Urban Stages to Present The New York Premiere of DOGS OF RWANDA

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Urban Stages to Present The New York Premiere of DOGS OF RWANDA

Urban Stages (Frances Hill, Founding Artistic Director), will close its 34th season with the New York Premiere of Sean Christopher Lewis's DOGS OF RWANDA, directed by Frances Hill and Peter Napolitano. This limited engagement at Urban Stages (259 West 30th Street), begins performances on Friday, March 9, opens on Monday, March 12 and will run through Saturday, March 31, 2018. Tickets for are $35 ($25 during previews; $50 on opening and $15 student rush) and may be purchased via OvationTix at www.urbanstages.org or by phone at 1.866.811.4111.

16-year-old David finds himself in Uganda as a church missionary. He follows the girl of his dreams into the woods as the Rwandan genocide erupts. 20 years later and half a world away, he still can't escape what happened and publishes a book on the events. When a note arrives reading, "There are untruths here," David finds himself back in those woods with the boy he tried to save, in a journey towards redemption and forgiveness.

Dogs of Rwanda will be performed by Dan Hodge. Music will be composed and performed by acclaimed African drummer/instrumentalist Abou Lion Diarra.

The creative team includes: Frank Oliva (Set Designer), John Salutz (Lighting Designer), Ryan Belock (Video Designer), Kim T. Sharp (Technical Director) and Jeana Caporelli, (Stage Manager). Urban Stages staff includes Peter Napolitano (Associate Producer & Director of Musical Theatre), Antoinette Mullins (Development & Literary Director), Olga Devyatisilnaya (Company Manager/Financial Administrator), Ilanna Saltzman (Program Director), Bara Swain (Creative Consultant), Vincent Scott (School Consultant), Gillian Nolan (Social Media) and Sylvia Haber, Perpetuart (Graphic Designer).

SEAN CHRISTOPHER LEWIS (Playwright) His work as a playwright and solo performer have won the NEFA National Theatre Project Award, the Kennedy Center's Rosa Parks Award, the National New Play Network's Smith Prize, the NEA Voices in Community Award, a Puffin Foundation Artists Award, a Barrymore Award from the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, a Central Ohio Critic's Circle Citations for Best Touring Production and Best New Work, a National Performance Network Creation Fund Grant, the William Inge Fellowship and an NNPN Emerging Playwright Residency. His plays and solo pieces include: DOGS OF RWANDA (NNPN Rolling World Premiere at 16th Street Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Interact Theatre, Out of Hand Theatre, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Englert Theatre, Redfern Performing Arts Center, UNI Genocide Center, CSPS/Legion Arts, Horizon Theatre, Available Light Theatre); KILLADELPHIA (Baltimore Centerstage, American Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Interact Theatre, Southern Rep, the Institut Del Teatra in Barcelona, Spain, the Revolutions International Theatre Festival, the 16th Street Theatre, Riverside Theatre, CSPS/Legion Arts, Cape May Stage, Adirondack Theatre Festival, Touchstone Theatre, Hartbeat Ensemble, Gerald W. Lynch Theatre, Available Light Theatre, Graterford Prison, and the Idaho Juvenile Detention Center); JUST KIDS (the KO Festival of Performance, Sandglass Theatre, Available Light Theatre, Pontine Theatre); THE GONE CHAIR (Openstage Harrisburg; Penn State University's Cultural Conversations Festival); I WILL MAKE YOU ORPHANS (Uno Festival of International Solo Performance, Hyde Park Theatre, Riverside Theatre, the Chocolate Factory, Available Light Theatre); BLACK AND BLUE (Riverside Theatre, Geva Theatre); MILITANT LANGUAGE (Know Theatre of Cincinnati, Halcyon Theatre, Bang and Clatter, and Theater for the New City, published by Original Works Publishing); THE APERTURE (Cleveland Public Theatre); THE HOMESCHOOLING OF JONATHAN ANDERSON (Drilling Company NYC, Luna Theater, Prologue Theatre, Theatre of Note, Orange Tea Theatre in Amsterdam and in the UK at FutureLight) and MANNING UP (NNPN Rolling World Premiere at Riverside Theatre, Salt Lake Acting Company and Actor's Summit). Recently, with Jennifer Fawcett, he developed the one man performance installation GHOST STORY at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. It then performed at the Englert Theatre and will begin touring in 2018. He is the co-creator and writer of the comic books SAINTS, THE FEW and COYOTES all three of which are published by Image Comics, with SAINTS recently optioned for television by Grandview/Automatik. He can be heard as a commentator on NPR'S THIS AMERICAN LIFE.

DAN HODGE (Actor) has been a Philadelphia based actor and director for a decade. As an actor he has been a regular presence on most of the regional stages, including The Walnut Street Theatre, The Arden, The Wilma, InterAct, Theatre Exile, The Lantern, Delaware Theatre, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Passage Theatre, 1812 Productions, among others. Across the country he has appeared at The Old Globe Theatre, The Cleveland Playhouse, Peterborough Players, Michigan Shakespeare Festival and Weatherford Repertory Theatre. Dan is the Co-Founding Artistic Director of the Philadelphia Artists' Collective (The PAC) which produces rarely seen classical plays and has become one of the most dynamic up-and-coming theatres in the area. He is also a company member of Curio Theatre and is a resident director there. He has directed for Curio and The PAC, as well as Commonwealth Classics, Hedgerow Theatre, Passage Theatre and others. Dan won the Barrymore Award for Leading Actor for his work in Around the World in 80 Days for Delaware Theatre, and also won Supporting Actor for Fair Maid of the West for The PAC. He holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Evansville and an MFA in Classical Acting from The Old Globe/University of San Diego.

LION DIARRA (Musician) is the founder and musical director of the powerhouse group, The Black Warriors, NYC's premiere band working with West Africa's biggest acts. Their launch at Celebrate Brooklyn's African Festival was followed by a 40 city tour working with artists from Guinea, Ghana and the Ivory Coast, Abou's native country. Abou first picked up the sticks at age three. He played on bottles, cans, tables, garbage cans, whatever made a good sound. His musical journey led him to stude with one of the Ivory Coast's most renowned drummers, Soro Mades, then going on to the Institute National des Arts (INA) and a scholarship to Orchestre de L'Universite D'Abidjan. His appearances in West African clubs and on television ultimately led him to New York. Abou is a new breed of drummer who can navigate through different musical genres, switching beats., rhythms and styles. Aside from playing the drums Abou also plays flute, saxophone, clarinet, guitar, bass, piano and djembe, is pursing his songwriting talents, and hopes to achieve all that God has given him to do.

FRANCES HILL (Co-Director, Dogs of Rwanda; Founding Artistic Director) began her theatrical career in California as an actress. Since 1983, Ms. Hill has overseen more than 600 staged readings/workshops and 90 productions of new works for the stage. She has directed over 30 workshops and productions. Her favorite directing credits include: Gino DiIorio's Apostasy, Roma Greth's Our Summer Days, Jim Lehrer's Chili Queen, (directed at Urban Stages and Kennedy Center), John Picardi's Seven Rabbits on a Pole and The Sweepers (directed at Urban Stages and Capital Rep); Comfort Women by Chugmi Kim (Urban Stages 2004), 27 Rue De Fleurs and My Occasion of Sin. Two of her plays have been produced, Our Bench and Life Lines. Under the guidance of Ms. Hill, Playwrights' Preview Productions/Urban Stages have moved two plays into commercial Off-Broadway successes. Minor Demons opened the new Century Center Theater and Men on the Verge of His-Panic Breakdown won an Outer Critic's Circle Award while playing to capacity audiences at the 47th Street Theater. Urban Stages' African American Poets as Playwrights won eight Audelco Nominations and Coyote On a Fence received two Drama Desk nominations and a Pilgrim's Project Award. Eisa Davis's Bulrusher was one of three nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. 2010 production of Langston in Harlem won several drama desk nominations, a John Calloway award, and several Audelco nominations including a win for best music production of the year (2010), along with several other awards. Recently Character Man by Jim Brochu (2014) was nominated for a Drama Desk and Outer Critic's Circle award and Mabel Madness by Trezana Beverley (2016) was nominated for an Audelco award.

PETER NAPOLITANO (Co-Director, Dogs of Rwanda; Director of Musical Theatre & Associate Producer) has over 30 years experience as a writer, director and producer in NY theatre and cabaret. He was lyricist of Tropicana, book and direction by the legendary George Abbott (produced Off Broadway by Musical Theatre Works); lyricist/librettist of The Lady in Penthouse B, music by Matthew Ward (produced "Mufti Style" by the York Theatre, starring Nancy Dussault); Pinocchio of Chelsea, music by Mark Janas (MMTL staged reading at the Snapple Theatre)and That Way, music by Barry Levitt (staged readings at Urban Stages, MMTL). He is a alumnus of the prestigious BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and has had his songs and special material performed by many outstanding cabaret & theatre artists. His directing credits include the early work of Charles Busch at The Performing Garage and Theatre for the New City. He has received two Bistro Awards (Director, Outstanding Series) and four MAC Awards (Director, Song, Open Mic, Benefit Series) for his recent work in virtually every major NY cabaret venue. Associated with Urban Stages for seven years, he has previously collaborated with Ms. Hill on the direction of Mabel Madness, written and performed by Tony Award winner Trezana Beverly for which he also wrote two songs with composer Levitt, co-produced Musical Legends, My Occasion of Sin, Character Man and produced seven seasons of the MAC and Bistro Award-winning benefit series Winter Rhythms. A guest lecturer at Manhattan School of Music, he is a graduate of the NYU School of the Arts, Experimental Theatre Wing, where he studied with celebrated theatre artists Spalding Gray, Charles Ludlam, Anne Bogart, to name a few. Other highlights of his varied career include working with the ground-breaking Off-Broadway Ridiculous Theatrical Co. and The Glines; contributing editor of The Blockbuster Guide to Movies on Video (Dell); and author of a Modern Love essay for The New York Times.

URBAN STAGES(Producer) is an award-winning, not-for-profit, Off-Broadway Theatre Company founded in 1984 by current Artistic Director Frances Hill. For over 30 years, Urban Stages has produced dozens of world, American and NYC premieres including Pulitzer Prize Finalist Bulrusher (2007) by Eisa Davis. We have been honored with awards, nominations and recognition from the Drama Desk, Obie Awards, Audelco, Outer Critics Circle and much more. Our world premiere of the musical Langston In Harlem by Walter Marks (music and book) and Kent Gash (book and direction) garnered a Drama Desk Nomination, a Joe A. Calloway award and 4 Audelco awards including Best Musical Production of 2010. More recently, we've hand critically acclaimed hits with Mabel Madness by Tony-winner Trezana Beverley (2016), Communion by Daniel MacIvor (2016) and Angry Young Man by Ben Woolf (2017) which transferred to the John Drew Theatre at Guild Hall in East Hampton. Unseamly by Oren Safdie (2015) was a NY Times Critics Pick. Jim Brochu Character Man (2014) was nominated for a Drama Desk and an Outer Critics Circle award for Best Solo performance and Honky (2013) by Greg Kalleres saw a regional run at San Diego Rep and was televised nationally on PBS in late 2015. After production, most plays move on to larger venues. Men on The Verge Of A Hispanic Breakdown by Guillermo Reyes and Minor Demons by Bruce Graham both moved to commercial theatres. Chili Queen, a play by newscaster Jim Lehrer, transferred to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. (1989). My Occasion of Sin (2012) by Monica Bauer won critical acclaim when it moved to Detroit Rep. Bill Bowers has toured the United States and the world with his two Urban Stages premieres blending mime and theatre - Beyond Words (2012) and Under A Montana Moon (2002)! Some Urban Stages premieres have even been developed into film and television projects such as Scar by Murray Mednick, Conversations with The Goddesses by Agapi Stassinopoulos, and Cotton Mary by Alexandra Viets. In addition to plays and musicals, annually we hold a music festival - Winter Rhythms - that features famous and up-and-coming Cabaret, musicians, lyricists and other music artists. In 2016, Winter Rhythms was honored with the Bistro Award for Outstanding Series, and in 2015, it received the Ruth Kurtzman Benefit Series MAC Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs.

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