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Langston Hughes' THE WAYS OF WHITE FOLKS to Have World Premiere Staging at EgoPo Classic Theater

Langston Hughes' THE WAYS OF WHITE FOLKS to Have World Premiere Staging at EgoPo Classic Theater

The Ways of White Folks begins previews Wednesday, January 11th and opens on Friday, January 13th.

EgoPo's 2022-2023 Harlem Renaissance Season, co-presented with Theatre in the X, will kick off its first production with an immersive world premiere theatrical staging of Langston Hughes' The Ways of White Folks on Martin Luther King weekend. Staged within the mansion at Glen Foerd public park and museum, The Ways of White Folks begins previews Wednesday, January 11th and opens on Friday, January 13th. The show runs two weeks, closing on Sunday, January 22nd. Tickets start at $32.

EgoPo's Harlem Renaissance Season celebrates the legacy of Black culture, music, theater, art, literature, fashion, and scholarship in the United States, while also acknowledging and confronting the healing that is still necessary in this country around race relations.

"In 2022, we are still navigating the system of white supremacy that Langston writes about in The Ways of White Folks; and while progress has been made, it is important to know that the struggle still continues in the twenty-first century. Langston would be pleased to see the progress and disappointed to know that we are still fighting. Hopefully these pieces, still relevant almost one hundred years later, show the ever-present need for healing to Philadelphia audiences and inspire all of us to continue to heal through unity," says co-director, Ontaria Kim Wilson.

The Ways of White Folks is intentionally and collaboratively staged by dual-racial directing team Ontaria Kim Wilson (in her EgoPo directing debut) and EgoPo Artistic Producer Dane Eissler, and conceived for the stage with Lane Savadove. Based on Langston's collection of short stories, The Ways of White Folks presents powerful portraits of race relations in America with each short story offering a private view into the absurd and tragic interactions between Black and White people across systemic divides. In EgoPo's immersive promenade staging, audiences are invited to attend a New Age retreat and explore each intimate story within the many rooms of the mansion at the historic Glen Foerd Estate on the Delaware River.

"Langston's words jump off the page with their vibrant, brutally honest, and often scathingly funny language. As the audience travels from room to room through Glen Foerd's opulent mansion, the pieces come to life in an incredibly special and intimate way. Each space is specifically catered to each story, and makes the message of each piece that much more poignant. By staging them in an immersive way, we are asking the audience to reflect on how they have participated in these systems. The audience doesn't just read or hear the stories, they are the stories," says co-director and EgoPo Artistic Producer, Dane Eissler.

The Ways of White Folks features an ensemble of EgoPo newcomers including Taylor Harlow, Evan Sleppy, Kyson Martin, Earl Grant, Faye Wooten, Ayo Moore, Christina Foye, Tyrone Nathaniel, Tim Morris, Cheyenne Parks, Nick Erholm, Lynn Shirley, Cianna Castro, Annette Kaplafka, and Ethan Hammett. They are joined by familiar EgoPo faces Dawn McCall, who appeared in last season's Curse of the Starving Class, and co-director Ontaria Kim Wilson (last seen at EgoPo in Wine in the Wilderness) taking a roKle of her own, as well as familiar Theatre in the X faces Paul McElwee (The West Philly Meeting), Danielle "Danni" Shaw (Dreamgirls), and Joseph Xavier-Mack (Pac and Biggie Are Dead, Dreamgirls). The artistic team for The Ways of White Folks includes Philadelphia designers Dirk Durossette (Production Design) and Rita Squitiere (Costumes), with stage management by Jamel Baker and assistant direction by Cheyenne Parks.

EgoPo will be working with local schools, nonprofits, and community groups to curate talkbacks and educational presentations, furthering their attempt to create reparative spaces through theatrical performances. If you are interested in bringing a group of ten or more people, please contact us for discounted rates and other benefits as available.

Tickets*: Wed-Thurs: $32, Fri-Sun: $36, Champagne Opening: $39, Student/Industry: $15. To purchase tickets, go online at www.egopo.org or call 267-273-1414.

*Ticketing fees apply to all orders.

Performance Details:

Where

Glen Foerd, public park and museum

5001 Grant Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19114

When

Previews: January 11-12

Press Opening: January 13

Runs: January 11-22

Cast

Taylor Harlow

Evan Sleppy

Ontaria Kim Wilson*

Kyson Martin

Earl Grant

Dawn McCall

Faye O. Wooten

Ayo Moore

Christina Foye

Tyrone Nathaniel

Tim Morris

Cheyenne Parks

Nick Erholm

Danielle "Danni" Shaw

Lynn Shirley

Cianna Castro

Paul McElwee

Annette Kaplafka

Ethan Hammett

*Appearing Courtesy of Actor's Equity Association

Production Team

Co-Director: Ontaria Kim Wilson

Co-Director: Dane Eissler

Stage Conception: Lane Savadove

Production Designer: Dirk Durossette

Costume Designer: Rita Squitiere

Stage Manager: Jamel Baker

Assistant Director: Cheyenne Parks

Artistic Producer: Dane Eissler

Managing Director: Alec Lee Williams

Artistic Director: Lane Savadove

About EgoPo Classic Theater

EgoPo Classic Theater is a Philadelphia-based, non-profit theater company committed to transforming timeless works of literature into innovative and immersive theatrical events. Founded in 1991 by Artistic Director, Lane Savadove, EgoPo strives for virtuosity in vocal and physical performance in order to create innovative and provocative theatrical events.

EgoPo re-envisions the classic canon by re-introducing diverse works and re-bodying existing canonical works to ensure a wide range of voices, bodies and stories are shared on our stages. EgoPo honors and re-awakens these classic texts through a rigorous practice fusing psychological and physical acting and staging. EgoPo curates season-long journeys that foster an inclusive audience space for shared experiences and human connection across cultures and communities.

Winner of 2017 Barrymore Awards for Best Evolving Theater and Best Production for Chekhov's The Seagull, EgoPo has staged productions nationally in New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Chicago, and San Francisco; internationally in Indonesia and Croatia; and on National Public Radio.

About Theatre in the X

Theatre in the X was created in 2013 to provide the people of West Philadelphia and the African American community at large the opportunity to see professional quality theater in their own neighborhood for no cost. By removing the barriers of location and price the audience is able to experience theater that they possibly would not be able to access otherwise. Theatre in the X also provides opportunities to playwrights, actors, directors, stage managers, DJs, sound engineers and vendors of color.


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