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Burning Coal Theatre Company to Present Two Plays by Dael Orlandersmith

Forever will be performed January 28th, 30th, February 5th, 11th, and 13th. Until the Flood will be performed January 29th, February 4th, 6th, and 12th.

Burning Coal Theatre Company to Present Two Plays by Dael Orlandersmith

Burning Coal Theatre Company will present Two Plays by Dael Orlandersmith, Forever and Until the Flood. Both focuses on themes of loss, family, and economic and societal impediments faced by the African American communities in the latter half of the 20th century and into the 21st century. The shows will be performed live on stage each night but available only to view through livestreaming.

Forever will be performed January 28th, 30th, February 5th, 11th, and 13th at 7 pm with a Sunday matinee on February 7th performed at 2 pm.

Until the Flood will be performed January 29th, February 4th, 6th, and 12th, with two Sunday matinees on January 31st and February 14th at 2 pm. Tickets are available at or by calling 919-834-4001.


Forever is a semi-autobiographical work that traces the tempestuous relationship between a young girl, growing up in East Harlem, and her ex-dancer mother, a force of nature and a troubled mind who has been forced by circumstances beyond her control to give up so much to survive, and to keep her daughter safe. Content Warning: discussion of child abuse, rape, language.

Until the Flood is a play based on interviews Ms. Orlandersmith conducted with residents of Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of the Michael Brown killing in 2015. Its reach is broad, and the characters introduced range from the introspective to the fiercely confrontational. Content Warning: Language


Dael Orlandersmith is an award-winning playwright and poet known for tackling issues infrequently talked about in theatre. Her show, Yellowman, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and nominated for multiple Drama Desk awards. She has had plays produced at The Public Theater, The Apollo Theater, and the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles. Dael is the recipient of the Lucille Lortel Foundation Playwrights Fellowship.


Forever will be directed by Jordan Lichtenheld of Colorado and will star Emelia 'MeMe' Cowans Taylor.

Jordan Lichtenheld is thrilled to be making her directing debut at Burning Coal. As a recent college graduate, Forever is also Jordan's first professional production. Jordan is a dramaturg, writer, and theater artist. She currently holds the position of Resident Dramaturg at Local Theater Company, based in Boulder, Colorado. Dramaturgy credits include Sin Eaters* (Local Theatre Co.), The Laramie Project, Play Therapy*, Daisies*, and Poltergeist* (Boulder, Colorado; asterisk denotes new work). Jordan graduated in December 2020 from the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she studied English Literature, Theatre, and Business. Instagram: jordan.lichtenheld

Emelia 'Me-Me' Cowans Taylor is absolutely thrilled to bring Forever to the stage at Burning Coal Theater Company. Acting credits include: The Wiz (Evillene), Romeo and Juliet (Nurse), The Heretic (Miss Tickell), To Kill A Mockingbird (Calpurnia), Crowns (Velma), Gee's Bend (Nella), 1960 (Elywyna Holt, Frances Lonnette Williams, Housekeeper), for Burning Coal; Porgy and Bess, (Mariah) Nickel and Dimed, (Joan) and The Color Purple: The Musical (Sophia) for Justice Theatre Project; DIVAS 2015, Caroline, or Change (Dottie), and Mirandy and Brother Wind (Ma Dear) for Raleigh Little Theatre. The native Hoosier holds a Masters of Strategic Communications from American University, a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Indiana University, and works as a Communications Strategist for Blueprint NC. Previously, for more than a decade she was a media spokeswoman for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh, an on-air radio and TV personality, and broadcast journalist in television news markets spanning the Midwest and Southeast. As a survivor of both the 2009 H1N1 and 2020 COVID pandemics, she was drawn to the strength of the character in Forever and her ability to turn pain into purpose and forgiveness into redemption.

Until the Flood will be directed by Renee Nixon of Durham, NC and will star Byron Jennings.

Renée Nixon is a movie critic, playwright, philanthropist, and native of Durham, North Carolina. She is one of the coordinators for the Garland Lee Thompson, Sr. Reader's Theatre of New Works at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Nixon has written several plays, including Blindsided, WORRIED, and WORRIED 2.0, and We've Come to Praise Him: The History of Holy Cross Catholic Church. She has also had several one act plays read at the National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 2015, she co-directed her first documentary, "We Are Holy Cross", about Holy Cross Catholic Church's 75th Anniversary.

Bryon Jennings is excited to be returning to the stages of Burning Coal! Previous credits include Bruce in The Normal Heart and Colin Powell in Stuff Happens (both with Burning Coal Theatre Company), Coalhouse Walker, Jr. in NC State University Theatre's production of Ragtime, Henry Drummond in Justice Theatre Project's Inherit the Wind, Lopakhin in Little Green Pig's Cherry Orchard, Othello in Bare Theatre's Othello, and Williamson in Deep Dish's Glen Garry Glenross.

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