Trinity Rep Announces BLACK ODYSSEY

Trinity Rep will continue its 2018-19 Season with the epic tale of black odyssey by Marcus Gardley. Inspired by Homer's Odyssey, this story examines Ulysses Lincoln's journey home from war when the world - and the gods - are against him. This adventure brings the combination of history and heart together in a poignant and imaginative story that will captivate audiences. This production will feature resident acting company members, Jude Sandy and Joe Wilson, Jr. as co-directors, with Joe Wilson, Jr. as Ulysses Lincoln. black odyssey runs January 3 - February 3 with press opening on Monday, January 7 at 7:30 pm. Tickets start at $25. More information can be found at

One man's journey home from war leads him on an adventure connecting him with his own ancestors and our shared humanity, before finally delivering him back to his wife and son. Throughout his epic voyage, Ulysses Lincoln's fate is controlled by a host of gods including the dignified Deus, as played by resident company member Jude Sandy, the scheming Paw Sidin (Omar Robinson), and radiant Aunt Tina (Broadway veteran Julia Lema). This breathtaking, vibrant, and gloriously theatrical production is a lyrical, musical, and spiritual celebration of storytelling and what it means to find home.

The Arthur P. Solomon and Sally E. Lapides Artistic Director, Curt Columbus, said, "Marcus Gardley's black odyssey is one of the greatest contemporary plays that I've read in years. It combines one of the foundational texts of Western Civilization - Homer's Odyssey - with the distinctive voice of one of the most extraordinary young playwrights in America. Marcus takes the deeply resonant story of Ulysses, returning from war, and marries it with images and events from African American history of the last two centuries in a thrilling, epic story of hope, loss, family, and love."


Marcus Gardley is a poet-playwright whom The New Yorker describes as "the heir to Garcia Lorca, Pirandello and Tennessee Williams." His most recent play X or the Nation v Betty Shabazz was a New York Times Critic Pick and was remounted off-Broadway in the spring of 2018. In 2019, he will be named the Library Laureate of San Francisco by the city's mayor. He is the recipient of the 2017 Special Citation Theater Award for his play black odyssey, which swept the Theater Bay Area Awards garnering 6 other prizes including Best Production. Gardley is the recipient of the 2015 Glickman Award for The House That Will Not Stand, which recently ended its run at New York Theater Workshop. He is one of the most produced playwrights in the US with over two dozen productions, some of which include: Every Tongue Confess at Arena Stage (starring Phylicia Rashad and directed by Kenny Leon) and On the Levee, which premiered in 2010 at Lincoln Center. Gardley served as an Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies for Brown University.

Co-directors Jude Sandy and Joe Wilson, Jr., both longtime members of Trinity Rep's resident acting company, will be working alongside Edward E. Haynes, Jr. (set design), Kara Harmon (costume design), Dawn Chiang (lighting design), and Peter Hurowitz (sound design).

Joe Wilson, Jr. says of the production, "Trinity Rep's production of black odyssey represents everything that this institution holds dear. It will be a celebration of company, community and education, as well as a celebration of the ancient practice, and building the power of storytelling." Co-director Jude Sandy adds, "black odyssey is a play that encourages us to love all the parts that make up who we are, to embrace our histories, our personal pasts, and our families. It's a play that teaches us that the first, crucial step to bringing healing into this world is to accept, celebrate, forgive and find healing in all the things that make us who we are."

The cast of this production features resident company members Joe Wilson, Jr. as the ill-fated Ulysses Lincoln, Jude Sandy as the god Deus. Brown/Trinity Rep MFA students Kalyne Coleman '20 will play Nella Pell, Anwar Ali '20 plays Artez Abine, and Cloteal L. Horne '20 plays Alsendra Sabine. Guest artists Omar Robinson will play Paw Sidin, with Broadway veteran Julia Lema as Aunt Tina, Kai Tshikosi as Malachi, and local actor Jackie Davis as Benevolence.


Continuing Trinity Rep's tradition of offering affordable tickets for all, the theater will have discounted previews of black odyssey. Thursday, January 3 is a Pay What You Can performance. Pay What You Can tickets go on sale at 6:30 pm that evening, and are limited to one per person.

Other special performances for black odyssey include an Open Captioned performance for the show on Sunday, January 6 at 2:00 pm and Wednesday, January 23 at 2:00 and 7:30 pm. The Next Generation Night will be held on Thursday, January 10 and includes a pre-show reception for the next generation of theater-goers. The Teens Talk performance will be held on Friday, January 11, which features Trinity Rep's Teen Ambassadors discussing their perspective on the show following the 7:30 performance.

A Context & Conversation panel discussion will be held on Thursday, January 17 at 6:00 pm at Sophia Academy in Providence. At this free event, panelists from Sophia Academy and from within the community will discuss the roles of family and community. Christina Bevilacqua, Trinity Rep's conversationalist-in-residence will moderate the discussion.

black odyssey is sponsored by Cornish Associates. The 2018-19 Season Sponsors are Ocean State Job Lot and Rhode Island Council on the Arts. Southwest is the official airline of Trinity Rep.

Trinity Repertory Company

Rhode Island's Tony Award-winning theater, Trinity Rep has created unparalleled professional theater for and with its community since its founding in 1963. Trinity Rep strives to facilitate human connection and has been a driving force behind the creativity that fuels and defines the region for more than 50 years.

Trinity Rep is committed to reinventing the public square and inspiring dialogue by creating emotionally-stimulating live productions that range from classical to contemporary and innovative education programs for all ages and abilities. Its annual production of A Christmas Carol has brought families together for 41 years and made memories for over a million audience members.

Subscriptions for the 2018-19 Season are now on sale. The season includes Pride & Prejudice by Kate Hamill, black odyssey by Marcus Gardley, a special limited-engagement of An Iliad by Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare, Macbeth by William Shakespeare, The Song of Summer by Lauren Yee, Little Shop of Horrors with book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken, and José Rivera's Marisol.

For more information on our 2018-19 Season, call the box office at (401) 351-4242 or visit Trinity Rep's website at

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