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BLACK ODYSSEY to Return to Cal Shakes Next Fall

BLACK ODYSSEY to Return to Cal Shakes Next Fall

California Shakespeare Theater announced today the return of its record-breaking hit play black odyssey for a special limited engagement, September 25 through October 7, 2018 at the Bruns Amphitheater. Marcus Gardley's music-filled journey through African-American folklore garnered box office records, critical acclaim, sold-out houses, and standing ovations during its initial August 2017 run.

The northern California premiere of black odyssey marked the Cal Shakes debut of Oakland native Marcus Gardley (The House That Will Not Stand at Berkeley Rep), and was the second production ever of the play, which was re-set in Oakland for Cal Shakes. The production and artistic company garnered a collective sixteen Theater Bay Area Award nominations, including nominations for Outstanding Ensemble, Production, and Direction.

"I'm thrilled to bring Marcus' enthralling journey back to the Bruns," says Eric Ting. "Our streamlined 2018 subscription season has made it possible to respond to the huge outpouring of support from audiences who wanted to see the show again or who missed it the first time around. It's a pleasure to be able to give this show the extension the artists and audiences deserved and craved. It fits right in with our season of epic stories, and subscribers get the first chance to add this special engagement to their packages before single tickets go on sale in the spring."

black odyssey will follow the previously announced 2018 subscription season at the Bruns: Quixote by Octavio Solis, adapted from Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes, June 13-July 1; the West Coast premiere of Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, July 18-August 5; and The War of the Roses: Henry VI and Richard III, by William Shakespeare, August 22-September 9. Season packages for the three-play season are available now; prices start at $99 for a three-play subscription, with discounts available for seniors, youth, and full-time K-12 educators.

Subscribers to the Cal Shakes 2018 three-play season can add black odyssey tickets to their subscription now at rates up to 33% off regular prices and receive priority seating by calling the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666 or by visiting Single and group tickets will go on sale to the general public in April 2018. Ticket prices are subject to change without notice.

After he is lost at sea and presumed dead, American soldier Ulysses Lincoln struggles to find his way home to his wife and son. But manipulating his journey are a host of gods: the dignified Deus and the scheming Paw Sidin, playing with Ulysses' fate like a game of chess, and the radiant Aunt Tina, who has her own reasons for setting her sights on the wandering warrior. A fable about confronting the burdens of one's past before you can truly find "home," this lyrical epic from a shining voice of American theater promises to be one of the theatrical events of the season.

Marcus Gardley is a Bay Area-born playwright who the New Yorker calls "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 will be remounted off-Broadway in the Spring of 2018. He is the recipient of the 2015 Glickman Award for The House That Will Not Stand. The play was commissioned and produced by Berkeley Rep and had subsequent productions at Yale Rep and the Tricycle Theater in London and was a finalist for the 2015 Kennedy Prize. Gardley was the 2013 USA James Baldwin Fellow and the 2011 PEN Laura Pels award winner for Mid-Career Playwright. His play The Gospel of Loving Kindness was produced in March 2015 and won the BTAA award for best play/playwright. His play Every Tongue Confess, starring Phylicia Rashad and directed by Kenny Leon, was nominated for the Steinberg New Play Award, the Charles MacArthur Award for Best Play and was the recipient of the Edgerton New Play Award. His musical, On The Levee, premiered at Lincoln Center and was nominated for 11 Audelco Awards including outstanding playwright. His critically acclaimed epic And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi was produced at the Cutting Ball Theater and received the SF Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Award nomination for outstanding new play and had two sold-out extensions. His epic black odyssey premiered at the Denver Center Theatre and opened to rave reviews. In 2014, his saga The Road Weeps, the Well Runs Dry had a national tour and was a finalist for the 2014 Kennedy Prize. His plays This World in a Woman's Hands (October 2009) and Love is a Dream House in Lorin (March 2007) have been hailed as some of the best in Bay Area Theater. The latter was nominated for the National Critics Steinberg New Play Award. He has had six other plays produced including and adaptation of Tartuffe called A Wolf in Snake Skin Shoes, which was produced in London, dance of the holy ghosts at Center Stage in Baltimore and the Yale Repertory Theatre, (L)imitations of Life at the Empty Space in Seattle, WA and like sun fallin' in the mouth at the National Black Theatre Festival. He is the recipient of the 2013 Mellon Playwright Residency, 2011 Aetna New Voice Fellowship at Hartford Stage, the HEllen Merrill Award, a Kesselring Honor, a Gerbode Emerging Playwright Award, a National Alliance for Musical Theatre Award, a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Grant, a NEA/TCG Playwriting Participant Residency, the Eugene O'Neill Memorial Scholarship and the ASCAP Cole Porter Prize. Gardley holds an MFA in Playwriting from the Yale Drama School and is an alumnus of New Dramatists, The Dramatists Guild, and the Lark Play Development Center. Currently, he is working on a TV show for Showtime.

A Grammy-nominated vocalist, percussionist, producer and workshop leader, Linda Tillery has performed and recorded with leading musicians across several musical genres, including Santana, Boz Scaggs, Sheila E., Taj Mahal, and Bobby McFerrin. In 1992 formed the Cultural Heritage Choir in order to pursue the research and performance of Sacred and Secular music of enslaved Africans and their descendants.

Molly Holm has been on the Bay Area music scene for more than four decades as a singer and composer, and director for multi-cultural vocal ensembles. She's been a featured singer with Terry Riley and Zakir Hussain among other jazz luminaries. Bobby McFerrin tapped her to run the yearlong audition process for his Voicestra a cappella vocal ensemble after seeing her Jazzmouth ensemble.

Eric Ting is an Obie Award-winning director and was appointed Artistic Director of California Shakespeare Theater in November of 2015. Recent directing credits include last season's Othello (Cal Shakes); as well as Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' An Octoroon (Berkeley Rep) and Appropriate (Center Theatre Group); Sam Hunter's Lewiston (world premiere, Long Wharf Theatre) and A Great Wilderness (Williamstown); To Kill a Mockingbird (Cincinnati Playhouse); Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's The World of Extreme Happiness (world premier, Manhattan Theatre Club/Goodman), Kimber Lee's Brownsville Song (Long Wharf/Philadelphia Theatre Co), Nora Chipaumire's Miriam (BAM Next Wave), Jackie Sibblies Drury's We Are Proud to Present a Presentation...(world premiere, Soho Rep/Victory Gardens) and Rising Son (world premiere, Singapore Rep). Upcoming: Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower with Toshi Reagon and Lauren Yee's The Great Leap (world premiere, Denver Center/Seattle Rep).

California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes), under the leadership of Artistic Director Eric Ting and Managing Director Susie Falk, is now planning for its 44th season as a nationally-recognized leader in drawing on the power of authentic, inclusive storytelling to create more vibrant communities. Serving more than 43,000 people annually, Cal Shakes invites people from all walks of life to make deeply-felt connections with our shared humanity through its work onstage, in schools, and with people in non-traditional settings throughout the Bay Area who have little or no access to theater. For more information, visit

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