Crowded Fire Theater Presents the Bay Area Premiere of Young Jean Lee's CHURCH

Crowded Fire Theater (CFT) Young Jean Lee (author of 2016's THE SHIPMENT) returns to Crowded Fire with CHURCH, the second revolutionary production in Crowded Fire's 20th Anniversary Season of new and contemporary plays. Praised by the New York Times as "slyly subversive" and "earnest and surprisingly moving," this new production of CHURCH will feature an inspiring cast directed by the theater company's Artistic Director, Mina Morita.

In CHURCH, Young Jean Lee transforms her lifelong struggle with Christianity into an exuberant church service. A traveling group of earnest reverends testify through narrative, song, and dance, testing the expectations of religious and non-religious alike. Young Jean Lee strips faith free of recognizable institutional baggage, choosing instead to examine where faith truly lies in the modern world. In the process, she breaks through our isolation and provides a space to reach out in celebration to others. In its New York City premiere, Time Out New York described CHURCH as "no cheap satire of piety. Instead, it is an earnestly warped attempt to explore what gives religion its insidious appeal."

Crowded Fire's Artistic Director Mina Morita chose CHURCH as a perfect complement to the show that opened Crowded Fire's 20th Anniversary season, REVOLT. SHE SAID. REVOLT AGAIN. "While this production builds off the incendiary and rage-filled intensity of REVOLT," she stated, "it also brings us back to a place of wonder, and inspires us to battle within ourselves to find faith in new and questionable places. Young Jean Lee insists on complexity and the existence of two possibly competing truths."

Immediately following the production's closing, a unique partnership with the School of Theatre at Oakland School for the Arts (OSA) will result in CHURCH being presented at historic Sweet's Ballroom in downtown Oakland, staged by OSA's Artistic Director Matthew Travisano. OSA students will have a chance to learn alongside Crowded Fire's professional artists, while bringing their own artistic vision to their performances. "We're thrilled and honored to partner with Crowded Fire," stated Travisano, "and create authentic learning experiences for our students, giving them a window into the profession they're working to enter into."

Director Morita will lead a cast that includes Jordan María Don, Nkechi Emeruwa, Lawrence Radecker, and Alison Whismore. Designers and the creative team include James Ard (sound), Mark Allen Davis (choreographer), Sonia Fernandez (dramaturg), Min Kahng (music director), Nailah Harper-Malveaux (assistant director), Rachel Mogan (stage manager), Alice Ruiz (costume), and Randy Wong-Westbrooke (scenic).

CHURCH runs at the Potrero Stage, 1695 18th Street in San Francisco September 13 through October 6 (press opening Monday, September 17).

Crowded Fire Theater Presents the Bay Area Premiere of Young Jean Lee's CHURCH

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