LIVING THE SHUFFLE Comes To The Marsh Berkeley
The Marsh Berkeley presents Living the Shuffle, a one-man rollercoaster-ride through the ups and downs of show business. Renowned actor/director Robert Townsend has worked with Hollywood icons like Beyoncé, Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, Morgan Freeman, James Earl Jones, and many more. Now, the trailblazing filmmaker gives audiences a front row seat to his career, from the dangerous streets of Chicago to performing Julius Caesar at a pimp convention in New York City, then creating the breakout film that would launch his career, Hollywood Shuffle, and becoming a Black film pioneer.
Written, performed, and directed by Robert Townsend, as well as produced by Marsh favorite Don Reed and Townsend, Living the Shuffle will be presented 8:00pm Fridays, 8:30pm Saturdays, and 5:30pm Sundays October 25 - December 1, 2019 (opening: November 9) at The Marsh Berkeley 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley.
For tickets (Previews $25-$35 sliding scale, Regular $35, Reserved VIP Seating $50 and $100), the public may visit www.themarsh.org or call The Marsh box office at 415-282-3055 (open Monday through Friday, 1-4pm).
Nicknamed one of the "Godfathers of the Independent Film World," Robert Townsend is an actor, director, writer, and filmmaker with over 30 years in show business. Noticing the difficulty Black actors had finding jobs and the lack of good work available in the film industry led Townsend to create opportunities for himself and fellow artists. He co-wrote, directed, produced and starred in his first film, financed by his personal credit cards and a miracle-the critically acclaimed Hollywood Shuffle, a satire depicting the trials and tribulations of Black actors in Hollywood.
Nominated for 30 NAACP Image Awards, Townsend's prolific television work has been seen on Disney, Fox, NBC, MGM, HBO, WB and MTV. His credits include creating, executive producing, and starring in "The Parent 'Hood" (The WB); creating the variety series "Townsend Television" (Fox TV); and directing "Carmen: A Hip Hopera" starring Beyoncé (MTV films), "Livin' for Love: The Natalie Cole Story" (NBC), and "10,000 Black Men Named George" (Showtime). Townsend's myriad film projects include co-writing and directing The Five Heartbeats; writing, directing, and starring in The Meteor Man, the first African American superhero movie; and directing Halle Berry in B*A*P*S, Eddie Murphy in Eddie Murphy Raw, and Why We Laugh: Comedians on Black Comedy, a documentary on the history of Black comedians including interviews with Chris Rock, which was an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival. As an actor, he has starred opposite Denzel Washington in A Soldier's Story, and appeared with Diane Lane in Streets of Fire, Kevin Costner in American Flyers and Angela Bassett in Of Boys and Men. Recently, he directed American Soul, the story of "Soul Train" founder Don Cornelius (BET); directed the 2019 NAACP Image Award-nominated film Making The Five Heartbeats, a documentary about his cult-favorite film The Five Heartbeats; and directed and appeared in "Black Lightning," the Netflix/ CW TV series based on the DC Comics character of the same name.
Co-producer Don Reed, best known for his long-running hit East 14th, is currently appearing onstage in That Don Reed Show at The Marsh San Francisco. He is a recent 2018 nominee for the Theatre Bay Area (TBA) Outstanding Solo Production, as well as the 2016 TBA Winner and the 2017 TBA nominee for the same award. He is also a San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle nominee and NAACP triple nominee for Best Actor and Best Playwright. Don is presently co-starring in the Amazon Prime series "Bartlett," where Reed plays the boss in a struggling ad agency. The series was co-financed and recurring role stars Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton creator and star). Reed can be seen in the movie Unleashed starring Kate Micucci (The LEGO Batman Movie), Justin Chatwin ("Doctor Who"), and Steve Howey ("Shameless"), now on Netflix. Reed has performed, written, produced, and directed for film, television, and theater (including an Off-Broadway run of East 14th). A memorable performance on "Robert Townsend and His Partners in Crime" (HBO) years ago caught the attention of some Hollywood guns and led to many recurring and guest starring roles. Additionally, he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in short films for HBO's Def Jam: Lucky: The Irish Pimp and Pookie Watson: Hood Detective. Reed has also created and starred in content for Oprah Winfrey's OWN. On the stand-up side, Don was the opening act/warm-up comedian for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" for more than 1,000 episodes. Voice-over production and work has been instrumental in his career. His voice has been heard on "Spiderman," "Johnny Quest," The Wayans Bros, "The Voice," "Law & Order," and as the voice of the cat on "2 Broke Girls." He has created promos for "Chappelle's Show," The Golden Globes, The Academy Awards, MLB, Tyler Perry Films, and the Olympics. Not long ago, Reed shared an excerpt story from East 14th - "I Miss Toni" on NPR/WYNC's "Snap Judgment" so compelling that it was woven into the graduate writing curriculum at American University in D.C.. Charitable work includes Elevate Oakland, a nonprofit focused on keeping arts and music in Oakland Public Schools; and Mercy House, giving the homeless self-esteem by giving them a home.
The Marsh is known as "a breeding ground for new performance." It was launched in 1989 by Founder and Artistic Director Stephanie Weisman, and now annually hosts more than 600 performances of 175 shows across the company's two venues in San Francisco and Berkeley. A leading outlet for solo performers, The Marsh's specialty has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as "solo performances that celebrate the power of storytelling at its simplest and purest." The East Bay Times named The Marsh one of Bay Area's best intimate theaters, calling it "one of the most thriving solo theaters in the nation. The live theatrical energy is simply irresistible."