San Francisco's African-American Shakespeare Company Announces Its 25th Anniversary Season

The African-American Shakespeare Company begins its 25thseason with an ambitious and varied slate of programming. Established in 1994 by professional theater artists from the American Conservatory Theatre as an alternative to the "Color Blind Casting" initiative that began in the early 90s, the company flourished by bringing its artists rich cultural heritage to the fore. Since then it has produced 60 plays including 23 by Shakespeare-with some plays produced 2 & 3 times-along with a number of other classics such as Jitney by August Wilson, Tennessee Williams's Streetcar Named Desire and George C Wolfe's The Colored Museum.

By William Shakespeare
Directed by:Carl Jordan
Dates:October 12th- October 27
Location:Marine's Memorial
AASC Artistic director L. Peter Callender makes his debut in Othello. Directed by Carl Jordan, thisproduction will be set in a contemporary milieu that places an emphasis on Othello as "the other"-an outsider who grew up in Africa attempting to balance his Muslim background against the Christian society he is marrying into.

Directed by:Sherri Young
Dates:December 20 - 22
Location:Herbst Theatre
This beloved annual holiday treat-which has sold out each of the past 4 years-is a timeless tale, brought to whimsical, magical life in an uplifting re-telling of the classic fairytale, featuring all of the pageantry, hilarity, and charm of the original, but with a decidedly soulful twist. Not to mention a very hands on Fairy Godmother.

The Trial of One-Short Sighted Black Woman vs. Mammy Louise and Safreeta Mae
by Karani Marcia Leslie
Directed by:Sherri Young
Dates:February15th - February 29
Location:Taube Atrium
This satirical play by Karani Marcia Leslie is set up as a mock trial of black female identity-specifically the jovial, asexual and servile "mammy," along with the hyper-sexualized Jezebel-like "Safreeta Mae" stereotypes, which the main character charges, are actually based on television, advertising and the movies, not reality. And it is these stereotypes that have impeded her success in making it up the entertainment industry's corporate ladder. Interestingly, the playwright herself was an editor and staff writer for CBS, NBC and Fox, with credits that also include The Cosby Show and Parenthood.

Private Lives
By Noel Coward
Directed by:Clay David
Location:Marine's Memorial
Dates:April 9 - April 26th
The bright and shining wit and comedy of Coward's 1930 comedy of manners tells the story of a divorced couple who come to realize that though they both just remarried younger spouses, they've somehow booked into the same hotel for their respective honeymoons! And in fact, are sharing a terrace. A who's who of theater and film stars have played the roles over the years-including Lawrence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor- and the African-American Shakespeare Company is thrilled to be giving it a go!

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