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I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS Opens Book-It's 2017-2018 Season

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Book-It Repertory Theatre will open its 28th season with a stage adaptation of Maya Angelou's masterpiece I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Founding Co-Artistic Director Myra Platt originally adapted and directed this piece for its 2003 world premiere at Book-It. Platt is thrilled to collaborate with Malika Oyetimein who will direct and join Platt as co-adapter on a new script for 2017.


I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings chronicles Angelou's life from age three through the birth of her son. Despite wrenching childhood trauma and racism, Angelou wills herself to rise above it as she discovers the beauty and power of language. She ultimately finds her voice and learns to use her powerful words and her identity as a source of strength and a platform for cultural change. Angelou's memoir made literary history as the first nonfiction best-seller by an African-American woman.

The Seattle Times said the 2003 version conveyed "the essence of Angelou's youthful journey. And it captures her unique authorial voice, in all its peppery wit and vivid descriptiveness."

The cast includes Ronnie Hill as Uncle Willie/Freeman/Ensemble, Aishe Keita as Young Maya, Lamar Legend as Father/Ensemble, Shaunyce Omar* as Momma/Ensemble, Chip Sherman as Bailey/Ensemble, Anthony Lee Simmons as Henry Reed/Ensemble, Lindsay Zae Summers as Dolores/Ensemble, Brennie Tellu* as Older Maya, and Dedra Woods* as Mother Dear/Mrs. Flowers.

*Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

The design team is led by Scenic Designer Christopher Mumaw with lighting design by Matthew Webb, costume design by Christine Meyers, and sound design by Stephan Morsey.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings plays September 13-October 15, 2017 at The Center Theatre at the Armory (305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109). Performance tickets start at $26 with group rates available. $15 tickets will be available to students during the entire run. Purchase at book-it.org or by calling the box office at 206.216.0833. The box office is open Tues through Fri, 12:00pm - 5:00pm (Tues - Sat during production run), located in the outer lobby of The Center Theatre at the Armory, 305 Harrison St., Seattle.


Upcoming Beyond-the-Book Events

Book-It will announce Beyond-the-Book events at a later date.

About Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. With more than 30 bestselling titles, Angelou wrote 36 books including a series of seven autobiographies which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. She received dozens of awards including a Lincoln Medal, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Literarian Award and received more than 50 honorary degrees. Harold Augenbraum from the National Book Foundation said that Angelou's "legacy is one that all writers and readers across the world can admire and aspire to."

About Malika Oyetimein
Malika Oyetimein served as artistic director of the Philadelphia-based Ademide Theatre Ensemble and was a member of the Directors Lab at Lincoln Center Theater. In Seattle, she was featured in City Art Magazine's 2016 Future List. Select directing credits include Hoodoo Love (Sound Theatre Company, Yancy Girl Productions & Ademide Theatre Ensemble), Barbeque and BootyCandy (Intiman Theatre Festival), Milk Like Sugar (ArtsWest Playhouse), Goin' Someplace Special (Book-It Arts & Education Program), WHITE (Theatre Horizon), and Fucking A and Force Continuum (University of Washington). As a professional teaching artist, Malika has worked with Seattle Repertory Theatre, Philadelphia Young Playwrights, Arden Theatre Co., Mural Arts: Project Home, and Theatre Horizon's Autism Drama Program. Malika recently graduated from the MFA Directing program at the University of Washington School of Drama.

About Myra Platt

As Founding Co-Artistic Director of Book-It Repertory Theatre, Myra has helped produce over 125 world-premiere mainstage productions and over 30 education touring productions. Her adapting credits include: The Brothers K: Parts One and Two, Little Bee, The Financial Lives of the Poets, The Art of Racing in the Rain, The River Why, The House of the Spirits, Giant, Owen Meany's Christmas Pageant (with Jane Jones). She has directed over 20 productions most recently The Brothers K, Little Bee and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2014 Gregory Award for Outstanding Production, Seattle Times Footlight Award). She's the recipient (with Jane Jones) of Paul G. Allen Family Foundation's Founders Award, the 2010 Women of Influence from Puget Sound Business Journal, and was named a 2010 Unsung Hero and Uncommon Genius by The Seattle Times.

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that you use Book-It's full name "Book-It Repertory Theatre" or simply "Book-It", in all text and listings. Thank You.

About THE 2017-2018 Season
In the fall of 2017, Book-It presents Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. During the holiday season, a musical adaptation of Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones features music by Justin Huertas and stars Sara Porkalob. Book-It kicks off 2018 by returning to Pioneer Square for a theatrical culinary collaboration with Café Nordo with one of the most popular detective novels The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett. In the spring, Book-It presents a touring show The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz in association with Young Audiences New York. Book-It's final selection is Oscan Wilde's The Picture of DorIan Gray.


About Book-It Repertory Theatre

Book-It Repertory Theatre, a leader in the narrative theatre movement, was founded in 1990. Book-It is a non-profit organization with a dedication to great literature and quality theatre experiences employing simple, sensitive, and imaginative production techniques, and to inspiring its audiences to read. The company is funded, in part, by generous contributions from corporations and foundations, and hundreds of individuals who share its passion for literature.


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