Arena Stage Announces Cast For STICKFLY, Runs 1/1-2/7/2010

Full casting is set for the upcoming Arena Stage production Stick Fly by Lydia R. Diamond (The Bluest Eye and The Gift Horse).The modern family comedy with direction by Kenny Leon (Broadway's Tony Award-winning A Raisin in the Sun) runs January 1-February 7, 2010 at Arena Stage in Crystal City. The press opening performance is January 7, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. Stick Fly is being produced in collaboration with the Huntington Theatre Company. Full release to follow at a later date.

Cast of Stick Fly:

Rosie Benton (Kimber) Broadway: Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Accent on Youth. Off-Broadway: Howard Katz and Saturn Returns. Regional: Betrayal (Hangar Theatre), Bring Love to My Doorstep (Guthrie Theater) and The Night Season (Bay Street Theatre).

Jason Dirden (Kent) Off-Broadway: First Breeze of Summer (Signature Theatre Company). Regional: Fences (GeVa Theatre) and August Wilson's 20th Century (Kennedy Center). TV: Tyler Perry's House of Payne (Tyler Perry Studios) and Cassius Clay Story (ABC).

Amber Iman (Cheryl) Regional: The Amen Corner (Alliance Theatre), The Samson Musical (New Horizons Theatre) and The Stephen Schwartz Project (Metro Stage).

Billy Eugene Jones (Flip) Broadway: Passing Strange, Radio Golf, A Raisin in the Sun and Gem of the Ocean. Regional: A Raisin in the Sun (Hartford Stage), Hamlet (Dallas Theatre Center) and Breath, Boom! (Yale Repertory Theatre). TV/Film: Comic View (BET), Hexed (Columbia Pictures) and Wishbone (PBS).

Nikkole Salter (Taylor) Co-author of and actor in the Off-Broadway and international tour of In the Continuum for which she was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Best Actress and received the New York Outer Critics Circle's John Gassner Playwriting Award, an Obie Special Citation and a Helen Hayes Award for Best Non-Resident Play. Regional: Inked Baby (Playwright Horizons), Gee's Bend (Kansas City Rep) and Jitney (Studio Theatre).

Wendell W. Wright (Joe LeVay) Regional: Looking over the President's Shoulder (Ford's Theatre), Private Eyes (Old Globe Theater), Black No More (Arena Stage/Guthrie Theater). A member of Arena Stage's former resident acting company appearing in numerous productions including Twelfth Night, Uncle Vanya and Arcadia.

Lydia R. Diamond (Playwright)'s plays include The Gift Horse, The Bluest Eye, Voyeurs de Venus, Company One, Stick Fly, Harriet Jacobs, Stage Black and The Inside. Diamond is one of several playwrights commissioned by Actors Theatre Co./Humana ‘09 to collaborate on The Anthology Project. She has been commissioned by McCarter, Victory Gardens/Humana, Huntington, Steppenwolf and Roundabout Theatre Co. The Bluest Eye, The Gift Horse and Stage Black are published by Dramatic Publishing. The Gift Horse is anthologized in Northwestern University Press' Seven Black Plays, ed. Chuck Smith. Stick Fly, published 2009, Northwestern University Press. She holds a B.S. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, a 2006/07 Huntington Playwright Fellow, an 2007/08 TCG/NEA playwright in residence at Steppenwolf, and is a TCG board member. Diamond is on faculty at Boston University where she teaches playwriting.

Kenny Leon (Director) is a sought-after director of stage and film. His Broadway work includes the 2004 Tony Award-winning revival of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, which recorded the highest-grossing weekly box office sales for a drama on Broadway. Leon also directed the Emmy-nominated film A Raisin in the Sun, which aired on ABC in 2008 and has received a Directors Guild Award nomination, an Emmy nomination, a Golden Globe nomination and won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Television Movie. Other directorial credits include the Tony-nominated productions of August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean and Radio Golf, Toni Morrison's opera Margaret Garner and August Wilson's Century Cycle at the Kennedy Center for which he was artistic director. Leon has directed extensively around the country, including the Goodman Theatre, Huntington Theatre, Center Theatre Group and The Public Theatre. He is also former artistic director of the Alliance Theatre, where he produced the premieres of Disney's Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida, Pearl Cleage's Blues for an Alabama Sky and Alfred Uhry's The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Leon is founder and artistic director of True Colors Theatre Company, principal of KL Productions and an inspirational speaker.

The Creative Team for Stick Fly also includes Lighting Designer Allen Lee Hughes, Set Designer David Gallo, Costume Designer Reggie Ray, Sound Designer Timothy Thompson and Stage Manager Angelita Thomas.
Full bios and images available upon request. Please email press@arenastage.org.

Arena Stage FACT SHEET FOR STICK FLY

Stick Fly
By Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by Kenny Leon
STORY: Race and privilege intersect in this thought-provoking and lively modern family comedy. One lazy summer weekend, Kent LeVay invites his fiancée, Taylor, to meet his parents at their luxurious Martha's Vineyard summer home. Taylor, under the microscope and unaccustomed to the surrounding wealth, challenges the household dynamic. The family ties rapidly unravel when Kent's womanizing older brother surprises everyone with his white girlfriend. Conflict and dysfunction ensue as the household vigorously airs their long-secret dirty linens along with the drapes. Be a fly on the wall as this exciting new American voice, playwright Lydia R. Diamond (The Bluest Eye), astutely examines African-American social aristocracy.


Stick Fly Cast:
Kimber Rosie Benton
Kent Jason Dirden
Cheryl Amber Iman
Flip Billy Eugene Jones
Taylor Nikkole Salter
Joe Le Vay Wendell W. Wright

WHERE: Arena Stage in Crystal City
1800 S. Bell Street
Arlington, VA 22202

WHEN: January 1-February 7, 2010
Press Opening Night is January 7, 2010.
Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m.
Check calendar for exceptions and weekday matinees.

TICKETS: Tickets for Stick Fly range from $25-$66. Discount tickets are available for patrons purchasing tickets for multiple shows, students and groups. A limited number of $10 tickets for patrons ages 30 and under go on sale beginning each Monday for performances that week. (All patrons must present valid ID.) HOTTIX, a limited number of half-price, day-of-performance tickets, are available 90-30 minutes before curtain prior to every performance. Tickets may be purchased online at www.arenastage.org, by phone at (202) 488-3300 or at the Arena Stage Sales Office at 1800 S. Bell Street, Arlington, VA 22202.

Stick Fly is being produced in collaboration with the Huntington Theatre Company.

Stick Fly is sponsored by Susan and Steve Bralove, Linda and John M. Derrick, Wendy Farrow, Mark and Merrill Shugoll, and Dick and Katie Snowdon.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Molly Smith and Managing Director Edgar Dobie, Washington, D.C.-based Arena Stage is the largest theater in the country dedicated to American plays and playwrights. Founded in 1950 by Zelda Fichandler, Thomas Fichandler and Edward Mangum, Arena Stage was one of the nation's original resident theaters and has a distinguished record of leadership and innovation in the field. With the opening of the new Mead Center for American Theater in 2010, Arena Stage will be a leading center for the production, presentation, development and study of American theater. Now in its sixth decade, Arena Stage serves a diverse annual audience of more than 200,000. For more information please visit www.arenastage.org.

Photo credit: Walter McBride

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