Cara Ricketts, Joel Ashur & More to Star in World Premiere of James Ijames' GOOD BONES

The production will run May 10-June 11, 2023.

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The cast is set for the world premiere of Good Bones, the next play from Pulitzer Prize-winner James Ijames. Directed by Psalmayene 24, the show opens just a few weeks after James' play Fat Ham will open on Broadway. The actors who will bring Good Bones to life at Studio include Cara Ricketts as Aisha, Joel Ashur as Travis, Johnny Ramey as Earl, and Deidre Staples as Carmen.

Several of these performers have appeared in Studio Productions in the past; most recently, Deirdre Staples' performance in the 2022 world premiere of John Proctor is the Villain at Studio was honored with a Helen Hayes Award nomination. And this premiere will be a homecoming for the play as well: Ijames is currently a commissioned artist in the Studio R&D program, and the play was developed with the support of that commission.

Good Bones demonstrates the strong influence that DC and its culture had on Ijames during the script's development. Aspects of the play particularly echo the development of the #DontMuteDC movement that began in 2019, when noise complaints from a new luxury apartment complex developed into a larger conversation about gentrification and culture in the city.

Ijames' play Fat Ham won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2022, just days before the show opened off Broadway. Like Fat Ham, Good Bones explores questions of history, inheritance, and legacy. As Ijames told, "I think about the things that I've inherited that I want to keep and what I want to let go. All of that is at the heart of Fat Ham."

"We commissioned James back in 2018," said Studio Artistic Director David Muse. "He'd been working on an idea around Uncle Tom's Cabin-something satiric and political, a little outrageous and a bit sad. But when he saw our spaces on his visit, and then took a tour of the Shaw neighborhood, he decided to write something more intimate about neighborhoods and change-something that reflected what he saw in DC and experienced in his own city of Philadelphia. It's a play that reflects James's own deeply held interests in looking at what communities have and need, at how to connect with the ghosts of your past-as a city and as a person. It's a perfect match for Studio and Washington DC, and I'm so thrilled to bring his pandemic-delayed play to our audiences."

About the Cast

Joel Ashur

(Travis) is making his Studio Theatre debut. His recent credits include How the Light Gets In at 1st Stage, Bars and Measures at Mosaic Theater Company, Nollywood Dreams at Round House Theatre, Sweat at Fulton Theatre, Sister Act at North Carolina Theatre, Lombardi at Actors Theatre of Indiana, and A Friend of a Friend at Capital Repertory Theatre.

Johnny Ramey

(Earl) is an accomplished Juilliard-trained performer. He won the Robert Prosky - Helen Hayes Award for performing in Superior Donuts at Studio Theatre. Johnny has many credits that span stage, film and television. His next project to be released shortly is the feature film Rustin for Netflix, directed by George C. Wolfe. Rustin is a biopic of civil rights leader Bayard Rustin produced by Higher Ground Productions, a company founded by the Obamas.

Cara Ricketts

(Aisha) has performed in both Canada and the US, including Time and the Conways on Broadway, several seasons as a leading lady at Canada's Stratford Festival, and Isabella in Measure for Measure with Theatre for a New Audience in New York. Cara played Rose in 20th Century Fox's The Resident. She also appeared as Mary in the CBC/Netflix series Anne with an E, winning the ACTRA Award for this performance. Guest appearances include WB's DC series Titans and BBC America's Emmy Award-winning series Orphan Black. Video game performances include Mickey in Far Cry New Dawn and Sayla in Far Cry Primal.

Deidre Staples

(Carmen; she/her) is an actor and writer. Her Studio Theatre credits include John Proctor is the Villain and The Wolves (understudy). Selected regional theatre credits include My Body, No Choice at Arena Stage; Daphne's Dive at Signature Theatre (understudy); The Skin of Our Teeth at Everyman Theatre; and Twelfth Night, The Crucible, and Around the World in 80 Days with the National Players Tour 70. She wrote and performed White-ish at the Atlas Intersections Festival which is being produced at the Different Strokes Performing Arts Collective in Asheville, NC. Awards: Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Supporting Performing in a Play. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Howard University.

About Good Bones

Aisha's moved back to the block, but the neighborhood's changed. She's an urban planner, returning to her hometown, renovating a townhouse that's seen better days. Aisha tries to convince her husband to spring for crown molding and endures the noise that blares from the street all night. But when their contractor is caught up in an act of violence a block away, Aisha's homecoming becomes more complex than she expected. A world premiere play by 2022 Pulitzer Prize winner James Ijames, Good Bones explores gentrification and belonging, displacement and upward mobility, and being haunted by a legacy you're only just beginning to understand.

About James Ijames

James Ijames is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, a director and educator. James' plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theatre Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theater, Theatre Exile, Azuka Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre, JACK, The Public Theater (NYC), Hudson Valley Shakespeare Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre, TimeLine Theatre (Chicago IL), Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA), and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright's Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theatre, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Gardens Theater. James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and has received two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size with Simpatico Theatre and Gem of the Ocean with Arden Theatre Company. James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ....Miz Martha, a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award, a 2019 Kesselring Prize recipient for Kill Move Paradise, recipient of a 2020 and 2022 Steinberg Prize and of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. James was a founding member of Orbiter 3, Philadelphia's first playwright producing collective. He received a B.A. in Drama from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and a M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. James is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Villanova University. He resides in South Philadelphia.

About Psalmayene 24

Psalmayene 24 is an award-winning director, playwright, and actor. Directing credits include Flow and Pass Over at Studio Theatre, Necessary Sacrifices: A Radio Play at Ford's Theatre, Native Son at Mosaic Theater Company, Word Becomes Flesh at Theater Alliance, Cinderella: The Remix at Imagination Stage, and Not Enuf Lifetimes at The Welders. Playwriting credits include Dear Mapel and Les Deux Noirs: Notes on Notes of a Native Son at Mosaic Theater Company, The Frederick Douglass Project co-written with Deirdre Kinahan at Solas Nua, and Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth at Imagination Stage. His solo play, Free Jujube Brown!, is published in the anthology Plays from the Boom Box Galaxy: Theater from the Hip Hop Generation. Acting credits include Ruined at Arena Stage, Free Jujube Brown! at The African Continuum Theatre Company, and HBO's The Wire. He is the writer/director of the short film The Freewheelin' Insurgents. Psalm is the host of Psalm's Salons at Studio, an interview-based cultural series that celebrates theatre and community through a Black lens. He is the recipient of a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play and has received the Imagination Award from Imagination Stage. His work has received grants from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Walt Disney Corporation. Psalm is currently the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence at Mosaic Theater Company. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Dramatists Guild, and Actors' Equity Association.

About Studio Theatre

Studio Theatre is a longstanding Washington cultural institution dedicated to the production of contemporary theatre. Over more than 40 years and 350 productions, the theatre has grown from a company that produced in a single rented theatre to one that owns a multi-venue complex stretching half a city block, but has stayed committed to its core distinguishing characteristics: deliberately intimate spaces; excellence in acting and design; and seasons that feature many of the most significant playwrights of our time. Studio is a values-focused organization that pursues artistry and inclusion, and brings characteristic thoughtfulness and daring to our efforts, onstage and off. The theatre serves nearly 75,000 people each year, including more than 1,000 youth and young adults through community engagement initiatives. Founded in 1978, the quality of Studio's work has been recognized by sustained community support, as well as 78 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in professional theatre.  

Performance Details:

Location: 1501 14th Street NW (northeast corner of 14th and P Streets)
Tickets: $50-$95
Dates: May 10-June 11, 2023
Press performance: Sunday, May 14 at 2pm
Parking: Studio has a parking partnership with Washington Plaza Hotel at 10 Thomas Circle NW, three blocks south of Studio; patrons who park at the hotel's parking garage can purchase a $13 voucher at the box office. Street parking is extremely limited; arrive early to increase your options.  
Metro stops: Red Line: Dupont Circle, Orange/Blue Lines: McPherson Square, and Green/Yellow Lines: U Street/Cardozo
Accessibility: Studio's theatres are all wheelchair accessible; seats are available by reservation. Assistive listening devices are available for all shows at the Box Office. Call the Box Office at 202.332.3300 for more information.  

Tickets and Subscriptions: 202.332.3300        
Administration: 202.232.7267               
Website: Click Here


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