The Shakespeare Theatre Company Presents THE AMEN CORNER, Beginning Performances Tonight
Performances begin tonight for The Shakespeare Theatre Company mounting of THE AMEN CORNER, James Baldwin's classic parable of passion and perseverance, at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F St. NW) in Washington, D.C.. The production will run from February 11-March 15, 2020.
James Baldwin investigates the role of the church in the formation of Black identity and community in THE AMEN CORNER. Building upon the themes of his semi-autobiographical novel GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN, this play explores the dynamics of a dysfunctional family and their struggles with faith and fulfillment in his characteristic beautiful prose.
Margaret Alexander (Mia Ellis), a zealous church pastor of a storefront church in Harlem, must confront the past she left behind when her estranged husband Luke (Chike Johnson) returns. Trying to find his own identity outside of the confines of the church, their son David (Antonio Michael Woodard) bonds with his ailing father over their shared love of jazz music. Margaret's misguided but fervent beliefs cause further disunity both within their fragile family union and in her congregation as her past comes to light. Harriett D. Foy (Broadway's AMÉLIE and AMAZING GRACE) plays the pivotal role of Odessa, Margaret Alexander's sister.
"This play is many things," said director Whitney White in a release. "It's a tragedy of the Black American family and the broken home; a love story; a play about the call of art-music in this case; a play about the safety and power of the church as well as the hypocrisy of the church; a play about the very special condition of the Black American woman; a play about womanhood and female sensuality, a woman's life as a never-ending fight with men; and, a play about the ever-presence of the street."
E Faye Butler (Free For All production of ROMEO AND JULIET), recipient of seven Joseph Jefferson and two Helen Hayes Awards, Jade Jones (MACBETH), Helen Hayes-nominated Diedra Lawan Starnes (Free For All production of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING) who appeared Off-Broadway in for colored girls... (dir. Ntozake Shange), and Helen Hayes Award winner Nova Y. Paton (KISS ME, KATE), who toured in SMOKEY JOE'S CAFÉ all return to Shakespeare Theatre Company for the production.
A company member at Trinity Repertory Company, Ellis (Margaret) has starred in MARISOL and RAGTIME as well as James Baldwin's BLUES FOR MISTER CHARLIE at Trinity. Woodard (David) was a Cloris Leachman Award Nominee for his performance in the Pyramid Theatre Company's production of THE AMEN CORNER, and he has appeared Off-Broadway in Classic Stage Company's MACBETH. Johnson (Luke) most recently appeared as Disciple Ufot in New York Theatre Workshop's Production of RUNBOYRUN. They are all making their STC debuts, as is Foy. In addition to her many Broadway credits, Foy received a 2019 Drama Desk nominee for her acclaimed performance in off-Broadway's THE HOUSE THAT WILL NOT STAND and stars in the upcoming Starz series P-VALLEY.
The cast also features Marty Austin Lamar, a faculty member in the Theatre Department at Howard University who performed in MS. EVER'S BOYS off-Broadway and recently in Constellation Theatre's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, Phil McGlaston, who starred in THE LITTLE FOXES on Broadway; Jasmine M. Rush, who earned her MFA at the Academy for Classical Acting, and appeared in AS MUCH AS I CAN Off-Broadway; frequent PlayMakers Repertory Company performer Tristan André Parks (RAGTIME, LIFE OF GALILEO), and Lauryn Simone, a student at Howard University (BFA Musical Theatre) who appeared in Mosaic Theatre's FABULATION.
Rounding out the ensemble as members of the Choir are Francese (JOE TURNER'S COME AND GONE at Morgan's Little Theatre), Nia-Aiyana Meeks, who is earning her BFA in Musical Theatre from Howard University (SPELL #7 at Howard University), Robert E. Person (BLACK NATIVITY at the Anacostia Playhouse), and Theodore (A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER at Virginia Repertory Theatre).
Tickets are priced from $35-120. To order tickets, please visit our website http://www.shakespearetheatre.org/events/the-amen-corner-19-20/ or call 202.547.1122.