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Thursday, 19 June 2014 21:45

Broadway Review: HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME

Holler If Ya Hear Me aims high. It uses the lyrics of the late poet and hip-hop icon, Tupac Shakur and his pairing of music from composers like Ron IsleySuzanne VegaBurt BacharachHal DavidElton John, Marshall B. Mathers III (a.k.a. Slim Shady, a.k.a. Eminem) and others. It puts these songs on a skeletal frame written by Todd Kreidler. The story is not Shakur's biography but rather an uninspired excuse for another juke-box musical on Broadway. While they may have aimed high, they overreached and didn't make the shot.

Published in Broadway
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 22:26

STICK FLY Announces Casting for Broadway

Alicia Keys Proudly Announces Gifted Ensemble Cast

DULÉ HILL   MEKHI PHIFER   TRACIE THOMS

and RUBEN SANTIAGO-HUDSON

To Star in the Broadway Premiere of

STICK FLY

Also Starring CONDOLA RASHAD

A Play by LYDIA R. DIAMOND

Directed by KENNY LEON

OPENS DECEMBER 8, 2011 AT THE CORT THEATRE

PREVIEWS BEGIN NOVEMBER 18, 2011

Get Stick Fly Tickets

Producer Alicia Keys is proud to announce that Dulé HillMekhi PhiferTracie Thoms, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Condola Rashad will star in the Broadway premiere of STICK FLY, the critically-acclaimed American play by Lydia R. Diamond and directed by Kenny LeonSTICK FLY begins previews on Friday, November 18, 2011 and officially opens on Thursday, December 8, 2011 at the Cort Theatre (138 W. 48th Street). Tickets are now on sale through Telecharge.com.

“My producing partners and I are thrilled to have such a strong and talented ensemble cast assembled,” said Alicia Keys. “Having this incredible group of actors to help bring Lydia’s beautiful play to life is going to take Broadway’s wattage to the next level!"

Returning to the Broadway stage, Emmy Award nominee Dulé Hill (“Psych,” “The West Wing”) will play Kent “Spoon” Levay (a writer), Tracie Thoms (Rent, “Cold Case,” The Devil Wears Prada) will play Taylor (Kent’s fiancée and an entomologist), and Tony Award-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Seven GuitarsLackawanna Blues) will play Joe Levay (Kent & Flip’s father and a neurosurgeon). Making their Broadway debuts,Mekhi Phifer (“ER,” 8 Mile) will play Flip Levay (a plastic surgeon), and Drama Desk Award nominee Condola Rashad (Ruined) will play Cheryl (a maid). Casting for the role of Kimber, a part-time teacher, will be announced at a later date.

It was supposed to be a relaxing weekend at the family home on Martha’s Vineyard… until the baggage got unpacked. Set at the elegant summer home of the well-to-do LeVay family, STICK FLY begins when two adult sons bring their significant others (one a fiancée, the other a new girlfriend) home to meet their parents for the first time. Soon, secrets are revealed, civilities are dropped and identities are explored in a harsh new light. Race and rivalry, class and family, all come together for an explosive comedy of manners about today’s complex world.

The creative team for STICK FLY includes David Gallo (Scenic Design), Reggie Ray (Costume Design), Beverly Emmons (Lighting Design) and Richard Fitzgerald / Sound Associates (Sound Design).

STICK FLY will be produced on Broadway by Nelle NugentAlicia KeysSamuel NappiReuben CannonSharon A. Carr/Patricia KlausnerHuntington Theatre CompanyDan FrishwasserCharlesSalameno in association with Joseph Sirola & Eric Falkenstein.

STICK FLY was developed in a recent co-production last year between the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston and Arena Stage in Washington D.C. The play had its world premiere at Chicago’s Congo Square Theatre Company in 2006 and was subsequently performed at theatres including the McCarter Theatre in 2007 and the Matrix Theatre Company in Los Angeles in 2009. STICK FLY is the recipient of 2011 Independent Reviewers of New England Awards for Best Play and Best Director of a Drama (Kenny Leon); 2010 LA Drama Critics Circle Awards for Best Production, Best Direction and Best Ensemble Performance; a 2010 LA Garland Award for Playwriting; a 2009 LA Weekly Theatre Award for Playwriting; and, the 2006 Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best New Play. It was also a 2008 Susan Blackburn Prize finalist and a nominee for the 2006 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work.

Tickets are now available by calling Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200(800) 432-7250 outside the NY metro area, or online at Telecharge.com.

DULÉ HILL (Kent "Spoon” Levay) currently stars as Burton 'Gus' Guster on the USA Network original series “Psych,” of which he is also a producer and was nominated four times for an NAACP Image Award. Best known as Charlie Young on “The West Wing,” Hill garnered an Emmy Award nomination, Image Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, as well as receiving two Screen Actors Guild Awards as part of the ensemble in a drama series. Hill first came to prominence as The Kid in Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk. His stage credits include Black and Blue (Broadway), Shenandoah (Paper Mill Playhouse) andThe Little Rascals (Goodspeed Opera House). In 2007, Hill returned to the stage in the Obie award-winning play Dutchman (Cherry Lane Theatre). Born in Orange, New Jersey and raised in nearby Sayreville, Hill began attending dance school when he was three and received his first break as the understudy to Savion Glover in The Tap Dance Kid on Broadway.  He went on to perform the lead role in the musical’s national tour. Hill also previously appeared in “Edmond,” and “The Guardian.”  His film credits also include HolesSugar HillShe's All That and Sexual Life.

MEKHI PHIFER (Flip Levay). Broadway debut. Born and raised in New York, Phifer’s acting career began when he was selected for the leading role in director Spike Lee’s Clockers. He can currently be seen in Starz new series “Torchwood: Miracle Day” as Rex Matheson. His additional film credits include FlypaperLast Man StandingPuff, Puff, Pass (directorial debut and featured role); Dawn of the Dead8 MilePaid in FullOI Still Know What You Did Last SummerSoul FoodHell’s Kitchen, NYCTears of a ClownAn Invited Guest; and The Imposter.  In June of 2002, he was honored by the American Black Film Festival, receiving the organization’s “Rising Star” award. Mekhi is most recognizable for his role as Dr. Gregory Pratt on ER, for which he received NAACP Image Awards in 2004 & 2005. His other TV credits include Fox’s “Lie To Me, MTV’s Carmen: A Hip-Hopera, the HBO Original Movie A Lesson Before Dying (NAACP Image Award nomination), the ABC television special Brian’s Song and the HBO Original Film The Tuskegee Airmen. Mr. Phifer has also made guest appearances on the popular police dramas “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “New York Undercover.”

TRACIE THOMS (Taylor). Broadway credits include Rent, Drowning Crow, The 24 Hour Play and The 24 Hour Musical. Off-Broadway credits include lead “Georgia Hayes” in The Exonerated.  Film credits include starring in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof opposite Kurt Russell, and Rent opposite Taye Diggs and Rosario Dawson, and featured roles in The Devil Wears Prada with Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, and Peter and Vandy opposite Jesse Martin and Jason Ritter. TV credits include series regular roles on “Cold Case,” “Wonderfalls” and “As If,” and guest stars on “Private Practice,” “Harry's Law,” “Suits,” “Hawthorne,” “The Shield” and “Law & Order.”  Received Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Howard University and graduate degree in acting from Juilliard.

RUBEN SANTIAGO-HUDSON (Joe Levay). Santiago-Hudson’s screenplay Lackawanna Blues, received the Humanitas Prize,  Christopher Award, National Board of Review Honors, NAACP Image Award; and Emmy, Golden Globe and WGA nominations. Film credits include: Their Eyes Were Watching GodAmerican GangsterMr. BrooksShaftDevil’s AdvocateDomestic DisturbanceThe Invention of Lying.  TV credits include: “Castle;”  “Forgotten Genius;” “The Red Sneakers;” “American Tragedy;” “Solomon and Sheba;” “Rear Window;” “Michael Hayes;” “The West Wing;” “Law & Order.” He made his directorial debut with Gem of the Ocean (McCarter Theater and American Conservatory Theater.) Directing credits include: Things Of Dry Hours (NYTW), Radio Golf (Kennedy Center), Seven GuitarsThe First Breeze of Summer (Signature– Associate Artist 2008-2009). Ruben made his Broadway acting debut in Jelly’s Last Jam. His performance in Seven Guitars earned him the Tony Award for Featured Actor in a Play. His most recent theatre performances include A Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare in the Park) and Gem of the Ocean (Broadway.) Awards include Outer Critics Circle, Dramalogue, Clarence Derwent, Glen G. Bartle Award, Distinguished Alumni Award from Wayne State University, two Audelco Awards, Black Filmmaker’s Award, a N.A.M.I.C. Award and an HBO Comedy Arts Festival Theater Award.  Santiago-Hudson received a NAACP Lifetime Achievement Theatre Award in 2009.

CONDOLA RASHAD (Cheryl) will make her Broadway debut in Stick Fly. Rashad received rave reviews for her performance in Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize winning production of Ruined, a role which garnered her a Theatre World Award as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations. Her other theater credits include Tambourines To Glory at the Alliance Theatre, directed by Kenny Leon, and Pearl at the Kennedy Center, directed by Debbie Allen. Rashad’s film and TV credits include 30 Beats opposite Justin Kirk and Lee Pace, Sex and the City 2, “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “Smash,” “Georgetown,” and “The Good Wife.”  She is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts.

LYDIA R. DIAMOND (Playwright) is making her Broadway debut with her award-winning play, Stick Fly (’10 IRNE Award – Best Play, ’10 LA Critics Circle Awards, ’10 LA Garland Award – Playwriting, ’08 Susan S. Blackburn Finalist, ‘06 Black Theatre  Alliance Award – Best Play), Voyeurs de Venus (’06 Joseph Jefferson Award – Best New Work, ‘06 BTAA – Best Writing), The Bluest Eye (’06 Black Arts Alliance Image Award – Best New Play, ‘08 American Alliance for Theatre and Education Distinguished Play Award), The Gift Horse (’05 Theadore Ward Prize, Kesselring Prize 2nd Place), Harriet Jacobs, Stage Black, and Lizzie Stranton (2008 Boston University Playwriting Initiative Commission).  Theatres include:  Arena Stage, Chicago Dramatists, Company One, Congo Square, Everyman Theatre Company, Freedom Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Co., Jubilee Theatre, Kansas City Rep, L.A. Theatre Works, Long Wharf, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, McCarter Theatre Co., Mo’Olelo Theatre Co., MPAACT, New Vic, Playmakers Rep, Plowshares Theatre Co., Providence Black Rep, Steppenwolf, TrueColors, The Matrix, Underground Railway Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and The Contemporary American Theatre Festival. Lydia’s plays have been produced at Universities around the country including: Duke, Howard, Boston University, Northwestern University, University of Wisconsin, Columbia College Chicago, Spelman College, University of California – San Marcos, and University of Maryland. Lydia has been commissioned by: Steppenwolf, McCarter, Huntington, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville/Victory Gardens, Humana, Boston University, and The Roundabout. Stick Fly and Harriet Jacobs are published by NU Press, Bluest Eye, Gift Horse, Stage Black – Dramatic Publishing. Lydia was an ’05/’06 W.E.B. Du Bois Institute non-resident Fellow, a 2007 TCG/NEA Playwright in Residence at Steppenwolf, an 06/07 Huntington Playwright Fellow, a 2009 NEA/Arena Stage New Play Development Grant Finalist, is a TCG Executive Board Member, a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, an Honorary Doctorate of Arts Recipient from Pine Manor College, and a recent recipient of the Huntington Theatre’s 2011 Wimberley Award.  Lydia is on faculty at Boston University.

KENNY LEON (Director). Tony nominated director and Julia Hansen Award winner; Kenny Leon is one of the most acclaimed directors in contemporary American theatre. In 2010, his hit Broadway production ofFences garnered 10 Tony Nominations including Best Director and won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play, Best Actor and Best Actress.  Past Broadway credits include Radio GolfGem of the Ocean and the Tony-winning revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.  Mr. Leon was nominated for Best Director by the Directors Guild of America for the television film of ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ which also received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and won 3 NAACP Image Awards. Prior to founding Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, he served 11 years as 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. Other directorial credits include Toni Morrison’s opera Margaret Garner, the world premiere of Flashdance: The Musical, Alicia Keys’ “As I Am” worldwide tour andthe August Wilson Century Cycle at the Kennedy Center, for which he was Artistic Director. He’s directed extensively around the United States including Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, Boston’s Huntington Theatre, Baltimore’s Center Stage, Los Angeles’ Center Theatre Group and New York’s Public Theatre. This past fall, Mr. Leon directed the world premiere of Marcus Gardley’s Every Tongue Confess starring Phylicia Rashad at Arena Stage in D.C.  He will return to Broadway in 2011 to direct Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and will direct the feature films Babylon and Cotton later this summer.  He has also directed episodes of “Private Practice” for ABC and “Ghost Whisperer” for CBS.   

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