Queens Girl in Africa
World premiere by Caleen Sinnette Jennings
Directed by Paige Hernandez | Featuring Erika Rose
At the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lang Theatre
January 4 - February 4, 2018
"Erika Rose...transitions with ease between numerous characters...Queens Girl is a joyful and engrossing window into a very personal story." - Missy Frederick, DC Theatre Scene
"The wide-eyed lens of a black American youth is fascinating once again in Jennings’s bouncy account, and it’s another fine showcase for the solo performer who impersonates the family, friends and boyfriends who captivate and confound Jackie. Erika Rose picks up in this Mosaic Theater Company production where actress Dawn Ursula left off in the 2015 Queens Girl in the World at Theater J. She narrates with spunk, and she’s a whiz at voicing the males and females in her family’s internationally populated slice of Nigeria...This growing 'Queens Girl' project provides continuity between the 2015 Women’s Voices festival and the current slate, and it’s heartening to leave wanting more. Jennings has suggested that a Bennington University chapter will round out the trilogy, and with or without another festival as context for a production, what the perceptive, vulnerable, activist-minded Jackie goes through as the 1960s become the 1970s ought to be rich." - Nelson Pressley, The Washington Post
"Playwright Caleen Sinnette Jennings serves up an ace with the world premiere of Queens Girl in Africa – a riveting, semi-autobiographical account of her experience living in Ibadan, Nigeria in the 1960s. This production is a one-woman show starring Helen Hayes Award-winner Erika Rose, whose performance displays electrifying energy and range."- Sherrita Wilkins, DC Metro Theater Arts
"Everything about Queens Girl in Africa is simply superb, from the writing (which ran rampant with absolutely gorgeous prose) to the acting (I’m still in awe regarding Rose’s ability to play such a vast array of different characters flawlessly) to the imaginative set design and use of 1960s era music (which played before the show began) to ease audience members into a long past, albeit not forgotten, time in American and Nigerian history." - Brittney Allen, Maryland Theatre Guide
"Erika Rose shines...While she is the only actor to appear on stage, it doesn't feel quite right to call this a one-woman show. Rose embodies dozens of characters, from Jackie's parents to friends to street vendors--adopting fresh cadences and mannerisms for all without veering into caricature." - Rachel Kurzius, Washington City Paper
"Delightful, Insightful...My jaw dropped because it was my story...Directed by Paige Hernandez, who herself is a master of the one-woman monologue, Queens Girl in Africa not only entertains, it educates...Through the eyes of this conscious, budding young woman, the audience experiences her transformation from an American to a Black woman who embraces her African heritage, but appreciates her stateside upbringing as well." - Eve M. Ferguson, The Washington Informer
"Erika Rose’s range as an actress is formidable: She is all ingénue as the delightful title character of Jacqueline; but she is also a great character actress, lending depth, range, basso honeyed tones, and a gaggle of varied accents to the supporting cast of characters that Jacqueline encounters as the heroine of this beautiful coming-of-age story and crash course in Nigerian history. Seeing and hearing Rose deliver the father character’s gravelly voiced chiding and then piling on Jacqueline as a silky-voiced mother is truly delightful. Rose’s vocal agility delivers accents from different parts of Africa with effortless ability. She is a joy to watch...From the outset, it is hard not to love every quirk and bit about this play: From the 60s soundtrack to the seamless aural cues that transport us from Queens to Liverpool to Lagos and finally to Ibadan– the college town where Jacqueline’s father will work as a physician...A delightful performance, a great story and a novelesque twist make Queens Girl in Africa some of the more enjoyable theater coming your way this winter." - Maria Helena Carey, The Hill is Home
Mosaic’s first commission brings the world premiere follow-up to Caleen Sinnette Jennings’ “sweet-spirited solo show” Queens Girl in the World, which the New York Times described as one of the breakout hits of DC's first Women's Voices Theatre Festival in 2015.
Now part of the 2018 Women’s Voices Theater Festival, Queens Girl in Africa picks back up with teenager Jacqueline Marie Butler as she and her family travel to Nigeria following the assassination of her father’s close friend, Malcolm X.
Jacqueline must navigate both personal challenges (fitting in at a new school, applying to college, falling in love) and societal challenges (a civil war in Nigeria and growing racial tension back in the States). Dozens of characters (and dialects!) are performed by Helen Hayes Award-winner Erika Rose (In Darfur, An Octaroon, Unexplored Interior), in this touching and hilarious coming-of-age comedy. Part of Mosaic’s new Locally Grown initiative.
Generously underwritten by The CrossCurrents Foundation with additional support from Leonade Jones, Bobbie & Tom Gottschalk, and Rosa D. Wiener. Locally Grown is sponsored in part by Whole Foods Market.
Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
202-399-7993 ext 2
Box Office Hours
Box office does NOT take calls two hours prior to a show's curtain, but will return all voice messages left during that time.
Will Call opens one hour prior to curtain.
Patrons who arrive late will be seated at the discretion of management.
ALL PERFORMANCES will include open captions projected on set.
Run Time: 100 minutes including intermission
Opening Night: Monday, January 8 at 7:30PM
FIRST 8 PERFORMANCES
Thurs January 4 at 8PM | Post show discussion
Fri January 5 at 8PM | Post show discussion
Sat January 6 at 8PM
Sun January 7 at 3PM | ASL-Interpreted Post Show Discussion
Sun January 7 at 7:30PM
Mon January 8 at 7:30PM | Opening night
Thurs January 11 at 11AM | Cast talkback
Thurs January 11 at 8PM
Fri January 12 at 8PM
Sat January 13 at 3PM | ASL-Interpreted Post Show Discussion
Sat January 13 at 8PM
Sun January 14 at 3PM
Wed January 17 at 8PM
Thurs January 18 at 8PM | ASL-Interpreted Cast Talkback
Fri January 19 at 8PM
Sat January 20 at 3PM | Peace café
Sat January 20 at 8PM
Sun January 21 at 3PM | Post show discussion
Sun January 21 at 7:30PM
Wed January 24 at 8PM
Thurs January 25 at 8PM | Post show discussion
Fri January 26 at 8PM
Sat January 27 at 3PM | Post show discussion
Sat January 27 at 8PM
Sun January 28 at 3PM | Post show discussion
Sun January 28 at 7:30PM
Wed January 31 at 8PM
Thurs February 1 at 11 AM
Thurs February 1 at 8PM | ASL-Interpreted Discussion
Fri February 2 at 8PM
Sat February 3 at 3PM | ASL-Interpreted Post show discussion
Sat February 3 at 8PM
Sun February 4 at 3PM
Meet the Artists
Caleen Sinnette Jennings (Playwright) is an actor, director, playwright, and a founding member of The Welders, a D.C. Playwrights’ Collective, which won the 2016 John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company. Dramatic Publishing Company has published eight of Jennings’ plays, and her work has appeared in seven play anthologies. In 2014, her play, Not Enuf Lifetimes, ran at the Atlas Center for the Performing Arts. In 2015, her play, Queens Girl in the World, did an extended run at Theatre J. In the same year, she was commissioned by the Kennedy Center to write a stage adaptation of Walter Dean Myers’ novel, Darius & Twig, which was produced at the Kennedy Center Family Theatre and will tour in 2018. Jennings has received playwriting awards from the Kennedy Center and The Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, as well as four nominations for outstanding new play from the Helen Hayes Awards. She is Professor of Theatre in the Department of Performing Arts at American University, where she joined the faculty in 1989. In 2003, she received A.U.’s Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award. She has been a faculty member of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute since 1994 and she was Project Manager on a 2016 NEH grant to the Folger entitled Crosstalk: D.C. Reflects on Identity and Difference. Jennings received a B.A. in Drama from Bennington College and an M.F.A. in Acting from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Paige Hernandez (Director) is a multidisciplinary artist who is critically acclaimed as a performer, director, choreographer and playwright. Paige is also known for her effective fusion of theatre, hip-hop, dance and education.
As a master teaching artist, Paige has taught throughout the country, to all ages, in all disciplines. To date, she has reached approx. 10,000 students, from Pre-K through college, in over 100 residencies, workshops and performances. She has been recognized in many organizations including the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts and Arena Stage where she was awarded the Thomas Fichandler award for exceptional promise in theater education. The Huffington Post named Paige a “classroom hero” because of her outstanding arts integration and work with STEM initiatives. Paige was recently named a “ Top Theatre Worker You should Know” by American Theatre Magazine and a “Rising Leader of Color” by Theatre Communications Group.
Paige is a proud member of Actors Equity Association and has performed on many stages throughout the country including: Arena Stage, Folger Theatre, The Kennedy Center , Fulton Theatre (PA), Ohio Theatre (NY), Manship Theatre(LA), Paramount Theatre (TX), Cleveland Playhouse (OH), The Wharton Center (MI) and many others. She has collaborated with The Lincoln Center (NY) and was commissioned by several organizations including the National New Play Network, University of Maryland and the Glimmerglass festival.
As a critically acclaimed director and dancer, Paige's choreography has been seen all over the world, most notably at Imagination Stage, The Kennedy Center, Forum Theatre and at Woolly Mammoth Theatre. She recently received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council as well as two Helen Hayes nominations for choreography and performance.
As a hip-hop education advocate, Paige has shaped various educational workshops, including Props for Hip Hop at Arena Stage and Keep it Moving at Wolf Trap. Both workshops help teachers to understand the fundamentals of hip-hop while incorporating the culture into their curriculum.
With her company B-FLY ENTERTAINMENT, Paige tours internationally with her original works including Liner Notes, The Nayika Project, 7th Street Echo, All the Way Live!, Havana Hop, PAIGE IN FULL and her hip hopera, Stomping Grounds.
Erika Rose (Jacqueline Marie Butler) last appeared at Mosaic Theater in Unexplored Interior. Other regional credits include: An Octoroon, Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play, Lenny & Lou and The Mineola Twins at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company where she is a proud company member; The Father at Studio Theater; Falling Out of Time and In Darfur (Helen Hayes Award) at Theater J; Pretty Fire (Helen Hayes Nomination) at The African Continuum Theatre Company; The Brand New Kid, Knuffle Bunny, Oliverio!, As You Like It and Alice at The Kennedy Center; The Soul Collector and Stick Fly at Everyman Theater; The Book Club Play and Pippin at Round House Theatre; The Bluest Eye at Theater Alliance; The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing at The Shakespeare Theatre Company. Other theaters include: Project Y; Hangar Theatre; Arden Theatre Company; Philadelphia Theatre Company; Pioneer Theater. Erika studied at The University of Maryland, College Park and The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. www.erikarose.com
All Photography by Stan Barouh
Set and Costumes by Deb Sivigny
Lights and Projections by Sarah Tundermann