By Marcus Gardley
Directed by Jennifer L. Nelson
Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lab II
December 9, 2015-January 3, 2016
A hymn-and-hip-hop-tinged elegy, set on the South Side of Chicago in a time of rising gun violence in a cosmopolitan, yet divided city, the play tells the story of Manny, a 17-year-old who sings for President Obama at the White House only to be held up weeks later for his Air Jordan sneakers. Manny's mother retraces the trajectory of her son's fateful encounter with Noel, a fellow teenager with heartbreaking setbacks of his own, as she conjures the ghost of Ida B. Wells, the Civil Rights activist now 153 years old, who offers a challenging perspective for the family and our community. Staged by Mosaic Theater Resident Director Jennifer L. Nelson (Founding Artistic Director, African Continuum Theatre Company).
Run time: 1 hour, 45 minutes.
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Reva & David Logan Foundation
Community Engagement Series
All discussions are free and open to the public,
and begin immediately after scheduled show time.
Meet the Artists
Marcus Gardley (Playwright)
Marcus Gardley is a poet-playwright who was awarded the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels award for Mid-Career Playwright. His most recent play, Every Tongue Confess, premiered at Arena Stage starring Phylicia Rashad and directed by Kenny Leon. It was nominated for the Steinberg New Play Award, the Charles MacArthur Award and was a recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. His musical, On The Levee, premiered last summer at LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater and was nominated for 11 Audelco Awards including outstanding playwright. Last spring, his play, And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, was produced at The Cutting Ball Theater and received the SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award nomination for outstanding new play and was extended twice. He has had six plays produced including dance of the holy ghost at Yale Repertory Theatre (now under a Broadway option,) (L)imitations of Life, at the Empty Space in Seattle, and like sun fallin’ in the mouth at the National Black Theatre Festival. He is the recipient of a Helen Merrill Award, a Kesselring Honor, the Gerbode Emerging Playwright Award, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Award, the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Scholarship, and the ASCAP Cole Porter Award. He holds an MFA in Playwriting from the Yale Drama School and is a member of New Dramatists, The Dramatists Guild, and The Lark Play Development Center. He is a professor of Playwriting at Brown University.
Jennifer L. Nelson (Director)
Jennifer L. Nelson is a Washington-based theater professional committed to principles that value human dignity, justice and compassion. She brings to Mosaic Theater more than 40 years of experience as an actor, playwright, administrator, professor, director and two-term president of the League of Washington Theatres. She is the senior advisor for special programming at Ford’s Theatre, and previously served for 11 years as the producing artistic director of the African Continuum Theatre Company, where she directed more than 20 full productions and readings. She is a 26-year veteran of Living Stage Theatre Company, the former community outreach program at Arena Stage. Nelson has directed productions at Ford’s Theatre, Round House, Woolly Mammoth, Theater of the First Amendment, Theater J and more. As a playwright, Nelson won the Helen Hayes/Charles MacArthur Award for Most Outstanding New Play for her play, Torn From the Headlines. She has taught at UCLA, George Washington University and American University, most recently teaching “Theatre for Social Change” as an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University.