Los Angeles, CA –The Sundance Institute Theatre Program today announced the cast for its two workshop projects at the Sundance Theatre Lab at White Oak that runs January 14-28, 2007. The two projects selected for this season’s Lab are
THE WOMEN OF BREWSTER PLACE – THE MUSICAL, a new musical by Tim Acito; and SONG FOR NEW YORK: WHAT WOMEN DO WHILE MEN SIT KNITTING, an ensemble piece created by and featuring Mabou Mines, the New York-based theatre company.
THE WOMEN OF BREWSTER PLACE – THE MUSICAL
Based on Gloria Naylor’s beloved award-winning novel, THE WOMEN OF BREWSTER PLACE – THE MUSICAL, with music and lyrics by Tim Acito (ZANNA DON’T!), explores the comic, heartbreaking, and ultimately inspiring lives of 10 African-American women living in an urban housing project in the early 1970’s. The cast includes: Adriane Lenox (Tony Award, DOUBT), Marva Hicks (CAROLINE OR CHANGE, THE LION KING), Harriet D. Foy (MAMMA MIA, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND), Terry Burrell (THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, THE THREEPENNY OPERA), Nikki James (THE WIZ at La Jolla Playhouse; ALL SHOOK UP), Monique Midgette (MARIE CHRISTINE), Bernadine Mitchell (BESSIE’S BLUES, San Diego Rep), Tijuana Ricks (Film: THE ARCHITECT), Soara-Joy Ross (DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES) and Shelly Thomas(BROOKLYN THE MUSICAL). The workshop at White Oak will be directed by Molly Smith, artistic director of Arena Stage in Washington D.C., where she recently directed CABARET and SOUTH PACIFIC, and with musical direction by William Foster McDaniel (SHE LOVES ME, Arena Stage; AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’).
SONG FOR NEW YORK: WHAT WOMEN DO WHILE MEN SIT KNITTING
Mabou Mines SONG FOR NEW YORK: WHAT WOMEN DO WHILE MEN SIT KNITTING is a celebration of and for the city of New York conceived and directed by Mabou Mines co-artistic director Ruth Maleczech. Ruth’s collaborators include Julie Archer (visual artist), David Neumann (choreographer), Lisa Gutkin (composer), Robert Kaplowitz (sound designer), Paul Kandel (male chorus director), Irina Kruzhilina (costume designer), Christine Sciulli (light artist) and T. Kevin Fisher (technical director). Poems about each of the five boroughs have been commissioned from five New York City writers (Migdalia Cruz, Maggie Dubris, Patricia Spears Jones, Kane Kandel and Imelda O’Reilly). Between songs, a Greek chorus of men recites “the yarns” written by historian Nancy Groce. The male chorus is comprised of Robert Collier Sublett (GONE MISSING, Actors Theatre of Louisville), Desean Terry (Juilliard School, 2004), Robert Besserer, Jr. (original dancer in Baryshnikov’s WHITE OAK DANCE PROJECT, and Obie Award 1987), Jason Postell Pringle (THE SEVEN at New York Theatre Workshop) and Charles Hendricks (Recipient, Laura Pels Award 2003).
Joining Philip Himberg, Producing Artistic Director of the Theatre Program, are dramaturgs Mame Hunt (lead dramaturg) and Otis Ramsey-Zöe (CenterStage, Baltimore). Additionally, dramaturg Shelby Jiggetts-Tivony (Disney Creative Entertainment) and playwright Doug Wright (I AM MY OWN WIFE and GREY GARDENS) will provide feedback during the final week of the workshop as Creative Advisors.
White Oak Foundation
The Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at White Oak is an extension of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program’s summer Theatre Lab focuses on supporting company-created work and innovative musical theatre. White Oak is located on a 7,500-acre property in Yulee, Florida. It was conceived by Howard Gilman as a sanctuary for animals, and a place of peaceful yet productive retreat for the people and activities he cared about. In 1982, Gilman established the White Oak Conservation Center on the property for the conservation and propagation of threatened and endangered species.
White Oak, which houses the Baryshnikov Dance Studio, has also hosted residencies by performing artists and dance companies; national and international conferences; and seminars and workshops directly related to the Foundation’s primary fields of interest: performing arts, wildlife conservation and cardiovascular research.
Sundance Institute Theatre Program
The Sundance Institute Theatre Program convenes the profession’s leading artists and most promising new talent with a range of offerings designed to provide a creative environment in which to develop new work with dramaturgs and full casts. The Theatre Lab at the Sundance Resort and the Playwrights Retreat at Ucross support playwrights and directors at different crucial points in the creative process, and the Theatre Lab at White Oak focuses on the development of new work in musical and ensemble theatre. More than 80% of Sundance-supported plays have gone on to be produced on stages in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe in the last ten years. Some of the past projects that have been supported by the Sundance Institute Theatre Program include Moisés Kaufman's THE LARAMIE PROJECT, Dael Orlandersmith's YELLOWMAN, and Doug Wright's I AM MY OWN WIFE, which was awarded the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2004 Tony Award for Best Play.
Other recent works developed at the Sundance Institute Theatre Labs include: SPRING AWAKENING (now in previews on Broadway) BLUE DOOR (recently on stage at Playwrights Horizons), PASSING STRANGE (recently at Berkeley Rep and at the Public Theatre in January), RIDICULOUS FRAUD (recently produced at South Coast Rep) and GREY GARDENS (currently running Broadway).
The Sundance Institute Theatre Program receives major support from The Leading National Theatres Program, a joint initiative of The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support for the Sundance Institute Theatre Program is provided by The National Endowment for the Arts; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; The Shubert Foundation; The Peter J. Sharp Foundation; The White Oak Foundation; The Ucross Foundation of Wyoming; California Institute for the Arts; the Kennedy Center 's American College Theatre Festival Program; and The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, in addition to the operating support provided to the Sundance Institute by many individuals, foundations, corporations and government agencies.
Dedicated year-round to the development of artists of independent vision and to the exhibition of their new work, Sundance Institute celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2006. Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, the Institute has grown into an internationally recognized resource for thousands of independent artists through its Sundance Film Festival and artistic development programs for filmmakers, screenwriters, composers, playwrights and theatre artists. The original values of independence, creative risk-taking, and discovery continue to define and guide the work of Sundance Institute, both with US artists and, increasingly, with artists from other regions of the world. The annual Sundance Film Festival, a major program of Sundance Institute, is held each January and is considered the premier showcase for American and international independent film. The Institute supports non-fiction filmmakers through the Documentary Film Program by providing year-round support through the Sundance Documentary Fund and a series of programs that nurture their growth, encourage the exploration of innovative nonfiction storytelling and promote the exhibition of documentary films to a broader audience. Through the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, the Institute is committed to invigorating the national theatre movement with original and creative work and to nurturing the diversity of artistic expression among theatre artists. The Institute also maintains The Sundance Collection at UCLA, a unique archive of independent film.