Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays Part 1 & 2 at the Public Theater through 12/13

The Public Theater is presenting the world premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s THE BROTHER/SISTER PLAYS PART 1 & PART 2, with performances through December 13. McCraney, one of America’s most acclaimed young writers, returns to The Public to complete his trilogy following the success of The Brothers Size in 2007. Tina Landau is the director for In The Red and Brown Water and Robert O’Hara is the director for The Brothers Size and Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet.

The three plays are being presented as two separate shows to be enjoyed independently, in any order, or experienced together. Marathon performances are scheduled for weekends so audiences can experience all three plays in one day.

Tarell Alvin McCraney’s trilogy is a collection of modern-day stories of kinship, love, heartache and coming-of-age centered around an extended family and community in the Bayou. Winner of the inaugural New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, McCraney’s stories traverse the gritty and lyrical, urban and mythic.

The cast for THE BROTHER/SISTER PLAYS features Sterling K. Brown as Shango/Shua; Kimberly Hébert Gregory as Aunt Elegua/Shun; Brian Tyree Henry as Egungun/Oshoosi/Tarell; Andre Holland as Elegba/Marcus; Marc Damon Johnson as Ogun; Sean Allen Krill as O Li Roon / Man From State; Nikiya Mathis as Shun/Shaunta Iyun; Kianné Muschett as Oya/Osha; and Heather Alicia Simms as Nia/Mama Moja/Oba.

THE BROTHER/SISTER PLAYS features scenic design by James Schuette; costume design by Karen Perry; lighting design by Peter Kaczorowski; and sound design by Lindsay Jones.

TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY (Playwright) is the author of the Brother/Sister Plays The Brothers Size, In the Red and Brown Water, and Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet – which have been produced at The Public, Studio Theater, Abbey Theatre (Dublin), Foundry Theater, the McCarter Theater, the Young Vic, and Alliance Theater. His other works include The Breach (Southern Rep. Theater New Orleans, Seattle Rep.), Wig Out! (The Vineyard, Sundance Summer Theater Institute), Without/Sin (Yale Cabaret), Run Mourner, Run (Yale Cabaret), and A Taurian Tale (52nd Street Project). McCraney is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and has been honored with the 2009 Steinberg Playwright Award, Cole Porter Award, Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, Whiting Writing Award, Outstanding Achievement by an Affiliate Theater Olivier Award nomination, residency at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Hodder Fellowship at Lewis Center for the Arts, and a seven-year residency at New Dramatists in New York.

TINA LANDAU (Director) returns to The Public following the acclaimed production of Space, which she wrote and directed. Her Broadway directing credits include the current production of Tracy Letts’s Superior Donuts and the 2001 revival of Bells Are Ringing. Her off-Broadway credits include Wig Out! (Vineyard), Iphigenia 2.0 (Signature), Mary Rose (Vineyard), Miracle Brothers (Vineyard), Saturn Returns (The Public), and Cloud Tectonics (Playwrights Horizons). She wrote the book and lyrics for Dream True: My Life With Vernon Dixon (Vineyard) and Floyd Collins (Playwrights Horizons), which she also directed.

ROBERT O’HARA (Director) wrote and directed Insurrection: Holding History at The Public in 1996, which won the Oppenheimer Award for Best New American Play. In 2006, he received an OBIE Award for his direction of In The Continuum; in addition, he has been awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship, TCG Extended Collaboration Grant, NEA/TCG Fellowship, a Van Lier Fellowship, the Mark Taper Forum’s Sherwood Award, and the TANNIE Award for Exceptional Body of Work. He has been an artist-in-residence at the American Conservatory Theater and Theater/Emory as well as a Visiting Professor at DePaul University School of the Arts, Mark Taper Forum, National Endowment of the Arts, McCarter Theater, Theatres de Nimes, Le Theatre L’odeon, and Theaterworks/USA.

STERLING K. BROWN (Shango/Shua). His off-Broadway credits include Macbeth (The Public, 2006) and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (National Actors Theatre). Regional credits include Intimate Apparel (Guthrie Theatre); Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Westport Playhouse); Topdog/Underdog (Hangar Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (McCarter Theatre); and Much Ado About Nothing (Berkeley Rep).

KIMBERLY HÉBERT GREGORY (Aunt Elegua/Shun). Her regional theater credits include Amen Corner (Goodman), Nickel and Dimed (Steppenwolf), Waiting to be Invited (Victory Gardens Theater) and Julius Caesar (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). In addition to regional work, she played the role of Shenzi in the national tour of Disney’s The Lion King. Her TV and film credits include I Think I Love My Wife, “Gossip Girl,” New Amsterdam, and “The Black Donnellys.”

BRIAN TYREE HENRY (Egungun/Oshoosi/Tarell) recently appeared in the world premiere of Paula Vogel’s A Civil War Christmas (Long Wharf). He played Oshoosi Size in the world premiere of The Brothers Size at The Public Theater and Studio Theatre and recently toured with the play to the Abbey Theatre (Dublin). Additional theater credits include Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet (The Public), Marcus G. in the world premiere of Marcus Gardley’s Dance of the Holy Ghost (Yale Rep), and Sterling in Radio Golf (Yale Rep).

ANDRE HOLLAND (Elegba/Marcus) recently played Eric in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Wig Out! at the Vineyard Theater. His other New York theater credits include Tempest Tossed at Classic Stage, Blue Door at Playwrights Horizons, and As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare in the Park.

MARC DAMON JOHNSON (Ogun) last appeared at The Public in the world premiere of John Belluso’s The Poor Itch. He played Bronson in the world premiere of Paula Vogel’s A Civil War Christmas at Long Wharf and earned a Drama League nomination for his performance in Mr. Fox: A Rumination at Signature Theater Company. He played Ogun Size in the Abbey Theatre’s production of The Brothers Size and appeared at Shakespeare in the Park in Measure for Measure and Two Gentlemen of Verona.

SEAN ALLEN KRILL (O Li Roon/Man From State) recently starred on Broadway and on tour as Sam Carmichael in the hit musical Mamma Mia! (Outstanding Leading Actor Award, His regional credits include Sunday in the Park With George, The Comedy of Errors, and Brigadoon. Krill is a recipient of the Lily Tomlin Scholarship for Theatre.

NIKIYA MATHIS (Shun/Shaunta Iyun) originated the role of Maima in Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed at the 2009 IN-Festival (McCarter). A 2008 graduate of NYU’s Graduate Acting Program, her favorite credits include The Glass Menagerie, The Continuum Company’s Romeo & Juliet, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Sparkle: the Musical, and The Bluest Eye.

KIANNÉ MUSCHETT (Oya/Osha). Recent stage roles include Inez in Our Lady of 121st Street, the title role in Ella, and T-Anne/Andwyneth in Anton in Show Business. Her TV and film credits include “Guiding Light,” “One Life to Live,” The Forgotten Ones, and Tricks.

HEATHER ALICIA SIMMS (Nia/Mama Moja/Oba) appeared on Broadway in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, A Raisin in the Sun, and Gem of the Ocean and off-Broadway in The Exonerated, Insurrection: Holding History, and Breath, Boom. Her regional credits include The Kennedy Center, Alliance, Denver Center, The O’Neill, Sundance Institute Theater Lab in Residence at The Public Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse, Missouri Rep, Stamford Theatre Works, and New York Stage and Film.

THE PUBLIC THEATER (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Andrew D. Hamingson, Executive Director) was founded by Joseph Papp in 1954 and is now one of the nation’s preeminent cultural institutions, producing new plays, musicals, and productions of classics at its downtown and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The Public’s mandate to create a theater for all New Yorkers continues to this day onstage and through extensive outreach and education programs. Each year, over 250,000 people attend Public Theater-related productions and events at six downtown stages, including Joe’s Pub, and Shakespeare in the Park. The Public has won 42 Tony Awards, 149 Obies, 40 Drama Desk Awards and four Pulitzer Prizes. The Public has brought 52 shows to Broadway, including Sticks and Bones; That Championship Season; A Chorus Line; The Pirates of Penzance; The Tempest; Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk; On the Town; The Ride Down Mt. Morgan; Topdog/Underdog; Elaine Stritch at Liberty; Take Me Out; Caroline, or Change; Well; Passing Strange; and, most recently, the current Tony Award-winning revival of Hair.

The performance schedule varies; please check for the most up-to-date information. The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street. Tickets are $60 for all performances with the exception of Saturday evening tickets, which are $70.

Subject to availability, $20 Rush Standby tickets will be sold 60 minutes before each performance at the Public Theater Box Office. The number of tickets varies from performance to performance. Limit two tickets per person. Cash only.

Subject to availability, $25 Student Tickets can be purchased in advance at the box office for every Public Theater performance on sale to the general public. Must have a valid student ID at the time of purchase. Limit one ticket per person. Cash only.

To purchase tickets, please call (212) 967-7555 or visit

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Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and a multimedia journalist. 


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