Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre Presents Month Long Reading Series of Great Black Plays and Playwrights

New Federal Theatre producer Woodie King, Jr. Photo by Lia Chang

New Federal Theatre producer Woodie King, Jr. Photo by Lia Chang

In June, Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre is presenting a month-long reading series of great Black plays by great Black playwrights, running every Friday through Monday, at the Castillo Theatre and the National Black Theatre in New York. This ground breaking series features many of Black theatre’s most popular and poignant dramas, which have gone on to acclaimed success on other stages and won numerous awards.

Two Pulitzer Prize winning plays, Topdog/UnderDog (2002), an allegory by Suzan Lori Parks about competing brothers and No Place to Be Somebody (1970), by Charles Gordone, are on the series bill.

The first weekend features Ntozake Shange’s phenomenal choreopoem, For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. This play went on to Broadway, garnered many awards and was adapted into a film. The award-winning actress from the original and Broadway productions, Trezana Beverly, will direct the reading. Also running the first weekend is James deJongh’s Do Lord Remember Me, a musical extravaganza chronicling 400 years of trials and tribulations endured by African-American slaves. This reading will be directed by Reggie Life.

Other plays that will be read are: A Recent Killing by Amiri Baraka, Crumbs from the Table of Joy by Lynn Nottage, In the Wine Time by Ed Bullins, The Amen Corner by James Baldwin, Black Girl by j.e. Franklin, Flyin’ West by Pearl Cleage and Ceremonies in Dark Old Men by Lonne Elder. Some of the other renowned playwrights represented in the varied and diverse line up are Phillip Hayes Dean, Richard Wesley, Bill Harris, Alice Childress, Wesley Brown, and Laurence Holder. Directors participating in the series include TalvinWilks, Clinton Turner Davis, Dean Irby, Elizabeth Van Dyke, Nathan George, Marjorie Moon, and Reggie Life. The plays will be read by illustrious casts of actors.

Half of the readings will take place Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Castillo Theatre, located at 543 West 42nd Street. The other half will be read at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sundays and at 7:30 p.m. on Mondays at National Black Theatre located at 2031 Fifth Avenue. The readings will be held throughout the month of June, 2010.

Tickets are available at (866-811-4111)
Each Play Reading $10.00/New Federal Theatre Members admitted Free by presenting their membership card.
For further information call: 212-353-1176 or visit the New Federal Theatre Website for a complete schedule.

This Series is funded in part by New York State Council on the Arts; NYC Department of Cultural Affairs/New York City Council Committee, James Van Bramer. Chairman; American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; Lucille Lortel Foundation; Shubert Foundation; Louis & Anne Abrons Foundation; Newmans Own Foundation; and contributions from other corporations, foundations and individuals.

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Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden.

Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are now in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.

Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre,, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle,,,,,, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Juicy Buns at Ollie’s
The Dish on Susur Lee and Shang
A night out with Gordana Rashovich, Flora Goforth in The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore
André De Shields Set for World Premiere of Charles Smith’s The Gospel According to James at Indiana Rep, 3/22-4/10
Photos: A.B. Cruz III and Lillian Kimura Receive 2011 AALDEF Justice in Action Awards
Photos of Lion Dancers in Los Angeles Chinatown
Photos: Chinese New Year Festival at The Huntington in San Marino
Andy Warhol, Romare Bearden, Alexander Calder, Lia Chang in Art & Healing Exhibit at Snug Harbor on SI
My Empire State Building at Dusk on view in HHC’s “Art and Healing-Healthy for the Holidays” Art Exhibit
STORIES FROM CHINESE AMERICA: The Arthur Dong Collection, Vol. 2 as 4 disc DVD Box Set
<Lunch at The Modern, A Stroll Through The Conservatory Garden in Central Park
Cherry Blossoms, Magnolias, Tulips and Narcissus at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Spring in New York is a Veritable Color Riot
Sloan Robinson in Bananas: A Theatre Cabaret Based on the Life of Josephine Baker at The Schomburg
Vanessa Rubin in Yesterdays: An Evening with Billie Holiday at National Black Theatre
Elizabeth Van Dyke Stars in Love to All, Lorraine at Dwyer Cultural Center
The River Crosses Rivers Opening Night Photos
New Federal Theatre founder and director Woodie King receives award for community service in communications arts from Howard University’s John H. Johnson School of Communications
Andre De Shields receives Living Legend Award at the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival
Photo Call: Derek Walcott’s Marie Laveau
Dionne Warwick and Woodie King Jr. honored by AMAS Musical Theatre in New York
Celebrating Woodie King
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

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