Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Denise Burse and Peter Jay Fernandez Featured in INTAR Reading of Andrew Dolan’s The Many Mistresses of Martin Luther King, 9/21-22

Photo by Lia Chang

Photo by Lia Chang

Denise Burse, Francesca Choy-Kee, Ato Essandoh, Peter Jay Fernandez and Andrew Dolan are featured in the TWILIGHT THEATRE COMPANY’s workshop reading of The Many Mistresses of Martin Luther King, a new play by Andrew Dolan, directed by Sturgis Warner, at INTAR, 500 West 52nd St., 4th fl. in New York, on September 21 & 22 at 7pm.

Set in a university town, Andrew Dolan’s darkly humorous play, The Many Mistresses of Martin Luther King, tells the story of a modern American family of mixed races and second wives, with all its attendant politics, both academic and racial.

Andrew Dolan

Andrew Dolan

Andrew Dolan is an actor who, aside from his many television and film roles, has performed On and Off Broadway, at the National Theatre in London and in many regional theatres (including 5 seasons as an ACT company member). His first play, That Good Night, was read at New York Stage & Film with a cast that included Reg Rogers, Marin Ireland and Mary Beth Piel. His baseball play 04: A Muse of Fire premiered last March at Mile Square Theatre’s 7th Inning Stretch Festival. He has sold two screenplays and is presently developing several television projects. He is a graduate of Bowdoin College and the American Conservatory Theatre.

Denise Burse is best known for her role as Claretha Jenkins on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, the 2011 NAACP Award recipient for Outstanding Comedy Series. She can be seen in Bruce Beresford’s Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding, a new film starring Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Catherine Keener, Chase Crawford and Kyle MacLachlan. Her favorite film roles include her co-starring turns as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s mother opposite Howard Rollins in The Boy King (WSB); as Buster Marshall, Thurgood Marshall’s wife in Simple Justice (PBS American Experience); as Sister Marcie in Preaching to the Choir, directed by Charles Randolph Wright, as Sergeant Martin in A Time to Triumph (CBS) starring Patty Duke; and as Eleanor Clark in Resting Place (CBS, Hallmark Hall of Fame), starring John Lithgow and Morgan Freeman. Other film and TV credits include the BET/STARZ movie Funny Valentines, with Alfre Woodard and Loretta Devine, Angel, Basquiat, The Juror, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Third Watch, 100 Centre Street, The Sopranos, The Cosby Show, New York Undercover and One Life to Live. Ms. Burse appeared on Broadway in Wendy Wasserstein’s An American Daughter, directed by Daniel Sullivan. Her Off-Broadway credits include Eisa Davis’ Angela’s Mixtape (Ohio Theatre), Don Juan of Seville (Classical Stage Company), Ground People (American Place Theatre), Harriet’s Return (Cherry Lane Theatre), Hannah Davis (Negro Ensemble Company) and Bill Harris’ Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil (New Federal Theatre). Her regional credits include Pearl Cleage’s Flyin’ West with Ruby Dee at The Kennedy Center; Charles Randolph Wright’s Blue (Cincinnati Playhouse, Geva); Miss Evers’ Boys (Illusion Theater); African Company Presents Richard III (Cleveland Playhouse); Fences (CENTERSTAGE); The Piano Lesson (Seattle Repertory Theatre, director Lloyd Richards) and James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner (True Colors Theatre Company/Alliance Theatre). Helmer Kenny Leon has directed her in August Wilson’s Radio Golf (CENTERSTAGE, Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Repertory Theatre), The Piano Lesson and Seven Guitars (Alliance Theatre). Ms. Burse garnered a Theatre World Award for her Off-Broadway debut in Ground People and an AUDELCO Award for Robert Johnson: Trick The Devil. A native of Atlanta, Ms. Burse honed her craft performing at the Just Us Theatre, The Alliance Theatre and The Atlanta Children’s Theater.

Peter Jay Fernandez

Peter Jay Fernandez

Peter Jay Fernandez recently appeared in the world premiere of Yussef El Guindi’s Language Rooms at The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. Broadway: Cyrano De Bergerac; Julius Caesar; Henry IV; Jelly’s Last Jam; The Merchant Of Venice. Off Broadway: Too Much Memory ( Fourth St. Theater); Zooman and the Sign (Signature); The Pain and The Itch (Playwrights Horizons); Thunder Knocking On The Door ( Minetta Lane); As You Like It, Coriolanus, Winter’s Tale, Henry VIII, Spell# 7 (Public); Widowers’ Houses (Epic); Checkmates (New Federal), and more. Regional: Arena, Longwharf, Hartford Stage, McCarter, Goodman, Old Globe, Seattle Rep, Williamstown, Alliance, Milwaukee Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse,Geva,and more. His television and film credits include Deception, Preaching To The Choir, Funny Valentines, Fringe, Damages, Law and Order(s), Hackand Cosby . He can currently be seen with Justin Timberlake in the Sony VAIO vs. the Media Monster Commercial Spots.

Email to rsvp for the reading.
Other Articles by this Author:
BD Wong and Adam Gwon Set to Headline CACF Benefit on October 4
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Signs Fred Korematsu Day Bill, Bill Establishes January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution
Multimedia-Photos and Video: Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas- In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
Crafting a Career
Norman Y. Mineta: A Boy from San Jose by E. Samantha Cheng, screens at National Portrait Gallery
Photo Call: BD Wong and the Cast of Heading East at the Asia Society
Multimedia: Promises, Promises’ Stars Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
Multimedia: The 52nd Street Project Benefit Photos: Michael Cerveris, James Monroe Inglehart, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Matthew Morrison, Greg Naughton and Kelli O’Hara
Making the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution Bill a Reality
Photos by Lia Chang at the Shanghai World Expo 2010’s USA Pavilion, Library of Congress and Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection in L.A.
Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection Exhibition at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles, has been extended through November 7, 2010
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

Photo by Lia Chang

Photo by Lia Chang

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

This year, selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space will become part of newly created LIA CHANG THEATER 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, VIBE, 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.

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