Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Project1Voice’s Multiple Staged Readings of Alice Childress’ Trouble in Mind features André De Shields, Peter Coyote, Roger Robinson, Leslie Uggams, LaChanze, John Mahoney, Bill Irwin, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Irma P. Hall on June 20

André De Shields Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields Photo by Lia Chang

From New York to Los Angeles on Monday, June 20, 2011, Project1Voice’s inaugural event –1 Voice, 1 Play, 1 Day will feature multiple staged readings of Alice Childress’ classic play Trouble in Mind. André De Shields, Leslie Uggams, LaChanze and Bill Irwin will appear in the New York reading directed by Charles Randolph‐Wright. Peter Coyote and John Mahoney are cast in the San Francisco and Chicago productions respectively. LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Roger Robinson are slated for the Los Angeles event while Irma P. Hall will head the cast in DeSoto, TX. Petronia Paley will direct the reading at Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ.

Project1Voice, founded by New York‐based actor/producer Erich McMillan McCall (Chicago, The Who’sTommy) is an organization created to preserve the legacy of African‐American theatres and playwrights.

1Voice, 1Play, 1Day is a national day of celebration that not only honors the late great playwright’s seminal work, but also highlights African‐American theatre companies that are struggling for their very existence.

Written in 1955, TROUBLE IN MIND is a powerfully incendiary and satiric drama based on the conflict of not compromising one’s artistic integrity. This play within a play follows the journey of a mixed‐raced cast in 1957 as they embark upon rehearsals for a racially charged play. Childress shows the actors’ complaints, directors’ frustration and even with the well‐meaning efforts of theater professionals to overcome their racial feelings. As the play unfolds each character is revealed, along with their cavalier approach to the scripts they hold. There is so much humor that the playwright’s theme within the theme will leave today’s modern audience marveling at how insightful and fresh the play feels today. Trouble in Mind was scheduled to make it to Broadway before A Raisin in the Sun. However the project was shelved when Childress refused to make the ending more upbeat and therefore more palatable for white audiences. The play has still to today, never gone to Broadway. In addition to featuring nationally renowned artists, the 1Voice, 1Play, 1Day readings of Trouble in Mind will also showcase the talents of local actors at eighteen (18) participating theatres in the following cities:

New York, NY
Theatres: American Performing Arts Collaborative, New Federal Theatre, New Professional Theatre,
The Billie Holiday Theatre, Negro Ensemble Company
Cast: Andre De Shields, Bill Irwin, La Chanze, Justine Lupe‐Schomp, Malachy McCourt, Tim McGeever, Alano Miller, Don Stephenson, Leslie Uggams.
Director: Charles Randolph‐Wright
Venue: American Airlines Theatre, 227 West 42nd Street, between 8th and Broadway.
Time: 8:00 pm
Tickets: $50 Orchestra $25 Mezzanine.,or 866-811-4111
For more information: 646-409-5175.

New Brunswick, NJ
Theatre: Crossroads Theatre Company
Cast: TBA
Director: Petronia Paley
Venue: Crossroads Theatre Company, 7 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ
Time: 8:00 PM
Tickets: TBA
For more information: 732‐545‐8100

Philadelphia, PA
Theatre: Freedom Theatre.
Dr. Kimmika Williams‐Witherspoon, poet, playwright and Associate Professor of Theatre at Temple University will host the evening.
Cast: CeCelia Birt, Mets Suber, Lee Colston, Cathy Simpson, Brian Wilson, Amanda Schoonover, Tom McCarthy, Peter Pryor, Michael J. Pastorok, Fatimah Ali
Venue: Freedom Theatre, 1346 North Broad Street
Time: 8:00 pm
Tickets: $20 General Admission; $10 Students with ID. , 215‐978‐8497
Box Office –Hours: Tues‐Fri , 12 noon to 6pm.
For more information: 215‐765‐2793

Pittsburgh, PA
Theatre: Kuntu Repertory Theatre at the University of Pittsburgh
Details TBA

Washington, DC
Theatre: African Continuum Theatre Company with assistance from Howard University
Cast: Jewell Robinson, David Berkenbelt, Nickolas Vaughn, Lolita Clayton, Thomas Howell, Laura GodfreyDunlop, Michael Kramer, Joshua Morgan, Jim Esptein
Director: Shirley Basfield Dunlap
Venue: Howard University Ira Aldridge Theatre, 2455 6th Street, NW
Time: 8:00pm
Tickets: $15.00
For more information: 202‐529‐5763

Cleveland, OH
Theatre: Rainey Institute in association with Karamu House
Cast: Conni Blair, Peter Lawson Jones, Mariama Whyte, Antuane Rogers, Skip Corris, Brian Pedaci, George Roth, Hannah Stofan, Anthony Nickerson
Director: Dale Ricardo Shields
Venue: Debra Ann November Theater at Rainey Institute 1705 E. 55th Street
Time: 7:00pm TALK BACK after performance
Tickets: $35.00
For more information: 216‐881‐1766

Chicago, IL
Theatre: Congo Square Theatre Company.
This reading of Trouble in Mind is the center piece of its anniversary celebration.
Cast: TarRon Patton, Alfred Wilson, Anthony Irons, Ericka Ratcliff, Aaron Todd Douglas, Katie Jeep, Jonathan Weir, Shawn Douglass, Danny Goldring, John Mahoney
Director: Ann Joseph Douglass
Venue: Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, 777 N. Green
Time: Reception ‐ 6:00pm, Reading – 8:00pm
Tickets: $100 – 773‐296‐0830
For more information: 773‐296‐0830,
Milwaukee, WI
Theatre: Uprooted with assistance from Youngblood Theatre Company
Cast: Sherry Williams‐Panell, Bobby Spencer, Keantre Gill, Tiffany Cox, Allen Edge, T. Stacy Hicks, Andrew
Voss, John Kishline, Stage Directions: Michael Coty
Director: Marti Gobel
Venue: Ten Chimneys South 43, West 31575 Genesee,Wisconsin
Time: TBA
Tickets: TBA
For more information: or
Phone- 262‐968‐4110

Birmingham, AL
Theatre: Aldridge Repertory Theatre
Cast: Tommie “Tonea” Stewart, John Mark Magaha, Yvette Jones‐Smedley, Amanda Graham, Neil David
Siebel, Dane Peterson, Rodney Clark
Venue: Virginia Samford Theatre, 1116 26th Street, South
Time: 8:00 pm
Tickets: TBA
For more information: 205-538-1828

Dallas, TX
Theatre: African American Repertory Theater
Cast: Irma P. Hall, Willie Minor, Vince Davis, Jack O’Donnell, Shucky Ducky, Christopher
Piper, Yolanda Williams, Emily Wood Bowron
Venue: Black Academy of Arts and Letters nn650 S. Griffin Street Dallas, Texas 75202
(At the corner of Canton and Akard Streets)
Time: 8:00 PM
Tickets: $10 – $50
For more information: 972‐572‐0998

Fort Worth, TX
Theatre: Jubilee Theatre
Cast: Barbara Woods, Lloyd Barnes, Altie Jenkins, Stormi Demerson,Douglas Carter, Alicia Miller, David
Ellis,Michael Raines,Bob Allen
Venue: 506 Main Street, Fort Worth, Texas
Details: 817‐338‐4411

Houston, TX
Theatre: The Ensemble Theatre
Cast: Brenda Wilson, Kendrick Brown, Cynthia Brown, Ron Jones, Paul Drake, Wayne DeHart, Bob Morgan.
Director: Wayne DeHart
Venue: The Ensemble Theatre, 3535 Main Street
Tickets: TBA
For more information: 713‐520‐0055

Los Angeles, CA
Theatre: Ebony Repertory Theatre
Cast: LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Roger Robinson, Leslie Odom Jr.
Venue: Nate Holden Performing Arts Center 4718 W. Washington Blvd
San Francisco, CA
Theatre: Lorraine Hansberry Theatre
Cast: Margo Hall, Geoff Hoyle, Tobie Windom, Alan Taylor, Peter Coyote.
Director: Steven Anthony Jones
Venue: Zeum Theater in Children’s Museum at Yerba Buena Gardens
Time: TBA
Tickets: TBA
For more information: 415‐345‐3980

About the playwright
Born in Charleston, SC in 1912 and raised in Harlem, playwright Alice Childress began her career as an actress with the American Negro Theatre. She wrote over 17 plays including Florence, Gold Through The Trees, Wine in the Wilderness, Trouble In Mind, Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story In Black And White and Let’s Hear It For The Queen. For a brief period Childress expanded her writing from plays to novels. She wrote three children’s novels, A Hero Ain’t Nothing but a Sandwich, which was made into a film in 1978, Rainbow Jordan and Those other People. After a lifetime of giving the American Theatre work grounded in social justice that offered authentic portraits of African Americans, particularly African American women, Childress died of cancer in 1994. (Permission to perform Trouble in Mind is granted by Flora Roberts, Inc. 275 Seventh Ave. New York,
NY 10001).

For more information about Project1Voice; 1Voice, 1Play, 1Day; Trouble in Mind and Alice Childress visit

Articles on Andre De Shields:
André De Shields in Charles Smith’s The Gospel According to James at the Victory Gardens Biograph through June 12
André De Shields set for Chicago Premiere of Charles Smith’s The Gospel According to James at the Victory Gardens Biograph
Photos: De Shields, McClendon, Elisa, Glasco, Nemser, Phillips, Thompson at The Sovereign State of Boogedy Boogedy Reading
Spend Valentine’s Day with André De Shields in The Sovereign State of Boogedy Boogedy at the Abingdon Theatre
André De Shields and Charlayne Woodard are featured in Red Bull Theater’s Off Broadway Production of The Witch of Edmonton
André De Shields leads cast of Charles Smith’s Knock Me A Kiss at Abrons Arts Center
Andre Dé Shields is having a Devilishly Good Time in Damn Yankees at The John W. Engeman Theater at Northport
Photos of André De Shields in Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance
Achieving the American Dream, Professional Charmer Andre De Shields Sees Theater is a Way to Life
André De Shields Celebrates Black History Month Starring in The Working Theater’s Production of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory at The Abingdon in February 2010
Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe, MTC’s Ruined are Top Winners at 2009 Audelcos
Multimedia: Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe Opening Night Party Photos
Multimedia: Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe
André De Shields and Reg E. Cathey Star in Cato at The Flea
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

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. Lia currently plays Nurse Lia on “One Life to Live”. She has appeared in Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and “New York Undercover”.

Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are 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.

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