Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lorey Hayes’ Power Play castmembers Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Phynjuar, Lia Chang, playwright Lorey Hayes, and director Andre Robinson Featured on Aduke Aremu’s The Princess Chronicles Show on WXRP Radio

I am currently in rehearsals for Lorey Hayes’ Power Play with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Phynjuar, playwright Lorey Hayes, and director Andre Robinson for our four upcoming Celebrity Staged Concert Reading performances at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, which are scheduled from July 30 – August 1, 2013. On a break, last Wednesday, we chatted with Aduke Aremu on The Princess Chronicles Show on WXRP Radio.
Click here to listen to the show.

Celebrity Actress, Pauletta Pearson Washington returns home to North Carolina starring at 2013 National Black Theatre festival with Roscoe Orman (Sesame Street, Willie Dynamite) and all star cast in Lorey Hayes’ award-winning “Power Play”, a play about Politics, Passion and The Power of God.

 (L-R) Lorey Hayes, Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lia Chang, Phynjuar and Marcus Naylor will perform at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, for 4 Celebrity Stage Reading Performances of Lorey Hayes's Power Play, directed by André Robinson and produced by Voza Rivers/New Heritage Theatre Group.

(L-R) Lorey Hayes, Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lia Chang, Phynjuar and Marcus Naylor will perform at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, for 4 Celebrity Stage Reading Performances of Lorey Hayes’s Power Play, directed by André Robinson and produced by Voza Rivers/New Heritage Theatre Group.

Dynamic producing duo Executive Producer, Mr. Voza Rivers’ New Heritage Theatre and Ms. Debra Ann Byrd’s Take Wing And Soar will team up to bring Pauletta Pearson Washington (Star of Love, Loss, and What I Wore and wife of Mr. Denzel Washington – also a North Carolina Native) and Roscoe Orman (“Sesame Street”’s Gordon and star of Willie Dynamite) to the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C. for 4 Celebrity Staged Concert Reading Performances of Hayes’ POWER PLAY, a story about politics, passion and the power of God. Joining Washington and Orman in the cast are original cast members Lia Chang and Phynjuar, playwright Lorey Hayes and Marcus Naylor. The play is directed by Mr. André Robinson, producer/director of The Good Fellas of Baltimore and a producer at Belafonte Enterprises.
Lorey Hayes, Roscoe Orman, Pauletta Pearson Washington and Lia Chang. Photo by Andre Robinson

Lorey Hayes, Roscoe Orman, Pauletta Pearson Washington and Lia Chang. Photo by Andre Robinson

POWER PLAY will have 4 performances at Shirley Recital Hall at Salem College Fine Arts Center, Stadium Dr, Winston-Salem, NC, 27108, on Tuesday, July 30th at 8pm, Wednesday, July 31st at 3pm and 8pm, and Thursday, August 1st at 3pm.
Andre Robinson, Lorey Hayes, Harry Belafonte, Pauletta Pearson Washington and Roscoe Orman. Photo by Lia Chang

Andre Robinson, Lorey Hayes, Harry Belafonte, Pauletta Pearson Washington and Roscoe Orman. Photo by Lia Chang

POWER PLAY’s unique theater styled performance (Similar to Off Broadway’s hit play Love Letters), presented in October 2012, at New York’s Schomburg Center with producing partner City College was an overwhelming success, attracting sold out house and standing room only audiences.
Lia Chang as Carole Barbara and Roscoe Orman as Franklin Wright in Lorey Hayes' Power Play. Photo by Will Chang

Lia Chang as Carole Barbara and Roscoe Orman as Franklin Wright in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play. Photo by Will Chang

Senator Franklin Wright is living the American Dream. Propelled to political stardom by a campaign manager who is Asian American and female, he stands on the threshold of making history: becoming California’s first African-American Governor. Or does he? It is a question Franklin must answer when, as campaign front runner, he finds himself thrust in the midst of a scandal that threatens to ruin the election, his career, his marriage and forces him to make a life and death decision.
Roscoe Orman and Pauletta Pearson Washington. Photo by Lia Chang

Roscoe Orman and Pauletta Pearson Washington. Photo by Lia Chang

The chilling fact is: the scandal is based on a secret his wife has harbored for 17 years.

POWER PLAY is about the women behind this powerful man who find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of personal and political intrigue that threatens to destroy them all.

The play examines friendship, love integrity, public scrutiny and the question we still face today; What are we voting for? A candidate’s private life or the record of his or her accomplishments and the depths of his or her commitment?

With political scandal an everyday occurrence that continues to occupy front page news and the minds of our nation, the producers felt it was a great time to take a fresh look at POWER PLAY, a play about a candidate’s dilemma and unselfish decision that helps us examine the criteria by which we choose and elect our officials. “How will confession play with swing voters? How important is winning?” Will informed voters allow character assassinations to inform their decisions?

Lorey Hayes, Roscoe Orman and Pauletta Pearson Washington. Photo by Lia Chang

Lorey Hayes, Roscoe Orman and Pauletta Pearson Washington. Photo by Lia Chang

POWER PLAY is an uplifting, inspiring play that celebrates the integrity of Black Men and takes a positive look at the courageous women who live “behind the glory”. POWER PLAY received critical acclaim in its 1996 National Black Theatre Production, produced by Tunde Samuels and Van Woods (Sylvia’s Restaurant and Enterprises) directed by the late Dr. Barbara Ann Teer and Adunni, winning the Audelco Award for Best Play and again for its 2005 Billie Holiday Theatre Production with an extended run directed by Artistic Director Marjorie Moon; earning Lincoln Center Library’s honor of inclusion in their prestigious Bound Edition of “Highlights from the 2005 New York Theater Season”.

Dates: Tuesday, July 30th at 8pm
Wednesday, July 31st at 3pm and 8pm
Thursday, August 1st at 3pm

Shirley Recital Hall at Salem College Fine Arts Center
Stadium Dr
Winston-Salem, NC, 27108

Phone: 336-723-2266
Fax: 336-723-2223

POWER PLAY was first showcased as a reading by producer Voza Rivers in 1990 featuring: Hattie Winston (“Becker”), Denise Burse (“Tyler Perry’s House of Payne”), Lia Chang, Dean Irby and Iris Little and subsequently chosen to kick off the 1991 National Black Theatre Festival’s inaugural Midnight Reading Series. Lia Chang was part of the 1991 cast. 1991 is the same year Pauletta Pearson Washington’s husband (Denzel Washington) was honored and the year she gave birth to their twins. Lorey and Pauletta are both North Carolina natives and both Mrs. Washington’s Father and Ms. Hayes are Alumni of North Carolina A&T University. Hayes and Orman had the great fortune of performing together in John Henry directed by Morgan Freeman.

Lorey Hayes as Susan Bradley and Roscoe Orman as Franklin Wright in Lorey Hayes' Power Play. Photo by Will Chang

Lorey Hayes as Susan Bradley and Roscoe Orman as Franklin Wright in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play. Photo by Will Chang

Playwright Hayes goes on to say, “Though POWER PLAY was first showcased in 1990, it is still timely today. Fortunate for the production, but unfortunate for our country that a candidate’s election still hinges on public scrutiny of their private lives.” Scenes from POWER PLAY have been featured regularly in the CBS, Fox, and ABC Diversity Showcases by Ben Guillory and Danny Glover’s Robey Theatre.


Roscoe Orman

Roscoe Orman

ROSCOE ORMAN (Frank) Roscoe Orman’s film roles include the title role of Universal Pictures’ Willie Dynamite and also FX, Follow that Bird, Striking Distance, New Jersey Drive, Twilight’s Last Gleaming, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, 30 Days, Drive By, Jeremy Fink and The Meaning of Life. On television, he is best known for his many years as Gordon on “Sesame Street’ and has also been seen on : “Law and Order,” “Law and Order SVU,” “The Wire,” “Sex and the City,” “Kojak,” “A Man Called Hawk,” “All My Children” “Hard Time on Planet Earth, “Sanford and Son,” and “Cosby”. National Black Theatre Festival Audiences will remember Mr. Orman from his dynamic one man show Confessions of Stepin Fetchit and his performance in festival’s highlight production Do Lord Remember Me. Orman recently performed the role of Becker in August Wilson’s Jitney at Baltimore’s Murphy Fine Arts Center. A Bronx native, Orman was an early member of the Free Southern Theater in New Orleans and a founding member of Harlem’s New Lafayette Theatre, where he acted in and directed many plays, including Who’s Got His Own, We Righteous Bombers, The Duplex, The Devil Catchers, and The Fabulous Miss Marie. Additional stage work includes The Great MacDaddy, The Sirens, Every Night When The Sun Goes Down, The Last Street Play, Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, The Sixteenth Round, Driving Miss Daisy, Fences, The Talented Tenth and many others. He is a five time nominee and recipient of an Audelco Theatre Award for his performance in Do Lord Remember Me at Manhattan’s Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse. As a voiceover artist, Orman has narrated many audio books, commercials, and documentary films for PBS, Discovery Channel, ESPN, National Geographic, and others. He is the author of two books, his memoir, “Sesame Street Dad: Evolution of an Actor” which was published in 2006, and his children’s book “Ricky and Moho” (which he also illustrated) published in 2007. In 2008 Roscoe was named “Chief Storyteller’ and national spokesperson for Audible Kids, the nation’s leading provider of digitally downloaded children’s literature.

Pauletta Pearson Washington

Pauletta Pearson Washington

PAULETTA PEARSON WASHINGTON (Lou) Pauletta’s return to the stage after raising her children has been exciting and fulfilling. She has been blessed to work with Jule Styne, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Weber, to name a few. Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Alice Tulley Hall, The Ahmanson, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, on and Off-Broadway Theaters have been stages that Pauletta has performed and received highly acclaimed notices. Her studies include Juilliard, The North Carolina School of the Arts, and North Texas University. Her recent work includes Love, Loss ,and What I Wore, a limited presentation of Micki Grant’s Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope with Chapman Roberts. Pauletta just completed a run of Two Trains Running in Atlanta and prior to that: Regina Taylor’s Crowns at the Goodman Theatre. She is very excited to be a part of the production of POWER PLAY and share with a phenomenal cast of talent.
Lia Chang. Photo by Thom Sesma

Lia Chang. Photo by Thom Sesma

LIA CHANG (Carole Barbara) made her stage debut as Liat in the national tour of South Pacific with Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet, directed by Geraldine Fitzgerald, and last appeared onstage in Derek Walcott’s Marie Laveau at the Castillo Theatre (New Federal Theatre). She was featured as Sally and Joy in the Signature Theatre Company’s revival of Sam Shepard’s 1965 Obie award winning play, Chicago, directed by Joseph Chaikin at the Public Theatre. Off Broadway credits include: Jeff Weiss’ Obie Award winning Hot Keys (Naked Angels), Diana Son’s Raunchy Asian Women (Ohio Theatre), Lonnie Carter’s Gulliver opposite André De Shields ( La MaMa E.T.C.), The Confirmation (The Vineyard), Behind Closed Doors (MCC), Power Play (Billie Holiday Theatre), Marina Shron’s King of Rats at Soho Rep (New Georges), Two Gentlemen of Verona, Underground Soap, and Famine Plays (Cucaracha Theatre). Chang recently portrayed Sam Shikaze and Chuck Chan in readings of R.A. Shiomi’s Yellow Fever, with an all-female cast for Mu Performing Arts. Chang’s feature film credits include: Wolf, New Jack City, Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, and Taxman. Ms. Chang has had recurring roles as Nurse Lia on the daytime soap operas “One Life to Live” and “As the World Turns,” and guest starred on “New York Undercover”.

Lorey Hayes

Lorey Hayes

LOREY HAYES, PLAYWRIGHT is a Broadway, Television/Film Actress turned writer (an original cast member of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide). Hayes is a 2011 Princess Grace Playwright Finalist for Haiti’s Children of God, her play with music that enjoyed a critically acclaimed 2011 run in New York as a co-production between Mr. Voza River’s New Heritage Theatre Group (Broadway’s Sarafina and Asinamali) and Mr. Rudy Shaw’s Caribbean Arts Repertory. Ms. Hayes is also the proud recipient of a 2011 Harlem Arts Alliance Community Arts Fund Award to create a new historic play. The play created under this grant is Hell in a Hand Basket, the Unofficial Story of Condolezza Rice, recently read at Harlem’s Dwyer Cultural Center sponsored by Frank Silvera’s Writer’s Workshop. The Dragonfly Tale, co-written with Robert Crear is the winner of the 2007 Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s Southern Writer’s Project and a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill 2006 Playwright’s Conference from more than 800 entries. Several plays have enjoyed acclaimed productions. As an actress, Lorey Hayes (an original cast member of For Colored Girls) starred on Broadway with Melba Moore in the late A. Marcus Hemphill’s Inacent Black as well as in the Negro Ensemble Company’s production of Home. She starred in London, England at the Royal Shakespeare festival as Eunice Evans in Miss Ever’s Boys. A regular face on TV commercials, Hayes is featured in the film Dream Girls and has guest starred in numerous television shows; including “Judging Amy,” “Family Law,” “Sister, Sister” and “All My Children.” NBTF Festival Audiences saw Lorey perform her one woman show Little Lorey’s Song (about growing up in the one traffic light town of Wallace, North Carolina) in 2003. She returned with the two character Lipstick, Chilli, Grits and Grace in 2007 to sold out performances.
Marcus Naylor

Marcus Naylor

MARCUS NAYLOR (Jimmy Day) is a five time AUDELCO Nominee, and an Ira Aldridge Award Winner Los Angeles. Credits include: Fences (Denver Center,) Homage 3: ILLMATIC (Urban Stages) Cool Blues(B)Charlie Parker at (New Federal Theatre,) Requiem: Love Letters on Ripped Paper (The Joyce Theatre,) When the Chickens Came Home to Roost (NFT), Othello in Othello (NESE), Marc Antony in Julius Caesar (Shakespeare on the Sound), Waitin 2 End Hell (NFT), directed by Woodie King, Jr., Cave Dwellers (The Pearl Theatre Company), No Dogs (Primary Stages), Cast Me Down (Theatre Four), Malcolm X in The Meeting (Crossroads Theatre), True West (Lincoln Centers Clark Studio), Huey P. Newton in Servant of the People (JOMANDI Theatre), and Bobby in Rats directed by Al Pacino. Regional: Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Kennedy Center, Cincinatti Playhouse in The Park, The Cleveland Playhouse, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Arizona Theatre Company, Oakland Ensemble Theatre, Arena Stage, and Karamu House Alumnus. Televison and Film: Boardwalk Empire on HBO, Law and Order SVU, Without A Trace, Law and Order, Only in America, Retribution on Showtime, The Meeting: KTOP Oakland, Slings and Arrows on the Starz Network, Malcolm X, Soliloquy, The Assassin, and Reunion A Jazz Fantasy.


PHYNJUAR (PENWAH) (Fifi) is a two-time Audelco award winning actor, a Grammy nominated singer, a comedian, a music producer, a gifted lyricist, a music historian, a radio talk show personality and an original comedian from the world famous UPTOWN COMEDY CLUB…HARLEM……

Phynjuar hails from Boston, Massachusetts and is classically trained. She recently appeared in Naughty by Nature’s FLAG video as a distraught gang member’s mother, and is noted for her award-winning portrayal as Pearl Bailey in Cooking With Pearl at the Harlem Arts Theater. Her film work includes title roles in Yes Madame directed by Magaly Colimon, and Hush directed by Reg E. Gaines (Bring the Noise, Bring the Funk), as well as Manslaughter and Lavender. On television, she guest starred as Mitzi Monkhouse, the mother of Myra Monkhouse on “Family Matters,” and has appeared on “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns,” “The Cosby Show,” “A-List,” “100 Center Street,” “Unsung,” “Stars of Tomorrow Today,” and “Sister Talk”. At the age of fifteen, she appeared in the original Boston Broadway Company of Hair With Donna Summer at the Wilbur Theatre Boston. Her other theater credits include Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery (Vital Theater); For Colored Girls (American Theater); Testify (National Black Theatre); The Colored Museum directed by George C. Wolfe (City Center); Nothing But the Blues (Harlem Center Stage); Piano Bar (Inner City LA); Primitive World (Nuyorican Poets Café); C Above C above High (Nuyorican Poets Café); House on Fire (Theatre for the New City); and Tribes directed by George C. Wolfe (LA Theatre of the Arts). Phynjuar was the first female addition to super group Kool and the Gang; She has worked as a percussionist, vocalist and songwriter. Her voice can be heard in such classic recording as “Summer Madness” “Rhyme Tyme People” “Spirit of the Boogie” and Roy Ayres “Running Away”, in addition to countless television and radio voiceovers. She is also credited for discovering the likes of Wyclef Jean, world renowned visual artist Paul T Goodnight While grooming, raising and training “The Cosby Show” and “Family Matters” star Michelle Thomas, Phynjuar has traveled to all six continents and appeared in almost every major concert venue in the world.

Andre Robinson

Andre Robinson

ANDRÉ ROBINSON (Director) André Robinson has an extensive background as an actor, producer, director, executive producer, community activist, consultant, promoter, project manager and technical consultant on feature films, television and variety shows, Broadway and regional theatre plays and musicals, documentaries, concerts, conferences and other special events. He currently serves as a creative executive and producer for Belafonte Enterprises and executive producer of Carbon-Fibre Media, a graphic storytelling and new media production company. He produced and directed the reality series, “The Good fellas of Baltimore”; was associate producer of Friday (New Line Cinema); “Love and Action in Chicago” (HBO), technical director for Sony Music and executive director of the Black Filmmaker Foundation. Andre was also general manager of the art gallery and performance space, Linen Life Park Avenue and the production company, Favor International (Megafest); Executive Producer for Crossroads Theatre Company (It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues) and Artistic Director of The New Heritage Theatre in Harlem (Striver’s Row, Asinamali, Jonin’). He produced the Harlem Week Festival, the McDonald’s Gospelfest, the Rhythm and Blues Awards and many other live events and TV specials. Andre has produced and/or directed dozens of plays and musicals and continues to serve on several cultural organization and educational boards. He continues to consult for arts, community and cultural organizations around over the country.
Voza Rivers and Lorey Hayes. Photo by Lia Chang

Voza Rivers and Lorey Hayes. Photo by Lia Chang

VOZA RIVERS/NEW HERITAGE THEATRE GROUP (Executive Producer) is the oldest Black nonprofit theater company in New York City, originally established in 1964 by the late Roger Furman, a revered playwright, director, actor and lecturer who began his career in the 1940’s with the American Negro Theatre in Harlem. It was created to present entertaining, informative and quality productions and to preserve and institutionalize classic works of Black Theater. In 1983, Voza Rivers, an award winning music and theatre producer took over the company. Today, New Heritage Theatre Group serves the community through presentations of entertaining, informative and quality productions of performing arts events, stage readings, and documentary shorts and films. Through its umbrella organizations Impact Repertory Theatre, Furman Theatre Rep and New Heritage Films we reach out to the New York City and world community, giving training, exposure and experience to new and emerging artists. Our works reflect the historical, social, and political experiences of African and Latino descendants in America and abroad. We seek to bring attention to works by international writers, directors and performing artists who have achieved success in their respective country but lack exposure in the United States. Jamal Joseph serves as Artistic Director. Visit:
Debra Ann Byrd

Debra Ann Byrd

DEBRA ANN BYRD/TAKE WING AND SOAR PRODUCTIONS, INC. (Company Manager/Co- Producer) founded in 1999 by classically trained actress Debra Ann Byrd, is a women-led, New York State, 501c3 Professional Theatre Arts Corporation, dedicated to supporting women, youth and especially classically trained actors of color. In its brief history, TWAS has enjoyed many successes and is the 2009- 2010 recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award, presented in recognition of the theatre’s body of work in the community, audience development in Harlem – and in celebration of the International Exchange Program between TWAS and London’s Hackney Empire Theatre. Other TWAS honors include five AUDELCO Awards and 24 AUDELCO Award nominations for its mainstage productions of Richard III, The Darker Face of the Earth, Hamlet, Medea, King Lear, Pecong and Anthony and Cleopatra. Lorey Hayes’ Massinissa and the Tragedy of the House of Thunder (nominated for three Audelco Awards) was Take Wing And Soar’s 31st production and tenth main stage project, produced in conjunction with Mr. Voza Rivers’ New Heritage Theatre Group. For more information about Take Wing And Soar check out

Larry Leon Hamlin founded the National Black Theatre Festival® in 1989. His goal was to unite black theatre companies in America and ensure the survival of the genre into the next millennium. With the support of Dr. Maya Angelou, who served as the Festival’s first Chairperson, NBTF was born. The ’89 Festival offered 30 performances by 17 of America’s best professional black theatre companies. It attracted national and international media coverage. According to The New York Times, “the 1989 National Black Theatre Festival® was one of the most historic and culturally significant events in the history of black theatre and American theatre in general.” Over 10,000 people attended. It lived up to its theme: An International Celebration and Reunion of Spirit. The NBTF enables Black theatre professionals to express cultural values and perspectives inherent to the African Diaspora candidly, dramatically and powerfully. Staged components of the NBTF foster the creation and sharing of new works while educational components document and preserve the history and traditions of the genre. Intense week-long interactions focus on renewing their commitment to preserve professional Black theatre and to revitalize its genre. Held biennially, the NBTF attracts more than 65,000 people during the six-day event. The National Black Theatre Festival® (NBTF) is the international outreach program of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, founded by the late Larry Leon Hamlin in 1979. The Festival, which runs from July 29 – August 3, 2013, was also founded by Hamlin and has been held biennially since 1989.

Check out the Lorey Hayes’ POWER PLAY Facebook page and twitter @TweetPowerPlay.

Check out the official NBTF website for updates and schedules.

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