Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang Photos: Opening Night of Will Power’s Fetch Clay, Make Man with John Earl Jelks, Richard Masur, Nikki M. James, K. Todd Freeman, Ray Fisher

New York Theatre Workshop. Photo by Lia Chang

New York Theatre Workshop. Photo by Lia Chang

Opening night audience for Fetch Clay, Make Man at New York Theatre Workshop on September 12, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Opening night audience for Fetch Clay, Make Man at New York Theatre Workshop on September 12, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

New York Theatre Workshop’s (NYTW) smart and elegant production of Will Power’s Fetch Clay, Make Man, helmed by Two-time Tony award winner Des McAnuff (The Who’s Tommy, Jersey Boys) opened to thunderous applause and standing ovations on Thursday, September 12, 2013, in New York’s East Village.
4-Fetch Clay, Make Man_Photo by Lia Chang (2)

The cast of Fetch Clay, Make Man: Anthony Gaskins, Ray Fisher, Nikki M. James, Richard Masur, K.Todd Freeman, Jeremy Tardy and  John Earl Jelks. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast of Fetch Clay, Make Man: Anthony Gaskins, Ray Fisher, Nikki M. James, Richard Masur, K.Todd Freeman, Jeremy Tardy and John Earl Jelks. Photo by Lia Chang

Ray Fisher and K. Todd Freeman. Photo by Lia Chang

Ray Fisher and K. Todd Freeman. Photo by Lia Chang

The play stars Ray Fisher as Muhammad Ali, Tony Award nominee K. Todd Freeman (The Song of Jacob Zulu) as Stepin Fetchit, Tony Award nominee John Earl Jelks (Radio Golf) as Brother Rashid, Tony Award winner Nikki M. James (The Book of Morman) as Sonji Clay, Richard Masur (Lucky Guy) as William Fox, Anthony Gaskins as Brother Jacob X, and Jeremy Tardy as Brother David X.

Michael Olajide Jr., Anthony Gaskins, Ray Fisher, Justin Ellington, Nikki M. James, Will Power, Des McAnuff, Richard Masur, K. Todd Freeman, Jeremy Tardy and John Earl Jelks. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael Olajide Jr., Anthony Gaskins, Ray Fisher, Justin Ellington, Nikki M. James, Will Power, Des McAnuff, Richard Masur, K. Todd Freeman, Jeremy Tardy and John Earl Jelks. Photo by Lia Chang

Fetch Clay, Make Man began previews on August 23 at NYTW, 79 East 4 Street, between Bowery and Second Avenue in New York. Fetch Clay, Make Man is scheduled to run through Sunday, October 13.

Richard Masur, Des McAnuff and John Earl Jelks. Photo by Lia Chang

Richard Masur, Des McAnuff and John Earl Jelks. Photo by Lia Chang

John Earl Jelks, Ray Fisher and K. Todd Freeman. Photo by Lia Chang

John Earl Jelks, Ray Fisher and K. Todd Freeman. Photo by Lia Chang

 

Will Power and Mara Isaacs. Photo by Lia Chang

Will Power and Mara Isaacs. Photo by Lia Chang

In the days leading up to one of Cassius Clay’s most anticipated fights, the heavyweight boxing champion forms an unlikely friendship with the controversial Hollywood star Stepin Fetchit. With a script by award-winning performer and playwright Will Power, who received rave reviews for his plays Flow and The Seven at NYTW, Fetch Clay, Make Man explores the improbable bond that forms between two drastically different and influential cultural icons. One a vibrant and audacious youth, the other a resentful and almost forgotten relic, they fight together to form their public personas and shape their legacies amidst the struggle of the civil rights movement of the mid-1960s. This true story is as powerful and poetic as Clay himself while also humorous and irreverent like Fetchit’s signature act. Finding commonality in contradiction, Fetch Clay, Make Man examines the true meanings of strength, resilience, and pride.

Nikki M. James, John Earl Jelks, Ray Fisher and Will Power. Photo by Lia Chang

Nikki M. James, John Earl Jelks, Ray Fisher and Will Power. Photo by Lia Chang

The scenic design for Fetch Clay, Make Man is by Riccardo Hernandez; costume design is by Paul Tazewell; lighting design is by Howell Binkley; projection design is by Peter Nigrini, soundscape is by Darron L West; original music is by Justin Ellington; the production stage manager is Megan Smith. The boxing consultant is former boxing champion Michael Olajide, Jr.

Julius Ellington, Michael Olajide Jr., Will Power and Des McAnuff.  Photo by Lia Chang

Julius Ellington, Michael Olajide Jr., Will Power and Des McAnuff. Photo by Lia Chang

Fetch Clay, Make Man plays at New York Theatre Workshop, 79 East 4th Street, between Second Avenue and Bowery. The regular performance schedule is Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:00pm; Thursday and Friday at 8:00pm; Saturday at 3pm and 8pm; Sunday at 2pm and 7pm. Fetch Clay, Make Man runs through October 13. Tickets start at $70 and may be purchased online at www.ticketcentral.com, 24 hours a day, seven days a week or by phoning Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200, noon – 8pm daily. For exact dates and times of performance, visit www.nytw.org.

Bryna McCann, Des McAnuff and John Earl Jelks. Photo by Lia Chang

Bryna McCann, Des McAnuff and John Earl Jelks. Photo by Lia Chang

 

Richard Masur and Peter Scolari. Photo by Lia Chang

Richard Masur and Peter Scolari. Photo by Lia Chang

AfterWords post-performance discussions creative team members and experts will follow the performances on Tuesday, September 17; Tuesday, October 8 and Cucina Chats, post-show discussions with the audience accompanied by a glass of wine will follow the performances on Friday, September 27, Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 10.

K. Todd Freeman, Will Power and Des McAnuff. Photo by Lia Chang

K. Todd Freeman, Will Power and Des McAnuff. Photo by Lia Chang

 

Ray Fisher and Nikki M. James. Photo by Lia Chang

Ray Fisher and Nikki M. James. Photo by Lia Chang

NYTW has a $20 CheapTix Sundays program. A dedicated number of tickets for Sunday evening performances at 7:00pm can be purchased in person at the NYTW Box Office for only $20. Tickets may be purchased in advance, payable in cash only and are available to all audience members.

NYTW also has $25 student tickets available for all performances. Student tickets may be purchased in advance from the NYTW Box Office with valid student identification, one ticket per id. A student matinee is scheduled for Wednesday, September 25 at 1pm.

In addition, NYTW offers discount ticket prices for adult and student groups of 10 or more. Please contact group sales at stephaniew@nytw.org. The NYTW Box office is open 1:00pm to 6:00pm, Tuesday through Saturday.

Will Power, Hannah Ryan and Des McAnuff. Photo by Lia Chang

Will Power, Hannah Ryan and Des McAnuff. Photo by Lia Chang

 

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John Earl Jelks, Lia Chang and Ray Fisher. Photo by Charles Richard Barboza

John Earl Jelks, Lia Chang and Ray Fisher. Photo by Charles Richard Barboza

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia recently starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes, Marcus Naylor and Phynjuar.

Articles on Fetch Clay, Make Man:
NYTW Production Photos of Fetch Clay, Make Man: Ray Fisher, Nikki M. James, John Earl Jelks, K. Todd Freeman
Fetch Clay, Make Man Starring Ray Fisher, Nikki M. James, John Earl Jelks, K.Todd Freeman and Richard Masur Opens September 12, 2013
broadwayworld.com: STAGE TUBE: Nikki M. James, Des McAnuff & More on Making FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN
dailynews.com: In the Now: Ray Fisher portrays Muhammad Ali in ‘Fetch Clay, Make Man’
John Earl Jelks, Richard Masur, Ray Fisher, Nikki M. James, K.Todd Freeman and More Set for Fetch Clay, Make Man at NYTW, August 23 – October 13, 2013

John Earl Jelks and Charles Richard Barboza. Photo by Lia Chang

John Earl Jelks and Charles Richard Barboza. Photo by Lia Chang

Other articles on John Earl Jelks:
Photos: Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Phylicia Rashad, John Earl Jelks, Leslie Uggams, Anthony Chisholm, S. Epatha Merkerson, Taraji P. Henson, Jesse L. Martin, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Kenny Leon and More Set for August Wilson American Century Cycle Recording Series at The Greene Space in NY, Aug. 26-Sept. 28, 2013
Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks, Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams
Jelks, Blanks, Chisholm, Cooper, Odera, Ruff and Williams Set for Two Trains Running, Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson at Two River Theater Company, February 2 – March 3, 2013
Geffen Playhouse Production Photos of Neil LaBute’s The Break of Noon starring Kevin Anderson, Tracee Chimo, Catherine Dent and John Earl Jelks
Kevin Anderson, Catherine Dent, Tracee Chimo, John Earl Jelks in Neil La Bute’s The Break of Noon at the Geffen
Photos: David Duchovny, John Earl Jelks, Amanda Peet,Tracee Chimo opening night of Neil LaBute’s The Break of Noon
John Earl Jelks is featured in MCC Theater’s world premiere of Neil LaBute’s The Break of Noon at the Lucille Lortel
Denise Burse, Rocky Carroll, Anthony Chisholm, John Earl Jelks and James A. Williams in Radio Golf by August Wilson at The Pearlstone Theater in Baltimore

Opening night for Fetch Clay, Make Man at New York Theatre Workshop in New York on September 12, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Opening night for Fetch Clay, Make Man at New York Theatre Workshop in New York on September 12, 2013. Photo by Lia Chang

Other articles by Lia Chang:
National Black Theatre Festival Photos: Backstage with André De Shields, Marie Thomas, Erin Cherry, Sean Phillips and Morocco Omari in Knock Me A Kiss
Photos: Backstage with Michi Barall and the cast of Regina Taylor’s stop.reset. at Signature Theatre
Roscoe Orman, Anthony Chisholm, Amari Cheatom, Stephen McKinley Henderson and More Set for Live Recording of Jitney at The Greene Space
Sept. 13 – Oct. 12: Bryan Cranston, Brandon J. Dirden, Michael McKean, Reed Birney, Peter Jay Fernandez, Crystal Dickinson and More Set for Robert Schenkkan’s All The Way at A.R.T.
Febone1960.net Review: Power Play Powerful & Suspenseful
Portraits of New York Chinatown after 9/11
Oct. 9 – Nov. 17: Denise Burse and Michael Genet Star in Marcus Gardley’s dance of the holy ghosts at Center Stage
Photos: Denise Burse, Lizan Mitchell, Novella Nelson, Arthur French at Regina Taylor’s stop. reset with LaTanya Richardson Jackson at Signature
Photos: Edward James Hyland Stars in Lee Blessing’s WORLD PREMIERE A User’s Guide to Hell, Featuring Bernard Madoff At Atlantic Stage II, September 5 – 28, 2013
A Summer in Bangkok for Thom Sesma, Star of Signature’s Miss Saigon
Signature Theatre’s 2013-14 Season Features New Works by Albee, Hwang, Enos, Taylor, Wilson, Clarke and Jacobs-Jenkins
Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party
Video: Power Play’s Lorey Hayes and Lia Chang on The Carmen Mathis Show
Hal Williams, S. Epatha Merkerson, Ben Guillory, Oz Scott, Jonathan McCrory and Starletta DuPois among 2013 National Black Theatre Festival® Honorees
Tonya Pinkins, Dorien Wilson, Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Rain Pryor, André De Shields, Debbi Morgan, Chester Gregory, Tommy Ford and More Set for National Black Theatre Festival® in Winston-Salem, NC
Photos: Charles Smith’s Knock Me A Kiss Starring André De Shields Featured in Encore Performances at The National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, July 30-August 1, 2013
The Chronicle Features Lorey Hayes’ Power Play
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
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

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