Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Tony Nominee John Earl Jelks, Dewanda Wise and Harvey Gardner Moore Star in Labyrinth’s American Premiere of Sunset Baby by Dominique Morisseau at Bank Street Theater

John Earl Jelks. Photo by Lia Chang

John Earl Jelks. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony Nominee John Earl Jelks (Radio Golf), currently appearing in the critically acclaimed production of Will Power’s Fetch Clay, Make Man at NYTW through October 13, is deep in rehearsal with Dewanda Wise and Harvey Gardner Moore for Labyrinth’s American Premiere of Sunset Baby by Dominique Morisseau at Bank Street Theater (155 Bank Street), Labyrinth Theater Company’s home in New York City’s West Village, November 6 – December 8, 2013. Kamilah Forbes directs.

The Sunset Baby creative team includes Amatus (Composer and Sound Designer), ESOSA (Costume Design), Jen Schriever (Lighting Design), and Lee Savage (Scenic Design).

Synopsis
East New York, Brooklyn. Nina’s estranged father, a former black revolutionary, reappears to obtain a piece of her deceased Mother’s legacy. A powerful and honest story of one woman’s journey from a brutal existence to her own liberation, Sunset Baby is an energetic, daring look at the point where the personal and political collide.

Labyrinth Theater Company is devoted to providing affordable ticket prices for the community. All tickets for Sunset Baby are $20 when purchased before performances begin on November 6th. Click here to buy $20 tickets. After that date, tickets prices will be available starting at $35. In an effort to make great theater accessible to all New Yorkers, Labyrinth offers the Labpass, which gives audiences access to all of Labyrinth’s programming in their 2013/14 Season starting at just $99. To purchase a Labpass, and to find more information on the Season, please visit www.labtheater.org.

John Earl Jelks was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance as Sterling Johnson in August Wilson’s Radio Golf. Jelks made his Broadway debut opposite Phylicia Rashad in August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean as Citizen, directed by Kenny Leon (after runs at the Goodman, Huntington and Mark Taper, where he won a NAACP Theatre Award and an L.A. Ovation Award). In 2008, Jelks garnered an AUDELCO Award for his role as Harper Edwards in the Off-Broadway revival of Leslie Lee’s The First Breeze of Summer, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Jelks also appeared Off-Broadway in MCC’s production of Neil LaBute’s The Break of Noon with David Duchovny, Amanda Peet and Tracee Chimo, directed by Jo Bonney. Regional theatre credits include Regina Taylor’s Magnolia with Annette O’Toole at the Goodman Theatre, the world stage premiere of The Shawshank Redemption at the Gaiety Theatre in Ireland; Two Trains Running at Two River Theater Company; August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the Penumbra Theatre Company and Missouri Repertory Theatre. Film and TV credits include Snap; The Miraculous, The Miracle at St. Anna, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” and “Blue Bloods”. Jelks is currently appearing Off-Broadway in Will Power’s Fetch Clay, Make Man, with Nikki M. James, Richard Masur, K. Todd Freeman and Ray Fisher, directed by Des McAnuff at New York Theatre Workshop.
NYTW Production Photos of Fetch Clay, Make Man: Ray Fisher, Nikki M. James, John Earl Jelks, K. Todd Freeman
Dominique Morisseau (Playwright). Writer and actress, Dominique is an alum of the Public Theater Emerging Writer’s Group, the Women’s Project Playwrights Lab, and Lark Playwrights Workshop. Among her playwriting credits are: Detroit ’67 (Public Theater; Classical Theatre of Harlem/National Black Theatre), Sunset Baby (Labyrinth Theater Co – NYC; Gate Theater- London), Follow Me To Nellie’s (O’Neill; Premiere Stages). Her produced one-acts include: Third Grade (Fire This Time Festival); Black at Michigan (Cherry Lane Studio/DUTF); Socks, Roses Are Played Out and Love and Nappiness (Center Stage, ATH); love.lies.liberation (The New Group), Bumrush (Hip Hop Theater Festival), and The Masterpiece (Harlem9/HSA). Dominique is currently developing a 3-play cycle on her hometown of Detroit, entitled The Detroit Projects. Detroit ’67 is the first of the series. The second play in the series, Paradise Blue, was developed and/or read with Voice and Vision, the Hansberry Project at ACT, New York Theatre Workshop, McCarter Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and the Public Theater. Dominique’s work has also been published in NY Times bestseller Chicken Soup for the African American Soul, and in the Harlem-based literary journal “Signifyin’ Harlem” She is a Jane Chambers Playwriting Award honoree, a two-time NAACP Image Award recipient, a runner-up for the Princess Grace Award, a recipient of the Elizabeth George commission from South Coast Rep, a commendation honoree for the Primus Prize by the American Theatre Critics Association, winner of the Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwriting Award and the Weissberger Award for Playwriting, the U of M – Detroit Center Emerging Leader Award, and a PoNY (Playwrights of New York) Fellow. She is an artist that believes wholeheartedly in the power and strength of community.

Kamilah Forbes (Director). Most recent credits include: Broadway: The Mountaintop and Stickfly (Associate Director). Welcome to Nellie’s by Dominique Morrisseau (Classical Theater of Harlem, Reading), Nannyland by Radha Blank (Public Theater, Reading), Saturday Night/Sunday Morning by Katori Hall (Lincoln Center Theater Lab Reading series), The Mountaintop by Katori Hall (Lark Theater, barebones production), Journey to the door of no return by Psalmayene 24 (Arena Stage, workshop), Children of Children Keep Coming (Columbia University), Beauty, the Beast (Dance Mission, San Francisco), And Her Hair Went With Her by Zina Camblin (c). Most recently she directed National Poetry Slam Champion Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s multi-disciplinary dance theater piece SCOURGE. Scourge toured to Rotterdam, Brussels, Boston, DC, 651 arts (NYC), and was premiered at the Yerba Buena Center for the arts in San Francisco. Other credits include: assistant director for Tony Award winning Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, Masquerade by solo spoken word artist Roger Bonair–Agard, Rhyme Deferred which she conceived and co-wrote presented at The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, PS122, New York Theater Workshop, and Undermain Theater. Other directing credits include: No Man’s Land (ODC Theater, San Francisco), Nightmares of JuJubee (The Lincoln Theater DC, PS122, NYC). She recently received the 2011 JOSEPHINE ABADY award from the League of Professional Women in theater for excellence in the theater and is a member of the Leadership Board with the Women’s Project.

Castmembers Teresa Lasley, Lia Chang and Dewanda Wise backstage at Castillo Theatre in New York for Woodie King’s New Federal Theatre's presentation of  Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott’s Marie Laveau, with music by Hair composer Galt MacDermot and musical arrangement by Chapman Roberts, as the final play in the Gurfein Foundation/Ntozake Shange Play Reading Series on June, 28, 2009.

Castmembers Teresa Lasley, Lia Chang and Dewanda Wise backstage at Castillo Theatre in New York for Woodie King’s New Federal Theatre’s presentation of Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott’s Marie Laveau, with music by Hair composer Galt MacDermot and musical arrangement by Chapman Roberts, as the final play in the Gurfein Foundation/Ntozake Shange Play Reading Series on June, 28, 2009.

Photo Call: Derek Walcott’s Marie Laveau
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:
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
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

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

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Photos: Denise Burse, Michael Genet, Doug Eskew, Tracie Thoms, Sakina Ansari-Wilson and More Celebrate Marcus Gardley’s dance of the holy ghosts Opening Night at Center Stage
Center Stage Photo Preview: Denise Burse and Michael Genet in Marcus Gardley’s dance of the holy ghosts, Opens October 16, 2013
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: André De Shields, Mary Zimmerman, Akash Chopra, Richard M. Sherman, Kevin Carolan, Larry Yando, Nehal Joshi and More Celebrate The Jungle Book Opening Night at Huntington Theatre in Boston
Spend an Evening with Tony Winner Nikki M. James at Joe’s Pub on October 21, 2013
Oct. 5-Nov. 17: LTC3/Lincoln Center Theater’s World Premiere of JC Lee’s LUCE Features Olivia Oguma, Marin Hinkle, Neal Huff, Okieriete Onaodowan and Sharon Washington
Photos: Backstage Q & A with Thom Sesma and the cast of Signature’s Miss Saigon
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: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party
Video: Power Play’s Lorey Hayes and Lia Chang on The Carmen Mathis Show
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

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