Chris Mack in association with Guild Hall is presenting a staged reading of the new Public Theater production of ToasT, an electrifying new play by acclaimed spoken word artist and Tony Award-winning writer Lemon Andersen (The Public’s County of Kings: The Beautiful Struggle, HBO’s “Def Poetry”), developed and directed by Andersen’s County of Kings collaborator Elise Thoron.
The cast of ToasT includes Keith David (Enlisted, Platoon, Ken Burns’ “Jazz,” There’s Something About Mary), André De Shields (The Full Monty, Play On!, The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin), Tony Plana (“Ugly Betty,” “The West Wing,” Richard III), Hill Harper (“CSI:NY,” 1982), Armando Riesco (The Happiest Song Plays Last, 25th Hour), Kevin Mambo (Fela!, Cadillac Records), Colman Domingo (The Butler, Passing Strange, The Scottsboro Boys), and Peter McRobbie (“Boardwalk Empire,” “Law & Order,” Lincoln), on Thursday, August 14, 2014 at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton Village at 8 P.M.
A Public Theater commission first presented at The Public’s Under the Radar Festival, ToasT ingeniously weaves major characters from black oral narratives into a gripping story about a group of inmates fighting to keep their minds free amidst the 1971 riots that rocked Attica Prison. After 27 years served for murder in Attica’s D-Block, Willie Green, aka Dolomite, has become an unlikely father figure to his cellmates, folklore heroes like Jesse James, Hobo Ben, Annabelle Jones, Stackolee and Hard Rock. Though word is brewing throughout Attica that a riot is coming, Dolomite would rather not get involved. But when one of the youngest inmates in their block is viciously beaten by guards for protesting prison conditions, Dolomite has to decide whether to join the riots or lock himself in his cell and hope for a promised parole date and the chance to taste freedom.
Honoring the spoken word narratives recited in pool halls, bars and prisons across America by generations of black poets, ToasT is a stunning new play about men trying to live free in a system—and a world—designed to keep them chained. ToasT honors an art form of reciting poetry based on characters and situations from the Black Experience, mostly performed in prisons, bars and pool halls. ToasT was developed at the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab and the Sundance Institute Playwrights Retreat at Ucross. Funding for the development of ToasT is provided by Time Warner Inc., and the MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Tickets are $50 prime orchestra ($48 members), $30 orchestra and balcony ($28 members), and can be purchased online at www.GuildHall.org or at Box Office 631-324-4050; www.theatermania.com; or 1.866.811.4111.
Train: LIRR (departing from Penn Station or Atlantic Terminal) to East Hampton
Driving: Via the Long Island Expressway approximately 2.5 hours to East Hampton
updated August 11, 2014.
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Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York.
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