Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Photos: MaameYaa Boafo, Biko Eisen-Martin, Shavonna Banks, and Martin Kushner in New York Premiere of Walter Mosley’s Lift @59E59 Theaters through November 30

MaameYaa Boafo

MaameYaa Boafo

MaameYaa Boafo, who stars as Nana Yaa in the international hit web series, “An African City,” is making her Off-Broadway debut as Tina Pardon in the New York premiere of acclaimed novelist Walter Mosley’s first full length play LIFT at 59E59 Theaters. She originated the role in the world premiere at Crossroads Theatre, with Marshall Jones, III, at the helm, in Spring 2014.

The cast also features Biko Eisen-Martin as Theodore “Big Time” Southmore, Shavonna Banks as Noni Tariq, and Martin Kushner as John Thomas Resterly.

Produced by Crossroads Theatre, LIFT began performances on Friday, October 17 for a limited engagement through Sunday, November 30. The performance schedule is Tuesday – Thursday at 7 PM; Friday at 8 PM; Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM; Sunday at 3 PM & 7 PM. Single tickets are $70 ($49 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or visit www.59e59.org.

MaameYaa Boafo, Shavonna Banks and Biko Eisen-Martin. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

MaameYaa Boafo, Shavonna Banks and Biko Eisen-Martin. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

In LIFT, two ambitious co-workers meet for the first time when a catastrophic event traps them in a skyscraper elevator. In the darkness, Theodore “Big Time” Southmore and Tina Pardon form an intimate bond, sharing their deepest fears and darkest secrets, touching on issues of race, culture, and class.

Biko Eisen-Martin and MaameYaa Boafo in Crossroads' production of Walter Mosley's LIFT. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Biko Eisen-Martin and MaameYaa Boafo in Crossroads’ production of Walter Mosley’s LIFT. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

LIFT received its world premiere at New Brunswick, New Jersey’s Tony Award-winning Crossroads Theatre Company in April, where TalkinBroadway praised its “jolting power,” calling it “a suspense play of unusual substance and relevance.”

The design team includes Andrei Onegin (scenic design); Rocco DiSanti (lighting design and projections); Anne E. Grosz (costume design); and Toussaint Hunt (sound design). The production stage manager is Karen Parlato.

Biko Eisen-Martin and MaameYaa Boafo in Crossroads' production of Walter Mosley's LIFT. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Biko Eisen-Martin and MaameYaa Boafo in Crossroads’ production of Walter Mosley’s LIFT. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Boafo hails from Ghana, West Africa and was raised in Europe and East Africa before moving to the States for college. After obtaining a double Bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism and French at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, MaameYaa was then awarded the Levin Scholarship from Rutgers University, and received her MFA in Acting from the Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Esosa E,  Maame Adjei, MaameYaa Boafo, Nana Mensah and Marie Humbert in “An African City".

Esosa E, Maame Adjei, MaameYaa Boafo, Nana Mensah and Marie Humbert in “An African City”.

Jeremiah Abiah, MaameYaa Boafo, Denise Burse, Peter Jay Fernandez at the opening night party at The Restaurants at Rockefeller Center in New York of Broadway's All The Way on March 6, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Jeremiah Abiah, MaameYaa Boafo, Denise Burse, Peter Jay Fernandez at the opening night party at The Restaurants at Rockefeller Center in New York of Broadway’s All The Way on March 6, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Her regional theater credits include Ophelia in Hamlet (The American Globe Theatre tour, dir. Dennis Turney); Circle Mirror Transformation (u/s George Street Playhouse, dir. Anders Cato); Educational Tour Company (George Street Playhouse, David Saint/Jim Jack/Gail Howard, dir.); Shakespeare Alive! (Maryland Shakespeare Festival, Becky Kemper, dir.); a Courtesan in Comedy of Errors (Maryland Shakespeare Festival, Drew Kahl, dir.). She originated the role of Biftu in Antu Yacob’s Mourning Sun as well as Akosua in Cori Thomas’s Akosua means Sunday (4th Street Theatre, Lisa Peterson, dir.). Her film and TV credits include The Family Fang (Jason Bateman, dir.), When It All Falls Down, Exposure, Breathe, Asa, Azure II, New York I Love You, Bus Nut (Rosa Parks), “Madam Secretary” (CBS) and commercials. She was also featured in the documentary Black is Beautiful and stars in a music video for musician ABIAH, which she also co-directed. As a print model, Boafo has worked with photographers such as Matt Furman, Jamel Toppin, Hannan Saleh, J.Quazi King and Baron Claiborne and models for uber-pop women’s brand, Rue107. She is currently finishing her first screenplay to be filmed later in the year.

Walter Mosley. Photo by Lia Chang

Walter Mosley. Photo by Lia Chang

Walter Mosley (playwright), the author of more than three dozen books, is perhaps best known for his best-selling crime fiction, including the popular Easy Rawlins series. Devil in a Blue Dress was made into the 1995 film starring Denzel Washington as Rawlins. Mosley’s work has been translated into 23 languages and includes literary fiction, science fiction, political monographs, and a young adult novel. His short fiction has been widely published and his nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and The Nation. His many awards include an O. Henry Award, Grammy, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Mosley’s plays include the one-act White Lilies, which was produced at Crossroads in 2013. LIFT is his first full-length play, and the first play of his to arrive in NYC.

Marshall Jones, III (director) makes his NYC directorial debut by collaborating once again with gifted writer and master storyteller Walter Mosley. Last year, Marshall made his Crossroads Theatre directorial debut with Walter Mosley’s one-act play White Lilies. Over the years, he has developed and directed numerous stage readings by a cadre of young and experienced playwrights. He has more than 25 years of experience in a wide variety of key executive positions at some of New York City’s most reputable institutions including the Apollo Theater (General Manager), Madison Square Garden (Associate Producer), Radio City Music Hall (Producer), and Disney On Broadway’s The Lion King. He is currently an Associate Professor at Rutgers University, as well as the Director of the Rutgers Summer Acting Conservatory for High School Students, a unique residency program where students from around the country studying acting for 4-week of intense training. ?He earned a BA in Theater Arts from Rutgers University and an MA in Arts Management from New York University. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Theater Communications Group (TCG) and was appointed by the Governor as a Commissioner of the NJ Public Broadcasting Authority.

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Q & A with Playwright Camille Darby, 2014-15 Dramatists Guild Playwrighting Fellow
Stephen Adly Guirgis to Receive the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award at the Seventh Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards on November 17
Six Questions for Melody Butiu, Currently Appearing as Estrella in David Byrne and Fat Boy Slim’s Here Lies Love at The Public
Costume Institute’s Spring 2015 Exhibition at Metropolitan Museum to Focus on Chinese Imagery in Art, Film, and Fashion, May 7–August 16, 2015
Signature Theatre Presents World Premiere of OUR LADY OF KIBEHO by Katori Hall through December 7, 2014
Nov. 17: Chapman Roberts, Loretta Abbott, André De Shields, David Greer, Norm Lewis, Cherine Anderson, Lawrence Evans, Colby Christina & Nicholas A. Jenkins to Receive Special AUDELCO Awards
2014 AUDELCO Nominations Announced; Ceremony at Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space on November 17
Suzan-Lori Parks’ Father Comes Home From The Wars, Extends at The Public Theater through November 30
Opening Night Photos: Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) by Suzan-Lori Parks at The Public Theater
Photos: Tommy Tune, Bob Avian, Lee Roy Reams, Christine Toy Johnson, Orville Mendoza, Lori Tan Chinn, Raul Aranas, Virginia Wing and More Celebrate 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award Recipient Baayork Lee
Photos: Art Salon with Artist Yang Chihung and Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang at New-York Historical Society
Photos: Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion on View through April 19, 2015 at New York Historical Society
Geoffrey Holder, Artist, Actor, Dancer, Choreographer, Two-Time Tony Award-winning Director and Costume Designer for The Wiz, Dies at 84; Son Pens Intimate Account of Last Days
Photos & Video: The Wiz’s André De Shields Sang “So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard” in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall 
Photos and Video: Ben Vereen Performs at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream 
Photos and Video: Obba Babatunde and cast members from the original cast of Dreamgirls perform at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream
Photos: Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion on View through April 19, 2015 at New York Historical Society
Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station
Joe Mantegna to Helm ‘Criminal Minds’ Season 10 Episode to Honor the late Meshach Taylor
Photos: Maxine Hong Kingston, Billie Tsien, Bill T. Jones, Linda Ronstadt, John Kander, Julia Alvarez, Jeffrey Katzenberg Receive 2013 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama 
Photos: Artist Arlan Huang, One Brush Stroke at a Time
Late Night Singing with Garth Kravits at 54 Below with The Skivvies, at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at Birdland and Michael Raye’s Soul Gathering 
Crafting a Career
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow Backstage Pass with Lia Chang on WordPress.com