Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Photos: Tonya Pinkins, Trezana Beverley, Tyrone M. Henderson and More Set for World Premiere of War by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at Yale Repertory Theatre through December 13

Tyrone Mitchell Henderson and Tonya Pinkins in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' War at Yale Rep. Photo by Joan Marcus

Tyrone Mitchell Henderson and Tonya Pinkins in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ War at Yale Rep. Photo by Joan Marcus

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Photo by Lia Chang

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Photo by Lia Chang

Yale Repertory Theatre presents the world premiere of War by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz at Yale Repertory Theatre (1120 Chapel Street). Preview performances began on November 21, and will continue through December 13. The company opening is scheduled for Friday, November 28. The official press opening will follow on Saturday, November 29.

The cast of War includes Trezana Beverley, Donté Bonner, Philippe Bowgen, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson, Rachael Holmes, Greg Keller, and Tonya Pinkins.

War features choreography by David Neumann, scenic design by Mariana Sanchez Hernandez, costumes by Montana Levi Blanco, lighting by Yi Zhao, projections by Kristen Ferguson, dialect coaching by Ron Carlos, dramaturgy by Amy Boratko, casting by Tara RubinCasting, and stage management by Will Rucker.

War was commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre. Development and production support are provided by Yale’s Binger Center for New Theatre and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Tensions escalate between Tate and Joanne at their mother’s hospital bedside. As they attack each other’s smallest words and biggest choices, they are ambushed by two strangers who make a shocking claim about their grandfather’s WWII tour of duty. War is a wildly provocative, bracingly funny, and all-too- human portrait of a family navigating the landmines of the past as they try to broker peace with each other-and themselves-in the present.

Tonya Pinkins and Trezana Beverley in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ War at Yale Rep. Photo by Joan Marcus

Tonya Pinkins and Trezana Beverley in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ War at Yale Rep. Photo by Joan Marcus

Acclaimed playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins makes his Yale Rep debut with the world premiere of War. His recent plays An Octoroon and Appropriate were honored together with the 2014 OBIE Award for Best New American Play. Lileana Blain-Cruz recently directed Christina Anderson’s Hollow Roots for The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival.

Tickets for War range from $20-98 and are available online at, by phone at (203) 432-1234, and in person at the Yale Rep Box Office (1120 Chapel Street). Student, senior, and group rates are also available.

Philippe Bowgen, Rachael Holmes, Greg Keller and Trezana Beverley in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ War at Yale Rep. Photo by Joan Marcus

Philippe Bowgen, Rachael Holmes, Greg Keller and Trezana Beverley in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ War at Yale Rep. Photo by Joan Marcus

TREZANA BEVERLEY (ELFRIEDE) Ms. Beverley is the winner of the distinguished Tony Award for her performance in for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf. She has also performed extensively in regional theatre and on film. Noted highlights include Mother Courage and Her Children, Raisin in the Sun (Center Stage); The Bacchae (Guthrie Theater); Peer Gynt (Shakespeare Theatre Company); The Nacirema Society (Alliance Theatre); Flyin’ West (Crossroads Theatre Company); the title role in King Lear and Medea (Take Wing and Soar Productions). Her film credits include Resurrection, Beloved with Oprah Winfrey, Carolina Skeletons, and Sister Margaret and the Saturday Night Ladies. Trezana is also a director and currently is a directing faculty guest at The Juilliard School. Her production company is The Trezana Projects.

DONTE BONNER (TATE) This is Donte Bonner’s debut at Yale Rep. He studied at the University of Central Florida. His stage credits include Romeo and Juliet on Broadway and the east coast premiere of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity. Film and television credits include Sydney White and the upcoming HBO miniseries “Crime”.

PHILIPPE BOWGEN (TOBIAS) is making his Yale Rep debut. Recent New York credits include Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 at 59E59, as well as workshops at New York Theatre Workshop, MCC Theater, and Atlantic Theater Company. Recent regional theatre: Antony and Cleopatra directed by Emily Mann (McCarter Theatre), Oedipus El Rey (Dallas Theater Center), Darko Tresnjak’s repertory of Macbeth and La Dispute (Hartford Stage), Caviar on Credit (Guthrie Theater), Kingdom of Earth (Triad Stage), King Lear directed by Robert Falls (Shakespeare Theatre Company), Othello (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company), His Girl Friday (Trinity Repertory Company), Lysistrata (Synetic Theatre), and productions at several other regional theatre across the country. He is a Scotsman Fringe First winner for Bang, Bang…You’re Dead! Film: Son of A Kingpin, Sobrevivo, and The Remains of Something Whole. Education/Training: MFA, Brown/Trinity Repertory Company; London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art; Georgetown University.

TYRONE MITCHELL HENDERSON (NURSE/ALPHA) previously appeared at Yale Rep in The America Play, The Piano Lesson, and The Winter’s Tale. New York credits include The Piano Lesson; Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk (national tour), The Tempest with Patrick Stewart, Two Noble Kinsmen, The Public Sings, King Lear, and Letters to the End of the World. Regional credits include The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, Angels in America, The Trip to Bountiful, An Enemy of the People, Tartuffe, Radio Golf, The 39 Steps, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra with Suzanne Bertish, Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Hamlet, Topdog/Underdog, Intimate Apparel, Yellowman, Jitney, All My Sons, The Crucible, and Blues for an Alabama Sky with Phylicia Rashad. Film and television: Ride for Your Life, The Treatment, “Unforgettable,” “The Following,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Suits” (pilot), and five episodes of the “Law & Order” franchise. Honors: AUDELCO, Kevin Kline nominations; Dallas Theatre Critics, Connecticut Critics Circle, and Leon Rabin Awards.

RACHAEL HOLMES (JOANNE) is making her Yale Rep debut. Her New York credits include Ruined directed by Kate Whoriskey (Manhattan Theatre Club); Persephone’s Cowboy: A Musical directed by Alex Timbers, 365 Days/365 Plays with directors Michael Greif, Leigh Silverman, and Hal Brooks (The Public Theater). Regional credits: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike directed by Jonathan Moscone (Alley Theatre); Good People directed by Kate Whoriskey (Huntington Theatre); Ruined directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, The Book Club Play directed by Molly Smith (Arena Stage); Richard II directed by Michael Kahn, Julius Caesar directed by David Paul (Shakespeare Theatre); and Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet directed by Timothy Douglas (Studio Theatre); She recorded Lady Macbeth and Titania for the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Luminary Shakespeare App. Television: “The Mysteries of Laura,” “The Good Wife,” “Dirt,” as well as national commercials and voice-overs. She received her MFA from NYU and teaches at New Victory Theatre and New York Film Academy.

GREG KELLER (Malcolm) previously appeared at Yale Rep in Belleville. Broadway: Wit (Manhattan Theatre Club). Off-Broadway: The Who and The What (Lincoln Center Theater’s LCT3); Somewhere Fun (Vineyard Theatre); Belleville (New York Theatre Workshop); Cradle and All (Manhattan Theatre Club), The Seagull with Dianne Wiest and Alan Cumming (Classic Stage Company); That Pretty Pretty, Steve & Idi (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater); Telethon (Clubbed Thumb); Reborning (The Public Theater/Summer Play Festival); and Smudge (Women’s Project). Los Angeles: Seminar withJeff Goldblum and 33 Variations with Jane Fonda (Ahmanson Theatre). TV: Orange Is The New Black, The Good Wife, Lipstick Jungle, Law & Order. MFA: NYU. Greg was a Lila Acheson Wallace playwriting fellow at The Juilliard School. His plays have been produced at Cherry Lane,Williamstown Theatre Festival, Berkshire Theater Festival, and LAByrinth Theater Company, where he is a member.

Tonya Pinkins. Photo by Lia Chang

Tonya Pinkins. Photo by Lia Chang

TONYA PINKINS (ROBERTA) is making her Yale Rep debut. Her Broadway credits include Jelly’s Last Jam (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Clarence Derwent Awards); Caroline, or Change (OBIE, Lortel, Garland, L.A. Drama Critics, NAACP, AUDELCO Awards; Tony, Drama Desk, Dramaleague, What’s On Stage, Olivier nominations); Play On (Tony nomination); Holler If Ya Hear Me, A Time to Kill, Radio Golf, The Wild Party, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and Merrily We Roll Along. Time Out New York named Tonya “One of the Top 25 All-Time Broadway Divas.” She has been nominated for the Joseph Jefferson, Noel and Helen Hayes Awards for her work in regional theatres. Tonya spent 20 years in daytime television on As the World Turns and All My Children. Her other film and television appearances include Enchanted, Fading Gigolo, “24,” “Army Wives,” “The Closer,” “Law & Order,” “Cold Case,” and this season’s “Nurse Jackie”. She has released two CDs: Live at Joe’s Pub and Live at Joe’s Pub Too. She is the author of Get Over Yourself!: How to Drop the Drama and Claim the Life You Deserve (Hyperion).

Related Articles:
Saul Williams, Christopher Jackson, Saycon Sengbloh, Ben Thompson, John Earl Jelks, Joshua Boone, Dyllon Burnside and Tonya Pinkins star in HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME, Opens June 19
Jun. 16: Project1Voice & NBLCA Presents Staged Reading of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf Featuring Trazana Beverley, LaChanze, Adriane Lenox, Tonya Pinkins, Lillias White, Denise Burse Fernandez, Marva Hicks, Roslyn Ruff and More
Branden Jacob-Jenkins’ Appropriate, Lisa Kron’s Fun Home, Sonya Tayeh, Emmanuel Brown, Mia Katigbak, K. Todd Freeman, John Earl Jelks Among 2014 OBIE Award Winners
Photos: Cheryl Lynn Bruce, André De Shields, Sandra Marquez, Chay Yew, Dennis Zacek and More Celebrate Opening Night of Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at Victory Gardens
New Federal Theatre’s Off-Broadway Revival of The Fabulous Miss Marie starring Tonya Pinkins and Roscoe Orman, opens on May 1
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
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Tony Award Winner Tonya Pinkins Celebrates Ethel Waters at 54 Below on August 27, 2012

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Q & A with Danny Ramm, Co-writer of Joe Mantegna Helmed ‘Criminal Minds’ Season 10 Episode to Honor the late Meshach Taylor; Airs January 21, 2015
Yellow Sound Label to Release BD Wong’s Debut CD HERRINGBONE on December 2, 2014
NYU Theatrical Production Presents the World Premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night in the Shubert Theatre at Tisch School of the Arts through November 24
Photos: Ellen Burstyn, Baz Luhrmann, John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Stephen McKinley Henderson, John Patrick Shanley, David Henry Hwang, Liza Colón-Zayas, Kenneth Lonergan and More Celebrate Stephen Adly Guirgis at The Mimi Awards
Photos: BD Wong, Cindy Cheung, Brooke Ishibashi, Thom Sesma, Manna Nichols, Steven Eng, Ariel Estrada and Lori Tan Chinn at Leviathan Lab’s Ghost Stories
Dec. 8: Tony Winner BD Wong, Raymond J. Lee, Pearl Sun, Marc delaCruz, Thom Sesma, Arielle Jacobs, Cindy Cheung, Daniel J. Edwards, Kamala Sankaram, Mel Sagrado Maghuyop, Christine Toy Johnson & More Set for The Asian American Composers and Lyricists Projects’ “Arriving In Asian America”
Q & A with Playwright Camille Darby, 2014-15 Dramatists Guild Playwrighting Fellow
Apple Video Podcast: New York Post Writer Michael Riedel Interviews David Byrne, Jaygee Macapugay, Jose Llana and Conrad Ricamora of Here Lies Love
Costume Institute’s Spring 2015 Exhibition at Metropolitan Museum to Focus on Chinese Imagery in Art, Film, and Fashion, May 7–August 16, 2015
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
Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station
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
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
Joe Mantegna, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, President Bill Clinton and More Remember Meshach Taylor
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

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