Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Tony Award-Winner Lillias White Stars with Scott Wakefield in The York Theatre Company’s World Premiere of TEXAS IN PARIS, January 27 – March 1

Lillias White sings “Home,” at the BC/EFA's Gypsy of the Year at The New Amsterdam Theatre in New York on December 9, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Lillias White sings “Home,” at the BC/EFA’s Gypsy of the Year at The New Amsterdam Theatre in New York on December 9, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

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The York Theatre Company, in association with Everyday Songs, is presenting the world premiere of the new musical play, Texas in Paris, written by Alan Govenar with spirituals, cowboy songs and country hymns, starring Tony award-winner Lillias White (Fela!, The Life) with Scott Wakefield (Hands on a Hardbody).

Performances are set to begin Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. for a limited engagement through Sunday, March 1, 2015 at The York Theatre Company at Saint Peter’s (entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue). Opening Night is Thursday, February 5, 2015.

Akin Babatundé (Blind Lemon Blues) directs this two character play based on true events. Texas in Paris is the musical journey of a man and a woman — one white, one black – invited to France to perform at the Maison des Cultures du Monde. They have never met, have no professional singing experience, and face the challenge of working together and co-existing in an unfamiliar world. Apprehensive of each other, they struggle with preconceptions but forge a surprising spiritual bond that transforms their on-stage performance and their lives. With music supervision by Amy Jones.

Check out the discount ticket codes below.

Tickets $36 — all preview performances through Feb 4 with code TEXAS1

Tickets $46 for Tues, Wed Thur performances Feb 6-Mar 1 with code TEXAS2

Tickets $56 Fri -Sun performances Feb 6-Mar 1 with code TEXAS3

Tickets can be purchased online at www.yorktheatre.org, by calling 212.935.5820, or in person at the York Theatre Box Office Theatre at Saint Peter’s, 619 Lexington Avenue @ East 54th Street.

For groups 10+ Contact Marcia Pendelton at 646-467-7393 or by email at marcia@walktallgirlproductions.com.

Lillias White, Elain Graham and Billy Porter after a performance of Porter's While I Yet Live at The Duke Theater on October 30, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Lillias White, Elain Graham and Billy Porter after a performance of Porter’s While I Yet Live at The Duke Theater on October 30, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Lillias White is the quadruple-crown winner of the 1997-98 Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Friends of New York Award and the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as Sonja in the Broadway musical Cy Coleman’s The Life. Other Broadway credits include Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti in Fela! (Tony Award nomination), Jonesy in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Grizzabella in Cats, Asaka in Once on this Island, Joice Heth in Barnum (Broadway debut), Aretha Franklin in Rock-In-Roll-The First 5,000 Years, Effie Melody White in Dreamgirls (20th anniversary concert recording available on Nonesuch Records), Carrie and Chicago. Off Broadway, White was recently seen as Gertrude in Billy Porter’s While I Yet Live (Primary Stages); the Public Theater production of the William Finn musical Romance in Hard Times for which she won the Obie Award; Dinah Was at the Gramercy Theatre as singer Dinah Washington; Second Stage Theatre’s Crowns, for which she won the AUDELCO Award. She has been seen as Queen Zauba in The Princess and the Black Eyed Pea, Hennie in Obatala King of the White Cloth by David Wright, performed at Riverside Church, NYC. On TV, White appeared on various PBS specials from “Great Performances with the Boston Pops” to “In Performance at The White House. White’s concert performances include Funny GirlHairDreamgirls, and South Pacific, which was broadcast on PBS Great Performances. She has appeared in concert at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center and has toured internationally with her one-woman show, From Brooklyn to Broadway. White’s television appearances include four seasons as Lillian Edward on “Sesame Street” where she garnered an Emmy Award, “Law and Order,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “NYPD Blue,” “Person of Interest,” and “Gotham.” Her screen credits include Lead Muse in Disney’s animated Hercules and Anastasia, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Game 6, Pieces of April and Then She Found Me. Lillias White holds an honorary P.H.D. in Fine Arts from the City University of New York.

Scott Wakefield has appeared on Broadway in Hands On A Hardbody, Ring of Fire, and It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues. Off-Broadway appearances include The Joy Luck Club, The American Clock, Howling At The Moon, and Still Getting My Act Together (York). Numerous regional performances include: Fuddy Meers (Millet), A Flea in Her Ear (Camille), The Price (Victor), The Front Page (Kruger), The Glass Menagerie (Tom), Shipwrecked (Louis DeRougemont), Dancing At Lughnasa (Michael) and others at such prestigious venues as Cincinnati Playhouse, Milwaukee Repertory, Seattle Repertory, La Jolla Playhouse, and The Alliance Theatre. Mr Wakefield’s performances in The Will Rogers Follies and Best Little Whorehouse In Texas garnered him three “Best Actor” awards. Most recently, Mr. Wakefield performed in the new Broadway bound, Steve Martin musical, Bright Star, at The Old Globe Theater. Next up, Paint Your Wagon at The City Centre Theatre this March. An avid singer/songwriter, Scott has written and produced two CDs of original music: Older Than Dirt and Vegetarian Nightmare. www.ScottWakefield.com

Akin Babatundé is an accomplished actor, director, and writer whose theatrical career spans Off-Broadway, regional theatre, film and television. He has been a resident company member of prestigious theatrical institutions through the country: Trinity Rep (Providence, R.I.), Alley Theater (Houston, TX), La MaMa (NY) and the Dallas Theater Center. He is founder and artistic director of Vivid Theater Ensemble of Dallas and founder of Ebony Emeralds Classic Theater Company. Babatundé was the first African American to direct for the Dallas Shakespeare Festival in the celebrated diverse production of Taming of the Shrew in 1993. As a writer, his work has been commissioned by Florida Stage, La MaMa Theater, the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, Brown University, the Black Academy of Arts and Core Ensemble. His work Shakespeare – Midnight Echoes tours in Texas paying homage to black performing artists who performed Shakespeare from Slavery to the present. He has toured extensively with Core Ensemble in Of Ebony Embers-Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance. His one-man show, Before the Second Set-A Visit with Satchmo has received critical acclaim at theater across the country. Babatundé co-wrote and starred in Blind Lemon Blues. TV appearances include “Law and Order” and “Wishbone,” the PBS literary show for children. Babatundé is a renowned arts educator, having undertaken five long-term artist residencies in underserved communities in Florida, creating new music theatre works alongside at-risk teens and community members. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Arts and Humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas and received the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Alan Govenar is a writer, folklorist, photographer and filmmaker. He is the director of Documentary Arts, a non-profit organization he founded in 1985 to present new perspectives on historical issues and diverse cultures. Govenar is a Guggenheim Fellow and the author of twenty-seven books, including “Everyday Music,” “Untold Glory: African Americans in Pursuit of Freedom,” “Opportunity and Achievement,” “Texas Blues: The Rise of Contemporary Sound,” “Lightin’ Hopkins: His Life and Blues,” “Stopin’ at the Savoy,” “Jasper, Texas: The Community Photographs of Alonzo Jordan,” and “Deep Ellum: The Other Side of Dallas.” His book “Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper’s Daughter” won First Place in the New York Book Festival (Children’s Non-Fiction), a Boston Globe-Hornbook Honor, an Orbis Pictus Honor from the National Council of Teachers of English. Govenar’s film Stoney Knows How was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and was selected as an Outstanding Film of the Year by the London Film Festival. Govenar has also produced and directed numerous films in association with NOVA, PBS, and La Sept/ARTE. His documentaries, The Beat HotelMaster Qi and the Monkey King, and You Don’t Need Feet To Dance are distributed by First Run Features. Govenar co-wrote the musical Blind Lemon Blues, which was presented in its world premiere at the Forum Meyrin in Geneva and the Maison des Cultures du Monde in Paris, and was staged at the York Theatre in 2007 and 2009. www.documentaryarts.org.

Related Articles:
Mar. 4: Tony Award-Winner Lillias White, Carol Fredette & More to be Honored at 30th Annual Bistro Awards at Gotham Comedy Club
Photos: Lillias White, Scott Wakefield, Ebony Jo-Ann, Tina Fabrique, Marjorie Johnson, Akin Babatundé, Alan Govenar and More at TEXAS IN PARIS at The York Theatre Company
THE WIZ Turns 40- Photos from Original Broadway Production and BC/EFA Gypsy of The Year Celebration Featuring André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Christina Sajous, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White and More 
Photos: André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White in 40th Anniversary of The WIZ Tribute at BC/EFA’s GYPSY OF THE YEAR; Competition Breaks Records With Over $5 Million as Hugh Jackman’s THE RIVER Brings in Top Donation

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Feb. 3: BD Wong and Russell Wong Guest Star on ‘NCIS: NEW ORLEANS’, Episode 1.13 – The Walking Dead
FEB. 4: “Fresh Off the Boat” Live Community Viewing Party at THE CIRCLE NYC with Hudson Yang
2015 Sundance Film Festival Lineup
Jan. 25: 11th Annual Asian American Pacific Filmmakers Experience in Park City at Club 301 – The Funn Networks Space
Asian American Film Lab Receives Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Community Benefit Grant
Stephen Adly Guirgis’ BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY Extends through March 22
Vineyard Theatre Presents World Premiere of Michael Mayer Helmed BROOKLYNITE Featuring Ann Harada, Nick Choksi, Matt Doyle, Nicolette Robinson, Andrew Call and More, January 30 – March 22
Tony Award-Winner Lillias White Stars with Scott Wakefield in The York Theatre Company’s World Premiere of TEXAS IN PARIS, January 27 – March 1
Star Trek’s George Takei to Headline 5th Annual Korematsu Day at City Arts and Lectures-Nourse Theatre in San Francisco on Jan. 30
Two-Time Tony Award Nominee André De Shields, Bowman Wright, E. Faye Butler, KenYatta Rogers, Jessica Frances Dukes and Michael Anthony Williams Set for Arena Stage’s King Hedley II, February 6- March 8, 2015
Remembering Garland Lee Thompson, Sr. (1938-2014); Memorial Set for February 14, 2015
Duwende Performs at Rockwood Music Hall on February 16; Photos of Concert with m-pact at The Bitter End
“Swimming Awkward Moment,” works by Arlan Huang on view at Trestle Gallery, February 20 – March 27
Novelist Jessica Hagedorn, Neal Katyal of Hogan Lovells, and John W. Kuo of Varian Medical Systems, to receive AALDEF 2015 Justice in Action Awards on February 23
Baryshnikov Arts Center Presents New York Premiere of Carmen De Lavallade’s Solo Show AS I REMEMBER IT in February 2015
Photos: Playwright Ayad Akhtar, Josh Radnor and Aasif Mandvi Talk DISGRACED at The Drama Book Shop
Rajiv Joseph Wins Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for New Play Guards at the Taj; Set for World Premiere at Atlantic Theater Company in May
Photos: Joe Mantegna and Danny Ramm Talk about ‘Criminal Minds’ Season 10 Episode Honoring Veterans and the late Meshach Taylor
Photos: Tony Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang, NEFA, Graham Sheffield CBE and Susan Stockton Receive 2015 ISPA Awards
Photos: Late Night at HERE LIES LOVE with Jaygee Macapugay, David Byrne, Jose Llana, Conrad Ricamora, Melody Butiu and More
Photos: Andrew Rannells and Zuzanna Szadkowski Visit Richard Thomas, Anna Chlumsky, Julie Halston and Annaleigh Ashford at YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU
Photos: Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, Micki Grant, Woodie King Jr., Voza Rivers, Talvin Wilks, Garland Thompson Jr., Charles Turner, Jamal Joseph, Debra Ann Byrd and More at harlem is…Theater
Baryshnikov Arts Center Presents New York Premiere of Carmen De Lavallade’s Solo Show AS I REMEMBER IT in February 2015
Unsuk Chin’s Opera Alice in Wonderland, Featuring Libretto Co-Written with David Henry Hwang, Set for UK Premiere at the Barbican Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Novels on March 8, 2015
Ken Watanabe, Kelli O’Hara, Ruthie Ann Miles, Conrad Ricamora, Jon Viktor Corpuz, Paul Nakauchi and More Set for Lincoln Center Theater’s The King and I 
Tam Mutu, Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt, Paul Nolan, Lora Lee Gayer, Melody Butiu, Julian Cihi and More Set for Broadway Bound Dr. Zhivago
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 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: © 2000-2015 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

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