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 28 – 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


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).

The Tuesday, January 27 preview of Texas in Paris was delayed due to the blizzard, but performances will begin Wednesday, January 28 at 8:00 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.

Performance Schedule
Tuesday 7pm | Wednesday – Friday 8pm
Saturday 2:30 pm & 8pm | Sunday 2:30 pm
Audience discussions follow each matinee.

Check out the discount ticket codes below.

$36 tickets with code TEXAS1*
All performances January 27 – February 4

$46 tickets with code TEXAS2*
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday performances
February 6 – March 1

$56 tickets with code TEXAS3*
Friday, Saturday, Sunday performances
February 6 – March 1

*Regular ticket price $67.50

Online: Visit and enter a discount offer code. Phone: Call 212.935.5820 and mention a discount offer code.
In Person: Present a printout of this offer at The York Theatre Box Office, Theatre at St. Peter’s 619 Lexington Avenue @ 54th Street.

For groups 10+ Contact Marcia Pendelton at 646-467-7393 or by email at

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.

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.

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
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
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 
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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

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