Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Charlayne Woodward, Michele Shay, Chris Myers & More Set for Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ WAR at LCT3, May 21 – July 3

Charlayne Woodard

Charlayne Woodard

Charlayne Woodard, Michele Shay, Austin Durant, Reggie Gowland, Chris Myers, Rachel Nicks, Michele Shay and Lance Coadie Williams are featured in the LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater production of WAR by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz. WAR will begin performances Saturday, May 21; open Monday, June 6; and run for six weeks only through Sunday, July 3 at the Claire Tow Theater (150 West 65th Street).

In WAR, tensions escalate between Tate (to be played by Chris Myers) and Joanne (to be played by Rachel Nicks) after their mother (to be played by Charlayne Woodard) has a stroke. As they attack each other in their mother’s hospital room, they are ambushed by two strangers who make a shocking claim about their grandfather during WWII. With bold theatricality and disarming humor, WAR follows a fractured family as its members navigate the landmines of the past and try to broker peace with each other – and themselves – in the present.

WAR will have sets by Mimi Lien, costumes by Montana Blanco, lighting by Matt Frey, and sound by Bray Poor.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Photo by Lia Chang

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Photo by Lia Chang

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ plays include Gloria (Vineyard Theatre), Appropriate (Obie Award; Signature Theatre), Neighbors (The Public), and An Octoroon (Obie Award; Soho Rep, Theatre for a New Audience). He is currently a Residency Five playwright at the Signature Theatre. He is under commissions from LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club/Sloan, and Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Recent Honors include Windham-Campbell Prize for Drama, the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Theatre Award, the Benjamin H. Danks Award, the Steinberg Playwriting Award, and the inaugural Tennessee Williams Award. In addition to holding an M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU, Branden is also a graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at the Juilliard School. He currently teaches in the Hunter College Playwriting M.F.A. Program, where is a Master-Artist-in-Residence.

Lileana Blain-Cruz’s credits include the premiere of War at the Yale Rep; Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again currently playing at Soho Rep; Red Speedo at New York Theatre Workshop; a new translation of The Bakkhai at the Fisher Center at Bard College; Much Ado About Nothing at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Christina Anderson’s Hollow Roots, which premiered in the Under the Radar Festival, at the Public Theater; Project Realms, an electric pop opera performed at Sala; and A Guide to Kinship and Maybe Magic, a collaboration with choreographer Isabel Lewis and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, at Dance New Amsterdam. She is the co-founder and director of the ensemble company Overhead Projector which devises new work. A graduate of Princeton University, she received her M.F.A. in directing from the Yale School of Drama where she directed the opera Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, The Taming of the Shrew, Tall Skinny Cruel Cruel Boys, Buffalo Maine, Cavity, and Fox Play as part of the Carlotta Festival of New Plays. She was one of the co-artistic directors of the 2011-2012 Yale Cabaret and is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab.

The LCT3 2015-2016 season program is supported by generous grants from The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Ford Foundation, The Howard Gilman Foundation, Time Warner Foundation, the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund, The Educational Foundation of America, the J & AR Foundation, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Endowment support is generously provided by Daryl Roth.

About the Cast:
CHARLAYNE WOODARD LCT3: Stunning. Broadway: Ain’t Misbehavin’. Off Broadway: The Substance of Fire, The Witch of Edmonton (Obie Award); Suzan-Lori Parks’ In The Blood (Obie Award, Drama Desk nomination); Fabulation, Or The Re-Education of Undine; In Real Life (Audelco, Backstage West Garland, NAACP awards; DD, Outer Critics Circle noms); Sorrows & Rejoicings (Audelco Award); The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Film: Things Never Said, Unbreakable, The Crucible, Eye for an Eye. TV: “Chasing Life,” “The Leftovers,” “The Blacklist,” “Run for the Dream: The Gail Dever’s Story.” Oprah Winfrey’s “The Wedding,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “ER,” “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”

Austin Durant

AUSTIN DURANT LCT: MacbethWar Horse. Broadway: You Can’t Take It with You. Off-Broadway: Much Ado About Nothing. Regional: Hamlet, Death of a Salesman, Passion Play, American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose (Yale Repertory Theatre); Anna Christie (Old Globe); A Doctor in Spite of Himself (Intiman Theatre); The Illusion, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Oklahoma! (Berkshire Theatre Festival); The Fantasticks (Mum Puppet Theatre). TV: “Nurse Jackie,” “Person of Interest.” Education: B.A., Temple University; M.F.A., Yale School of Drama. Recipient of 2012 Leonore Annenberg Fellowship.

Reggie Gowland Reggie Gowland LCT: 4000 Miles. Off-Broadway: The Comedy of Errors (The Public). Regional: The Fox on the Fairway (George Street Playhouse), The Taming of the Shrew (Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Great Lakes Theater Festival), Seussical (Summer Theatre of New Canaan), Six Impossible Things (Filament Theatre Ensemble). Other Theater: A Different Kind of Animal, Baristas. TV: “Evan and Gareth…” Education: B.A., Northwestern University.

Chris Myers

CHRIS MYERS LCT3: brownsville song (b-side for tray). Off-Broadway: Whorl Inside a Loop, Little Children Dream of God (Roundabout), An Octoroon (Obie Award), Honky, Alondra Was Here, Phoebe in Winter, As Himself/10×25, Macbeth. Regional: Fences, The Golden Dragon, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Youth Ink Festival. Other theater: Uncle Vanya, Arms and the Man, Othello, The Crucible, Hurt Village, Book of Days, The Cold Front, The Americans (Julliard). Film: EVOL, Post-Emma. Education: The Juilliard School Drama Division, British American Drama Academy.

Michele Shay

MICHELE SHAY LCT: Playboy of the West Indies. Broadway: A Raisin in the Sun, Seven Guitars (Tony Award nomination), Home, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf, The Day Room (Drama Desk Award). Off-Broadway: The Vagina Monologues, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Coriolanus (New York Shakespeare Festival), Gem of the Ocean (Alliance Theatre), Radio Golf (Yale Repertory Theatre). Film: He’s Got Game, One True Thing. TV: NBC’s “Another World.”

Lance Coadie Williams

LANCE COADIE WILLIAMS LCT: Shows for Days. Theater: BootyCandy (Playwrights Horizons, Wilma Theater, Woolly Mammoth); The Convert (Wilma Theater); Sucker Punch; Marcus, or the Secret of Sweet (Studio Theatre); The Oedipus Plays (Shakespeare Theatre, Athens Greece Tour); Fences (Round House); Hamlet (Baltimore Shakespeare Festival); My Children! My Africa!, Blues for an Alabama Sky, The Children’s Hour, Fences (Everyman Theatre). TV: “The Wire.”

Rachel Nicks RACHEL NICKS Off-Broadway: And I and Silence (Signature Theatre), The Good Negro (The Public). Film: Ball Don’t Lie. TV: “Life Support” (HBO films); “The Affair;” “Nurse Jackie;” “Grey’s Anatomy;” “Crossing Jordan.” Education: The Juilliard School.

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and

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