Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Project1VOICE/1PLAY/1DAY 2016 NYC Flagship Presentation of THE COLORED MUSEUM at Kumble Theater on Jun. 20

OVER 40 THEATER COMPANIES, MUSEUMS AND OTHER DIVERSE INSTITUTIONS WILL PARTICIPATE IN THIS ONE NIGHT ONLY INTERNATIONAL SALUTE TO AMERICAN THEATRE WITH 30th ANNIVERSARY BENEFIT STAGED READINGS OF THE AWARD-WINNING THE COLORED MUSEUM BY GEORGE C. WOLFE

The Colored Museum

Project1VOICE in association with the Crossroads Theatre Company is set to celebrate the 30th year anniversary of the award-winning, The Colored Museum written by two-time Tony award-winning theater polymath and director/writer of Broadway’s Shuffle Along, George C. Wolfe. The flagship presentation will take place on June 20th at Kumble Theater in Brooklyn on the campus of Long Island University at 7PM. Tickets are $30 and may be purchased at www.kumbletheater.org or by calling 718-488-1624.

The directors for the New York flagship presentation include Carl Cofield, Timothy Douglas, Andre Garner, JoAnn Hunter, Billy Eugene Jones, Tonya Pinkins, Lee Kenneth Richardson, Niegel Smith, Awoye Timpo, Lorna Ventura and Nicole Watson. This event will be ASL interpreted. The cast to date includes: Alva Chinn, Suzzanne Douglas (How Stella Got Her Groove Back), Jessica Frances Dukes, Treshelle Edmond (Spring Awakening), Queen Esther (Harlem Song), Harriett D. Foy (Amazing Grace), Arthur French (A Trip to Bountiful), Brandon Gill (Holler If Ya Hear Me)’Carmen Gill, Bianca LaVerne Jones, Phyllis Johnson, Stanley Wayne Mathis (The Book of Mormon), Melanie Nicholls-King (Familiar), Clarke Peters (Royale), Myra Lucretia Taylor (Familiar), Cesar Villavicencio, Lillias White (Gotta Dance), Renauld White, Natasha Yvette Williams (Chicago). The benefit staged reading will be produced as part of the 6th annual Project1VOICE/1PLAY/1DAY.

The event will also recognize musical director, conductor, arranger, musician, Linda Twine (Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, Jelly’s Last Jam and The Color Purple) with the Project1VOICE HONORS Award for Outstanding Achievements in the American Theater and producer, composer, arranger, orchestrator, musical director, musical supervisor, musician, Danny Holgate (Bubblin’ Brown Sugar, Eubie, Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope) will receive the Project1VOICE HONORS Lifetime Achievement Award.

Staged readings will be presented throughout the US and abroad, on Sunday, June, 19 and Monday, June 20,, 2016. Check your local listings for exact dates and times.

Project1VOICE/1PLAY/1DAY is an internationally recognized cultural event committed to presenting programs and initiatives that promote and support the American theater specifically black playwrights. Since Project1VOICE’s inception in 2009, it has played a vital role in making theater accessible to communities, connecting with a widely diverse spectrum of artists, teens, and families through its robust educational initiatives and public programs which have prompted cross-cultural conversations for diverse audiences.

George C. Wolfe’s The Colored Museum premiered at the Crossroads Theatre Company of New Jersey on March 26, 1986 with direction by Crossroads’ Founding Artistic Director Lee Kenneth Richardson, music composed and arranged by Kathryn Bostic and choreography by Hope Clark. This play helped put both Crossroads and George C. Wolfe on the national map. Told through a series of 11 exhibits, The Colored Museum explores the journey of self-identification, which shows both black history and the impact of African culture within America. Satire and dark comedy are used to expose the audience to a different look into the identity crisis that people of African descent struggle with. Within six months of its premier the play found a new home at the Public Theater in New York City. The Colored Museum was later performed at the Royal Court Theater in London, England, beginning July 29, 1987. It has now been produced in cities around the world.

In his review of the original 1986 off-Broadway production of The Colored Museum, New York Times theatre critic Frank Rich stated the play’s central question — “How do American Black men and women at once honor and escape the legacy of suffering that is the baggage of their past? Playwright George C. Wolfe faced this loaded question head-on in his play, embracing its paradoxical nature by creating a work of dramatic art he described as part “exorcism, part party, and wholly satirical.”

“George C. Wolfe is an American theater treasure who masterfully weaves drama, satire and social commentary with thought-provoking seamlessness. His truth always dares us to firmly stand greatly—unapologetically beautiful and brash as we truly are,” says Project1VOICE founder and event coordinator, Erich McMillan-McCall.

The Colored Museum is presented with special permission granted by Dramatists Play Service, Inc.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

George C. Wolfe won Tony Awards for his direction of the musical Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk and for Tony Kushner’s Angel’s in America: Millennium Approaches. His additional Broadway productions include Lucky Guy; The Normal Heart; A Free Man of Color; Topdog/Underdog; The Tempest; Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992; Angels in America: Perestroika; the musicals Caroline, or Change; The Wild Party; On The Town; Jelly’s Last Jam; and Elaine Stritch’s one-woman show At Liberty. Producer of the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival from 1993-2005, he also wrote the award-winning The Colored Museum, adapted/directed Spunk (Obie Award), created Harlem Song for the Apollo Theater, and conceived/directed “A Broadway Celebration of the American Musical at the White House.” He directed the films You’re Not You and “Lackawanna Blues” (HBO), for which he won the Directors Guild Award, a National Board of Review Award, a Christopher Award, and the Humanitas Prize. His most recent is the re-imaging of the 1921 musical Shuffle Along now playing on Broadway at the Music Box Theater.

ABOUT PROJECT1VOICE
Project1VOICE, Inc. (P1V) is a 501(c) (3), nonprofit performing arts service organization based in New York City. Its mission is to promote and support black theater, including black playwrights. The company was founded and is now led by Erich McMillan-McCall. P1V was formed after the severe economic downturn in 2009, to bring national attention to the growing plight of black theater companies and the growing under-appreciation of works by certain black playwrights—both emerging and established. P1V’s core activity is the coordination of Project1VOICE/1PLAY/1DAY, an international, same-day, staged reading series that revives and reintroduces, neglected, forgotten and/or under-appreciated, seminal works written by black playwrights for the American theater.

To date, P1V, participating United States organizations have included League of Resident Theatres (LORT) members, black theater companies and museums, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Actors’ Equity Association, the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, the Black Theater Network and the National Urban League along with other diverse educational, artistic and social institutions, both nationally and internationally.

The company’s robust initiatives and programs have proven to be essential to the maintenance and creative vigor of an important sector of the English speaking theater. P1V-coordinated staged play readings have also prompted full main stage productions at LORT theaters. For more information visit www.Project1VOICE.org

ABOUT CROSSROADS THEATRE COMPANY
Crossroads Theatre Company of New Jersey is the recipient of the 1999 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in the United States. The Theatre Critics Association together with the American Theatre Wing and the League of Regional Theatres and Producers presented the prestigious Tony Award to Crossroads in recognition of its 22-year history of artistic accomplishment and excellence. Crossroads is the first African American theater to receive this honor in the 33-year history of this special award category. When co-founders Ricardo Khan and L. Kenneth Richardson envisioned a space where, as actors, the two young men could work on substantive, non-stereotypical roles, little did they realize that their vision would grow into the major institution that it is today. For additional information visit www.crossroadstheatrecompany.org

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 Playbill.com.

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