To celebrate Zora Neale Hurston’s 125th birthday, Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre, in association with Castillo Theatre, will present Zora Neale Hurston: A Theatrical Biography by Laurence Holder from October 20 to November 20 at Castillo Theatre, 543 West 42nd Street in New York. Click here to purchase tickets.
Elizabeth Van Dyke and Joseph Lewis Edwards will recreate the characters they played in the play’s acclaimed 1998 production at The American Place Theatre: she as Hurston, he as the men in her life. Woodie King, Jr., Artistic Director of NFT, will direct and Wynn Handman, who helmed celebrated productions of the play at The American Place Theatre, is consulting director.
Zora Neale Hurston, ‘Queen of the Harlem Renaissance,’ was a prolific novelist, playwright and journalist of the 1920s and 30s. She walks the audience through her remarkable life in Laurence Holder’s bioplay, which captures her uninhibited and outspoken personality, chronicles the rise and fall of her literary career and above all, reveals her place in the politics of her time, from the twenties to the early 60’s. The play is rich with intimate portraits of her contemporaries, including poet Langston Hughes and novelist Richard Wright, and sparkles with excerpts from her significant works including “Mules and Men,” a 1935 story collection of powerful folklore.
Hurston’s many works include five novels, a folktale collection, numerous short stories, magazine articles and her autobiography. Of these, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is considered her most outstanding achievement.
Coinciding with this production, on October 28 Barnard College, Hurston’s alma mater, will present a symposium, “Hurston@125: Engaging with the Work and Legacy of Zora Neale Hurston,” to bring together scholars whose work builds upon her less well-known training in anthropology and interdisciplinary modes of analysis and expression. There will be panel discussions and a film screening of Hurston’s ethnographic work.
This production of “Zora Neale Hurston” has costume design by Gail Cooper-Hecht, set design by Richard Harmon, lighting design by Shirley Prendergast and sound and projection design by Bill Toles. Dramaturg is Arminda Thomas.
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.com, Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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