Yale Rep’s production of August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, helmed by Timothy Douglas and featuring two-time Tony nominee André De Shields as Hedley, Rachel Leslie as Vera, Billy Eugene Jones as Floyd, Stephanie Berry as Louise, Wayne T. Carr as Canewell, Danny Johnson as Red Carter and Antoinette Crowe-Legacy as Ruby, kicks off previews tonight and will continue through Saturday, December 17th. Opening night is Thursday, December 1st. Yale Rep is located at 1120 Chapel Street in New Haven, CT.
The production team includes music director Dwight Andrews, scenic designer Fufan Zhang, costume designer An-lin Dauber, lighting designer Carolina Ortiz Herrera, Sound Designer and composer Fan Zhang, technical director Ian Hannan, dramaturg Catherine María Rodríguez, dialect coach Ron Carlos, fight director Rick Sordelet, casting director Tara Rubin Casting, stage manager Helen Irene Muller and assistant stage manager Bianca Hooi.
Pittsburgh, 1948. Following the untimely death of Floyd “Schoolboy” Barton, a local blues guitarist on the edge of stardom, friends grapple with his legacy. The fifth chapter in August Wilson’s epic Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning cycle, Seven Guitars strikes moving chords of the African American experience in the 20th century: faith, artistry, humor, oppression, brutality, and love.
Director Timothy Douglas and members of the Seven Guitars company narrate “Home,” a poem written for Yale Rep by August Wilson in 1985.
SEVEN GUITARS is the first of Yale Rep’s two 2016-17 Will Power! productions. The run includes 10:15AM performances on December 13 and 15, 2016, available only to high school groups. For information on Will Power! performances, contact Roger-Paul Snell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets for August Wilson‘s SEVEN GUITARS range from $12-99 and are available online at yalerep.org, by phone at (203) 432-1234, and in person at the Yale Rep Box Office (1120 Chapel Street). Student, senior, and group rates are also available.
ABOUT THE CAST
In a career spanning forty-seven years, André De Shields has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, choreographer and educator. Seven Guitars marks his second collaboration with Timothy Douglas, the first having been as “Stool Pigeon” in August Wilson’s King Hedley II. He is a Beinecke Fellow at Yale School of Drama this season. De Shields is the recipient of three Jeff Awards, one as Director for Victory Gardens’ 1987 production of The Colored Museum, and two as Featured Performer in a Musical for the Goodman Theatre productions of Play On! (1998) and Mary Zimmerman’s The Jungle Book (2013). In fact Mr. De Shields’ professional career began at Chicago’s Shubert Theatre, now the Bank of America Theatre, in the 1969 production of Hair. From there he moved on to The Me Nobody Knows at the Civic Opera House, and ultimately became a member of The Organic Theatre Company, where he created the role of Xander the Unconquerable, Ruler of the Sixth Dimension in the cult sensation Warp. A multiple Tony Award nominee, he is best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway musicals: The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Play On! and The Full Monty. Recent projects include creating the role of Ron in the Broadway bound musical Gotta Dance at the Bank or America Theatre in Chicago; appearing as Cardinal Gremio, Curtis and Vincentio in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of The Taming of the Shrew featuring an all-male cast; WOZ: A Rock Cabaret and his self-penned CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. at Victory Gardens Theater. His numerous accolades include an Emmy Award for the NBC Special based on Ain’t Misbehavin’, the 2007 Village Voice OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance, the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award, a 2012 Fox Foundation Fellowship in Distinguished Achievement, Florida Atlantic University’s 2014 Making Waves Award, the Theatre School at DePaul University 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Riant Theatre’s 2016 Pioneer of the Arts Award, the Black Theatre Network’s 2016 Winona Lee Fletcher Award, nine AUDELCO Awards. and two Doctor of Fine Arts degrees honoris causa one each from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the State University of New York-College at Buffalo. A triple Capricorn, Mr. De Shields is the ninth of eleven children born and reared in Baltimore, Maryland. www.andredeshields.com
ANTOINETTE CROWE-LEGACY (RUBY) is making her Yale Rep debut. She is a second-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where her credits include The Three Sisters, Some Bodies Travel, and Our Lady of 121st Street. She holds a BFA in acting from Southern Methodist University, where she appeared in The Women, For Colored Girls…, and The Skriker, among others. She has also performed with Soul Rep Theatre and the Dallas Theater Center.
Stephanie Berry (LOUISE) is making her Yale Rep debut. She most recently appeared in Mothers and Sons at Cincinnati Playhouse. Other recent credits include world premieres of Autumn, Repairing a Nation (Crossroads Theatre Company), Safe House (Cincinnati Playhousein the Park), Wild with Happy (Center Stage), Autumn’s Harvest (Lincoln Center Education), and Iced-Out, Shackled and Chained (National Black Theatre in Harlem). Her film work includes the upcoming OG with Jeffrey Wright and Blue Angels, as well as Delivery Man, The Invasion, No Reservations, and Finding Forrester. On television she has appeared on The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, Louie, Broad City, and all of the Law & Order series. She is the winner of an OBIE Award for The Shaneequa Chronicles, her solo production about coming of age in Harlem. She is a recipient of the Distinguished Artist Fellowship from the TCG/Fox Foundation Fellowship. Stephanie is a founding member of Blackberry Productions Theater Company, a Harlem-based organization that develops new works and brings theatre to underserved populations. She is currently touring The Magic of Storytelling to schools and universities, featuring original and traditional folktales.
Wayne T. Carr (CANEWELL) is making his Yale Rep debut. He spent four seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where he played Stokley Carmichael in All the Way, John Lewis in The Great Society, Caliban in The Tempest, and the title role in Pericles (also at Folger Theatre and Guthrie Theater), as well as roles in Antony and Cleopatra, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and As You Like It. Other theatre credits include Funk It Up (Joe’s Pub); Richard II (The Pearl Theatre Company); Bomb-itty of Errors, Troilus and Cressida (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival); The Glass Menagerie, Trouble in Mind, Eurydice, A Christmas Carol (The Milwaukee Rep); as well as productions at Goodman Theatre, American Players Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, among others. Film and television: Who’s Afraid of the Big Black Wolf (Pasadena International Film Festival, Best Actor in a Short), Pleading Guilty (Pilot), and Matadors (Pilot). Education: BA, Frostburg State University; MFA, Penn State.
Danny Johnson (RED CARTER) is making his Yale Rep debut. Broadway credits include All the Way and The Song of Jacob Zulu. Off-Broadway: The Last Saint on Sugar Hill, Our Lady of 121st Street, A Soldier’s Play. Regional: The Mountaintop (True Colors Theatre), What I Learned in Paris (ALLIANCE THEATRE), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Goodman Theatre), A Raisin in the Sun (Intiman Theatre), as well as productions at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Huntington Theatre Company, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The Black Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Weston Playhouse, Cleveland Play House, and Chicago Shakespeare Theater, among many others. Television: Daredevil, Luke Cage, Quantico, Shades of Blue, Law & Order: SVU, Gotham, House of Cards, Blue Bloods, Damages, and The Sopranos; film: Finding Her, Don King: Only in America, Reservation Road, and Frequency, among others. Danny is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University.
BILLY Eugene Jones (FLOYD BARTON) has previously appeared at Yale Rep in Breath, Boom; Richard II; and Death of a Salesman. His Broadway credits include A Raisin in the Sun, The Trip to Bountiful, The Big Knife, The Mountaintop, Passing Strange, Radio Golf, and Gem of the Ocean. Off-Broadway credits include Pitbulls (Audelco nomination for Best Actor; Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), The Jammer (Atlantic Theatre Company), In the Footprint (The Civilians), Waiting for Godot and Three Sisters (Classical Theatre of Harlem). Regional credits include Macbeth (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), The Good Negro (Goodman Theatre), Stick Fly (Elliot Norton nomination for Best Supporting Actor; Arena Stage, Huntington Theatre Company), Othello (California Shakespeare Theater), Spunk (Actors Theatre of Louisville), and The People Before the Park (Premiere Stages). Other stage credits include productions at Two River Theater, ALLIANCE THEATRE, Hartford Stage, and numerous productions at The Dallas Theater Center. Billy is a graduate of Yale School of Drama.
RACHEL LESLIE (VERA) is making her Yale Rep debut. Her most recent credits include All the Way at Cleveland Play House and Wellesley Girl by Brendan Pelsue at the 2016 Humana Festival. In New York City, she’s worked with New Georges, Keen Company, 78th Street Theatre Lab, and at HERE. Some of the regional theatres she’s appeared at include The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Guthrie Theater, Syracuse Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Indiana Repertory Theatre, and The Berkshire Theatre Festival. Film and television credits include Difficult People, Unforgettable, Alpha House, 666 Park Avenue, Law & Order, The Ticket, and Quietly. Rachel is a member of Quick Silver Theater Company and The Actor’s Center. She holds an MFA from Temple University.
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM
August Wilson (Playwright) authored Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II, and Radio Golf. These works explore the heritage and experience of the descendants of Africans in North America, decade-by-decade, over the course of the twentieth century. His work garnered Pulitzer Prizes for Fences (1987) and The Piano Lesson (1990), a Tony Award for Fences, Great Britain’s Olivier Award for Jitney, and eight New York Drama Critics Circle Awards. The cast recording of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom received a 1985 Grammy Award, and The Piano Lesson received a 1995 Emmy nomination. He received Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships in Playwriting, the Whiting Writers Award, 2003 Heinz Award, 1999 National Humanities Medal from the President of the United States, numerous honorary degrees from colleges and universities, and the only high school diploma ever issued by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. He was an alumnus of New Dramatists, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a 1995 inductee into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The Broadway theatre located at 245 West 52nd Street was renamed the August Wilson Theatre on October 16, 2005. He is survived by his two daughters, Sakina Ansari and Azula Carmen Wilson, and his wife, costume designer Constanza Romero.
Timothy Douglas (Director) directed the world premiere of August Wilson’s Radio Golf at Yale Rep and earned his MFA in Acting from Yale School of Drama. Recent credits include Disgraced, King Hedley II (Arena Stage); Father comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2, & 3, Two Trains Running (Roundhouse Theatre); the world premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s The Lake Effect (Silk Road Rising; Jeff Award: Best New Work); and the Off-Broadway production of Bronte: A Portrait of Charlotte. He is currently an Associate Artist at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, where he has directed Mothers and Sons, The Trip to Bountiful, Clybourne Park, The North Pool, Buzzer, and the world premiere of Safe House. For three seasons he served as Associate Artistic Director at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where he directed a dozen productions including three Humana Festival premieres. He has directed projects for American Conservatory Theater, Guthrie Theater, Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep, Steppenwolf, Playmakers Rep, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Downstage (New Zealand), Nationaltheatret (Norway), among many others; served as a Director-in-Residence at Center Theatre Group and New Dramatists as well as on the faculties of ACT, UNC School of the Arts, USC, New Zealand Drama School and Emerson College. TimothyDouglas.org
Dwight Andrews (MUSIC DIRECTOR) served as Resident Music Director at Yale Rep under Lloyd Richards, during which time his credits included Julius Caesar, Ubu Rex, The Resurrection of Lady Lester, Fences, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. More recently, he served as composer for the 2009 production of Death of a Salesman. His Broadway credits include Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (original and revival), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, Fences, Seven Guitars, and A Raisin in the Sun (revival). Other theatre credits include Everybody’s Ruby, Gertrude Stein’s Photograph, The Resurrection of Lady Lester (Off-Broadway); August Wilson’s 20th Century (Music Supervisor, The Kennedy Center); as well as regional productions of Playboy of the West Indies, Jitney, Heliotrope Bouquet, Blues in the Night, From the Mississippi Delta, Miss Evers’ Boys, Flying West, Blues for An Alabama Sky, and Gem of the Ocean. Film and television: The Old Settler, Miss Evers’ Boys, and The Piano Lesson. He has taught at Yale, Harvard, and Rice Universities and is an Associate Professor of Music Theory at Emory University in Atlanta.
FUFAN ZHANG (SCENIC DESIGNER) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where her credits include Amy and the Orphans and The Oresteia. Other credits include Phaedra’s Love (Yale Summer Cabaret, 2016); Salt, Pepper, Ketchup (Yale Cabaret, 2015); Ya Shan (Golden Hedgehog University Drama Festival, 2013); production design for Yamakawa, a series of photographs by Youjia Qu; The Terrorists (Best Foreign Short Film Award, Seoul International Youth Film Festival, 2011); Show Time (Best Film, 48 Hour Film Project, 2014); and the short film How to Kill Juan-Juan. Fufan has a BA in stage, film, and television design from The Central Academy of Drama in Beijing.
AN-LIN DAUBER (COSTUME DESIGNER) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where her credits include Othello and The Oresteia. Other credits include Antarctica! Which Is to Say Nowhere, Adam Geist (Yale Summer Cabaret); Salt, Pepper, Ketchup, Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again., The Show Sound of Snow (Yale Cabaret); and the world premiere of The Square Root of Three Sisters, coproduced by the Dmitry Krymov Lab and Yale School of Drama, presented at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. An-lin has a BA in art history from Stanford University. anlindauber.com
CAROLINA ORTIZ HERRERA (LIGHTING DESIGNER) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where she has designed Some Bodies Travel, Women Beware Women, The Skin of Our Teeth, and The Troublesome Reign of King John. Other credits include The Slow Sound of Snow, Caught, Lake Kelsey Musical, Trouble in Tahiti, The Untitled Project, Don’t Be Too Surprised, (Yale Cabaret); The Recommendation (IAMA Theatre Company, 2014 Ovation Award for Best Production of a Play); The Marriage of Bette and Boo, A Raisin in the Sun (University of La Verne); Esther’s Moustache (Studio Stage); The Onion Creek (Son of Semele); Hit, Wild in Wichita, Melancholia, Habitat (the Latino Theatre Company); as well as lighting, projections, and scenery for Datugan Dance Theatre. Her directing projects include Strangers in Disguise and The Women of Juarez (University of La Verne). Carolina was born and raised in Mexico City and received a BA in theatre from the School of Theatre, Film and Television at UCLA. carolinaeortiz.com
FAN ZHANG (Sound Designer AND COMPOSER) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where her credits include New Domestic Architecture and Fucking A; The Troublesome Reign of King John, The Children, and Women Beware Women (assistant). She also assisted on War (Yale Rep). Her other credits include The Commencement of William Tan and Solo Bach (Yale Cabaret). She has a BA in film sound design from Beijing Film Academy.
IAN HANNAN (TECHNICAL DIRECTOR) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where his credits the 2016 Carlotta Festival and Coriolanus. Previously at Yale Rep he served as Assistant Technical Director for Arcadia. Prior to attending Yale, Ian served seven years as Technical Director at Concord Academy, an independent preparatory school producing music, theatre, and dance with professional designers and directors. He has also worked on Broadway shows and tours as a draftsman for ShowMotion. Ian has a BA in theatre from the University of New Hampshire.
CATHERINE MARÍA RODRÍGUEZ (PRODUCTION DRAMATURG) is a second-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where she founded El Colectivo, Yale’s pan-Latinx affinity theatre organization. Recent credits include Amy and the Orphans (Yale School of Drama), And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens, and Salt Pepper Ketchup (Yale Cabaret). Catherine currently serves as a core stakeholder for the Lark’s México/United States Playwright Exchange, as well as on the Latina/o Theatre Commons’ National Steering Committee, Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas’ Board of Directors, and Yale School of Drama’s Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Working Group. Prior, she co-organized #WikiTurgy, a national Edit-A-Thon to diversify Wikipedia’s theatre coverage and co-hosted the Dramaturgy Open Office Hours Project. She was the Dramaturgy and Artistic Fellow at Baltimore Center Stage and a visiting instructor of dramaturgy for Catholic University’s MFA playwriting program. Catherine proudly calls New Orleans and Nicaragua home. Past credits: Baltimore Center Stage, El Círculo Teatral (México), Borderlands, Steppenwolf, and Northwestern University (Performance Studies). Honors: 2016 Role Call of People to Watch, TCG’s American Theatre; 2014 Dramaturg Driven Grant, LMDA; 2014 Leadership Institute Fellow, National Association of Latina/o Arts and Cultures; 2013 Dramaturgy Debut Panelist, Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Carnegie Mellon: BFA, dramaturgy; BA, Latina/o studies. Black Lives Matter.
Ron Carlos (DIALECT COACH) is a New York-based voice, speech, and dialect coach. He is currently a Lecturer in Acting at Yale School of Drama and has taught at Harvard University, City College of New York, Marymount Manhattan College, the Atlantic Theatre School (NYU/Tisch School of the Arts), the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and The National Student Leadership Conference. Coaching credits include The Glass Menagerie and It’s Only a Play on Broadway; Party People, Sweat, Plenty, Privacy (The Public Theater); The Capables (Judson Gym); War (Yale Rep); The Piano Lesson (Hartford Stage); Misalliance, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); The Lily’s Revenge, The Snow Queen (American Repertory Theater); Master Harold…and the Boys (Gloucester Stage Company); television: “Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix), “Madam Secretary” (CBS), “Power” (STARZ), “Unforgettable” (CBS) and “Fringe” (Fox); and film: Look Away. He received his MFA in Voice and Speech Pedagogy from the American Repertory Theater Institute at Harvard University and is an Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework.
Rick Sordelet (FIGHT DIRECTOR) Theatre credits include 65 Broadway productions and 60 productions on five continents in hundreds of cities around the world including Misery starring Bruce Willis, Cymbeline for The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park, Big Love for Signature Theatre, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Waiting for Godot, No Man’s Land, and Ben Hur Live (Rome, European Tour). Opera: Cyrano starring Placido Domingo (Metropolitan Opera, The Royal Opera House, La Scala), and Don Carlo and Cold Mountain (Santa Fe Opera). Film: The Game Plan, Dan in Real Life, and Hamlet. Rick was Chief Stunt Coordinator for Guiding Light for 12 years and One Life to Live, representing over 1,000 episodes of daytime television. Rick sits on the board of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and teaches at Yale School of Drama and HB Studio. He is a recipient of an Edith Oliver Award for Sustained Excellence from the Lucille Lortel Foundation and a Jeff Award for Best Fight Direction for Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). Rick has created the new stage combat company, Sordelet INK, with his son ChristIan Kelly-Sordelet. They have over thirty years of action movement experience for film, television, and stage. sordeletINK.com
Tara Rubin Casting (CASTING DIRECTOR) has been casting at Yale Rep since 2004. Selected Broadway: Falsettos; A Bronx Tale; Dear Evan Hansen; Cats; Disaster!; School of Rock; Dr Zhivago; It Shoulda Been You; Gigi; Bullets Over Broadway; Aladdin; LES MISERABLES; Mothers and Sons; Big Fish; The Heiress; How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; A Little Night Music; Billy Elliot; Shrek; Guys and Dolls; Young Frankenstein; The Little Mermaid; Mary Poppins; Spamalot; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; The Producers; Mamma Mia!; Jersey Boys; The Phantom of the Opera. Off-Broadway: Here Lies Love; Old Jews Telling Jokes; Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Regional: Paper Mill Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, Bucks County Playhouse.
HELEN IRENE MULLER (STAGE MANAGER) is a third-year MFA candidate at Yale School of Drama, where her credits include The Oresteia, The Winter’s Tale, Deer and the Lovers, and The Seagull. She served as Assistant Stage Manager on Yale Rep’s production of Happy Days last season. Her other credits include the Broadway Under the Stars series in Jack London State Park (Transcendence Theatre Company) and The Musical of Musicals (A Musical) (Midnight Sun Theatre). Helen holds a BA in theatre and French from St. Olaf College.
ABOUT Yale Repertory Theatre
Yale Repertory Theatre, the internationally celebrated professional theatre in residence at Yale School of Drama, has championed new work since 1966, producing well over 100 premieres-including two Pulitzer Prize winners and four other nominated finalists. Twelve Yale Rep productions have advanced to Broadway, garnering more than 40 Tony Award nominations and eight Tony Awards. Yale Rep is also the recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.
Established in 2008, Yale’s Binger Center for New Theatre has distinguished itself as one of the nation’s most robust and innovative new play programs. To date, the Binger Center has supported the work of more than 50 commissioned artists and underwritten the world premieres and subsequent productions of 24 new American plays and musicals at Yale Rep and theatres across the country-including this season’s Scenes from Court Life, or the whipping boy and his prince by Sarah Ruhl, Imogen Says Nothing by Aditi Brennan Kapil, and Mary Jane by Amy Herzog.
For more information, including a complete list of Yale Rep commissioned artists, visit yalerep.org/center.
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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 Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.