Chicago, IL - Court Theatre, under the leadership of Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director, and Executive Director Angel Ysaguirre, continues its 2018/19 season with For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange and directed by Seret Scott. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf runs March 14 — April 14, 2019 at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. The press opening is Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 7:30pm.
A sisterhood of eight women tell their stories through dramatic prose poetry, music, and movement. Told in vivid language, their experiences resound with fearless beauty and unity, despite exposing the unending challenges and oppressions that women of color face every day.
Director Seret Scott ( Native Son ) returns to playwright Ntozake Shange's cherished work after performing as a member of the original Broadway cast from 1976-1978. She will inspire new audiences with this series of stories that still resonate profoundly forty years later.
"When we selected Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf for our season, we knew it was cherished. We've come to understand this depth of feeling even more clearly as we've heard from our patrons over the past months. With this production, it seems we're offering something that actually belongs to our community. We are so thrilled to be sharing Shange's powerful words in a city and at a moment when its messages of hope, resilience, and empowerment are needed more than ever," notes Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director.
The cast of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf includes Melody Angel, Melanie Brezill, Leah Casey, Melissa DuPrey, Angelica Katie, Patrese D. McClain, Alexis J. Roston, and AnJi White.
The creative team of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf includes Samantha C. Jones ( costume design ), Paul Toben ( lighting design ), Andre Pluess ( sound design ), Melody Angel ( additional music ), Leah Casey ( choreography ), and Gabrielle Randle ( production dramaturg ).
About the Artists
SERET SCOTT ( Director ) directed Spunk, Native Son and Electra at Court Theatre. Directing credits: Old Globe Theatre ( San Diego—Associate Artist ), Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center Theatre Company, New Victory Theatre, and Second Stage Theatre ( Off-Broadway ), Philadelphia Theatre Company, Arena Stage, Ford's Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Studio Theatre ( DC ), American Conservatory Theatre ( San Francisco ), South Coast Repertory and L.A. Theatreworks ( CA ), Long Wharf Theatre and Yale Repertory Theatre ( New Haven ), Two River Theatre Company ( NJ ), Hartford Stage ( CT ), Indiana Repertory Theatre, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre and National Black Theatre ( NYC ), Alliance Theatre ( Atlanta ), Alley Theatre ( Houston ), Actors Theatre of Louisville, Virginia Stage Company, New Mexico Repertory, and Playmakers Repertory Company ( NC ). She is a member of the executive board of the Stage Directors and Choreographer's Society and a recipient of a TCG/PEW Residency Grant ( Long Wharf Theatre ) and Drama Desk Award in acting ( My Sister, My Sister ). Ms. Scott's play Second Line was produced by Passage Theatre ( NJ ) and Tribute Productions ( DC ).
MELODY ANGEL ( Lyric/Additional Music ) was recently named one of 2018's HOT New Faces of Chicago Theatre by Chris Jones at the Chicago Tribune. She made her theatre debut at Goodman Theatre in the highly rated production of Father Comes Home From the Wars by Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks. Melody's performance led her to star in the short film Knockout by Alley Cake Films, for the 48 Hour Film Project ( Chicago ). This short film went on to win best film, and will now be a part of the International Film Festival Filmapalooza 2019. Melody Angel is also a singer/songwriter/guitarist, who has performed all over the world with her "Blues-Rock-Soul."
MELANIE BREZILL ( Lady in Yellow ) returns to Court Theatre. Previous Court Theatre credits include Man in the Ring and Caroline, or Change, for which she received a Jeff Nomination. Broadway and National Tour Credits: The Book of Mormon and Mamma Mia! Regional Credits: Nina Simone: Four Women ( Northlight Theatre ); Little Shop of Horrors, Aida ( Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre ); Crowns, A Christmas Carol ( Goodman Theatre ); Last Stop on Market Street, My Wonderful Birthday Suit, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane ( Chicago Children's Theatre ); The MLK Project ( Writers Theatre ); Yeast Nation ( American Theater Company ); Living Green ( Victory Gardens Theater ); Once on this Island ( Porchlight Music Theatre ); and Seussical, Willy Wonka ( Chicago Shakespeare Theater ). TV Credits: Empire. Melanie is the creator and producer of The Grandmother Project, an original docu-series featured on YouTube and Vimeo.
LEAH CASEY ( Lady in Purple/Choreographer ) is a Chicago-based performer. She was most recently seen on Court Theatre's stage in Manual Cinema's Frankenstein as Mary Wollstonecraft, Percy Shelley, and Caroline Frankenstein. Some of her previous credits include Romeo and Juliet with Teatro Vista, and STORM with Walkabout/Moonfool. When not onstage, Leah can be found behind the mic narrating audiobooks, or working with the cast of Project STELLAR, a science fiction podcast.
MELISSA DUPREY ( Lady in Blue ) is an actor, stand-up comic, activist, playwright, and musician from Humboldt Park, Chicago. She has 3 critically acclaimed solo shows with two more in development. Her play Brujuja is an official selection of 16th Street's 2019 Pop Up Reading Series. She was a new talent for the 2014 ABC Diversity Showcase in NYC. She is featured in the Emmy-nominated web series, "Brown Girls," in development with HBO. She has multiple credits in TV and Film. She has been seen at The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Free Street Theater, and is honored to be making her Court Theatre debut. She is an Ensemble Member at Urban Theater Company, and the Director of Production and Community Relations at Free Street Theater.
ANGELICA KATIE ( Lady in Green ) After receiving her degree in Theatre Performance from Bradley University, Angelica has spent her acting career in LA, NYC, and at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, MA. She was most recently seen off-Broadway in the premiere of The Parlour at The Rattlestick Theatre in NYC. Angelica is making her Chicago debut in the city where she was born and raised.
PATRESE D. MCCLAIN ( Lady in Brown ) returns to Court Theatre where she previously appeared in: Tartuffe, The Misanthrope, and Spunk. Additional theatre credits: The Mountaintop, Skeleton Crew ( People's Light and Theatre Co. ), Skeleton Crew ( Actors Theatre of Louisville ); Hang ( Remy Bumppo ); Bright Half Life ( About Face ); SS! Romeo and Juliet( Chicago Shakespeare Theater ); Cocked ( Victory Gardens ); Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight ( Windy City Playhouse ); White Guy on the Bus ( Northlight ). Regional Theatre: Two Trains Running ( GEVA Theatre Center ); Crumbs From The Table Of Joy ( Mustard Seed ), Romeo and Juliet, Pericles, For Colored Girls, No Child… ( Black Rep ). Recent Film/Television: NBC Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, USA Sirens, ABC Detroit 1-8-7, WIDOWS ( directed by Steve McQueen ), and CAPTIVE STATE ( Directed by Rupert Wyatt ). Recognitions include: Barrymore Winner for Outstanding Leading Actress ( Mountaintop ), Barrymore Nomination for Outstanding Leading Actor ( Skeleton Crew ), Jeff Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress ( White Guy on the Bus and Spunk ), and St. Louis Circle Theatre Award for Best Actress ( No Child… ). Training: MFA Pennsylvania State University, BFA Howard University.
ALEXIS J. ROSTON ( Lady in Orange ) has been deemed a seasoned triple threat. Her list of accomplishments in musical theatre aren't simply on stage. She has directed as well as arranged vocals for several productions throughout the Chicagoland area. She most recently directed a well-received Aurin Squire piece, Defacing Michael Jackson ( BTAA nomination for Best Direction of an Ensemble ), for Flying Elephants Productions. Alexis is an award winner ( Jeff Award, Black Excellence Award, Black Theatre Alliance Award ) for her performance as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill ( Porchlight Music Theatre ). Other Chicago credits include: Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair ( Paramount Theatre ); Ain't Misbehavin', Crowns ( Goodman Theatre ); Porgy and Bess, Spunk, The Piano Lesson ( Court Theatre ); Shrek ( Chicago Shakespeare Theatre ); What I Learned in Paris, Black Nativity, Seven Guitars ( Congo Square Theatre Company ); and Company, The Old Settler ( Writers Theatre ). Her TV credits include The Chi, Chicago PD, Chicago Code, and a national commercial for Land O'Frost lunch meat. Alexis is a proud ensemble member of Congo Square Theatre Company, as well as a member of Actor's Equity and SAG-AFTRA. She is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.
ANJI WHITE ( Lady in Red ) Theatre credits include: TimeLine Theatre's The Last Wife ( US Premiere ), the critically acclaimed Chicago premiere; Sunset Baby ( Equity Jeff nomination-Best Actress, Black Excellence Awards nomination, Black Theatre Alliance Award-Best Actress ); and Pulse Theatre's Fabulations, or the Re-education of Undine Barnes ( Black Theatre Alliance nomination-Best Ensemble ). She originated the role of Regina "G" Whitnall in TimeLine Theatre's To Catch A Fish, and was in American Theatre Company's docudrama of The Project( s ) ( Black Theatre Alliance Award-Best Ensemble ), and more. TV/Film credits: The Chi ( Showtime ), Empire ( FOX ), Chicago PD ( NBC ), and Home for the Weekend pilot ( Comedy Central ).
beyond the rainbow: Court Community Conversations
In conjunction with the play, Court will be hosting a series of community-focused events to engage new audiences with this classic from the African American canon.
beyond the rainbow: Court Community Conversations features a number of exciting opportunities for audiences to engage further with the central themes of the play. Planned events include a reading of Boogie Woogie Landscapes, another work by seminal playwright Ntozake Shange, as part of Court's Spotlight Reading Series, on March 8 at 6:30pm at Experimental Station in Woodlawn. beyond the rainbow will also feature a number of post-performance conversations, panel discussions, and a night of poetry and storytelling open to the community.
Tickets, priced $50-$74 ( $38-$52 for previews ), are available at the Court Theatre box office ( 5535 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago ), by calling ( 773 ) 753-4472, or online at www.CourtTheatre.org .
Fact Sheet / For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf
Title: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf
By: Ntozake Shange
Directed by: Seret Scott
Featuring: Melody Angel, Melanie Brezill, Leah Casey, Melissa DuPrey, Angelica Katie, Patrese D. McClain, Alexis J. Roston, and AnJi White.
Designers: Samantha C. Jones ( costume design ), Paul Toben ( lighting design ) and Andre Pluess ( sound design ), Melody Angel ( additional music ), Leah Casey ( choreography ), Gabrielle Randle ( production dramaturg )
Previews: March 14 — 22, 2019
Press Opening: Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 7:30pm
Regular Run: March 24 — April 14, 2019
Wednesdays: 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays: 7:30 p.m.
Fridays: 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays: 2:00 p.m. ( except March 23 ) and 7:30 p.m.
Sundays: 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Location: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave.
Tickets: $38-$52 previews
$50-$74 regular run
Box Office: Located at 5535 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago; ( 773 ) 753-4472 or www.CourtTheatre.org .
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf's lead sponsor is Poetry Foundation, with additional support from The Sidley Austin Foundation.
Court Theatre's 2018/19 season is dedicated to Court's late Executive Director, Stephen J. Albert.
Court Theatre is the professional theatre of the University of Chicago, dedicated to innovation, inquiry, intellectual engagement, and»community service. Functioning as the University's Center for Classic Theatre, Court and its artists mount theatrical productions and audience enrichment programs in collaboration with faculty. These collaborations enable a re-examination of classic texts that pose the enduring and provocative questions that define the human experience. Court endeavors to make a lasting contribution to classic American theatre by expanding the canon of translations, adaptations, and classic texts. The theatre revives lost masterpieces; illuminates familiar texts; explores the African American theatrical canon; and discovers fresh, modern classics. Court engages and inspires its audience by providing artistically distinguished productions, audience enrichment activities, and student educational experiences.
—From a press release
—From a press release