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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Phylicia Rashad directs Paul Oakley Stovall's Immediate Family
From a news release
2012-04-09

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Chicago, IL—Paul Boskind, Ruth Hendel and Stephen Hendel, by special arrangement with the Goodman Theatre, and in association with About Face Theatre, announce Immediate Family, a new American play byPaul Oakley Stovall, directed by two-time Emmy nominee and Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad. Immediate Family begins previews at Goodman Theatre's Owen Bruner Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, on June 2, 2012. Press Performances will be held on Friday, June 8 at 8:00PM and Saturday, June 9 at 8:00PM.

In the Bryant family's Hyde Park home, keeping a secret is next to impossible... When the entire clan comes together for the first time in more than five years, family secrets are exposed in a hilarious, emotional family reunion. Evy can't understand why her younger brothers are so mysterious and distant; Jesse is afraid to be true to himself and honest with his family; and no one can understand why Tony is so eager to get married. Modern Family meets All in the Family as these siblings try to bridge their differences with a little help from God, card games and their Immediate Family.

"We are thrilled to produce this new play by Paul Oakley Stovall in his hometown. Chicago has a vibrant, dynamic theater scene, making the development process and production of this new American play a perfect match for this theater community and its audiences. We look forward to introducing Paul's hilarious and poignant script, with Phylicia's vision for the production, to Chicago audiences," says producer Paul Boskind.

Producer Ruth Hendel adds, "The play touches on so many universal topics—family, love, relationships, religion. Its themes are timely, political and relevant to our society today. We think that people will be talking about the production and its subject matter long after the curtain goes down."

Immediate Family features an all-Chicago cast, including Shane'sia Davis (Evy), J. Nicole Brooks (Nina),Patrick Sarb (Kristian), Phillip James Brannon (Jesse), Kamal Angelo Bolden (Tony), and Cynda Williams (Ronnie).

Playwright Paul Oakley Stovall, a Chicago native, is an Artistic Associate at Dog and Pony and About Face Theatre in Chicago. Paul currently serves as a White House Advance Associate for the Obama administration. Immediate Family was earlier produced under the title As Much As You Can at Dog and Pony Theatre Company at New York's International Fringe Festival, and at Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles. The play, which received a 2009 GLAAD Media Award nomination has been in development and is being produced under its new title. As an actor, Paul was most recently seen in Christopher McElroen's World Premiere production of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man at Court Theatre.

Playwright Paul Oakley Stovall says, "This play has been coming out of me for almost ten years now and I'm ecstatic to have it take another step forward in my hometown and at the Goodman especially, which in many ways, is like home to me as well. Having Phylicia Rashad on board as director is, to my mind, the perfect addition to the mix. The characters in this play are all trying to hold their heads just a little higher, to find themselves and their place in the family; and Phylicia brings discipline, dignity, and determination to everything she does."

Tickets for the limited engagement will be on sale April 23, and are available through Goodman Theatre box office, 170 N. Dearborn St., by phone at 312.443.3800, or visit www.goodmantheatre.org .

Preview tickets are $20-$39. Regular run tickets are $20—$54. Student tickets are available at the Goodman box office for $20. Student tickets must be purchased in-person with a student I.D. Discounted group tickets are available through Group Theater Tix, www.grouptheatretix.com, 312-423-6612.

The performance schedule (through July 8) is:

Tuesdays 7:30pm (no performance July 2)

Wednesdays 7:30pm (no performance July 3)

Thursdays 7:30pm (no performance July 4)

Fridays 8:00pm

Saturdays 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Sundays 2:00pm and 7:30pm

For more information, visit www.immediatefamilyplay.com

About the artists

Paul Oakley Stovall (playwright) has been writing since the age of 16 when his first volume of poetry, another piece of hope, was published by Trail Press. His first play, Love Rules, (which he also directed) received its world premiere at the Theatre School, DePaul University. His second play, As Much As You Can has been produced to acclaim in Chicago at Dog and Pony Theatre Company at New York's International Fringe Festival, at Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles (Hendel Productions and David Tarlow, Producers —2009 GLAAD Media Award nomination), and at the Diversionary Theatre in San Diego. A revised version is now titled Immediate Family. Paul Boskind with Steve and Ruth have also commissioned Paul to write the adapted screenplay with writing partner Laura Eason. Paul's play, Ape, received its world premiere at Dog and Pony in the fall of 2007 to critical praise, and it received a staged reading in Los Angeles at Celebration. His work has been developed at About Face Theatre (where his new work, Billie and Billy is in process) and San Francisco Playhouse. His musical, Clear, was featured at the 2010 Tony award winning O'Neill National Music Theatre Conference, at the XYZ Festival in Chicago, at Joe's Pub, at Dixon Place in NYC, and will be shown in Oct 2012 at Pritzker Pavilion's "In the Works" festival in Chicago, where his cabaret act with Brad Simmons, The Next Best Thing to Love, just played, following its debut at the Arts Club of DC. As an actor, Paul most recently appeared in the world premiere of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. Other credits includeShortbus (dir, John Cameron Mitchell), the late Robert Altman's The Company, Hustler WP (dir, Craig Cobb - editor, Sex and the City), and Lighthouse Lili (dir, Tonya Pinkins), among others. At the O'Neill, Paul has appeared in Grammy winner Marcus Hummon's American Duet and Better (Cabaret Conference), and Red Eye of Love, MYTH, Max Understood, and .22 Caliber Mouth (O'Neill NMTC); Off-Broadway- Dessa Rose (Lincoln Center world premiere), Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (2ST). Regional appearances include Goodman, Steppenwolf, Court (Chicago), About Face, Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, LaJolla Playhouse, Huntington, Penumbra, KCRep, Rep of St. Louis, Prince Music Theatre, Syracuse Stage, McCarter, among others. National tours: Rent, Once on This Island. International: Otonari No Dasso-Hei (Kinokuniya Hall-Tokyo). Paul currently serves as a White House Advance Associate for the Obama administration. Affiliations: Artistic Associate at Dog and Pony Theatre Company and About Face Theatre in Chicago.

Phylicia Rashad (director) became a household name as Claire Huxtable in The Cosby Show, and she teamed up with Bill Cosby in later years on television as Ruth Lucas on Cosby. Rashad appeared on Broadway as Violet Weston in August Osage County, Big Mama in Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (also London), Aunt Ester in August Wilson's Gem Of The Ocean, (Tony Award nomination) and Queen Britannia in Shakespeare's Cymbeline at Lincoln Center. She received both the Drama Desk and the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun. She appears in Tyler Perry's recently released film, Good Deeds, and starred in Perry's highly-acclaimed film version of Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf. On stage, she also appeared in Jelly's Last Jam, Into The Woods, Dreamgirls and The Wiz. She made her directorial debut at the Seattle Repertory Theater with August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean. She helmed of The Ebony Repertory Theatre's production of A Raisin in the Sun in the Spring of 2011and at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles in January 2012.

Respected in the academic world, Rashad is the first recipient of the Denzel Washington Chair in Theatre at Fordham University. She recently received an Honorary Doctorate from Spelman College where First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the 2011 commencement address. Rashad also holds Honorary Doctorates from Carnegie Mellon University, Howard University, Providence College, Morris Brown College, Clark Atlanta University, Barber Scotia College, St. Augustine College, and Brown University.

She received the Texas Medal of Arts, the National Council of Negro Women's Dorothy L. Height Dreammaker Award, AFTRA's AMEE Award for Excellence in Entertainment, the Board of Directors of New York Women In Film and Television's Muse Award for Outstanding Vision and Achievement, Dallas Women In Film Topaz Award, Peoples' Choice Awards, several NAACP Image Awards, and the Pan African Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rashad serves on the Advisory Board of the PRASAD Project and the Board of Directors of True Colors Theatre, the Broadway Inspirational Voices, The Actors Center, the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University, and the ADEPT Center which is steering the restoration of the historic Brainerd Institute. A native of Houston, Texas, Rashad graduated Magna Cum Laude from Howard University.


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