NEW ORLEANS - April 2, 2015 - Southern Rep Theatre is pleased to announce details for its upcoming production of BOUDIN: The New Orleans Music Project. Southern Rep teamed up with WWOZ 90.7 FM and a volunteer Story Krewe to ask locals all over New Orleans to answer the question, "How has New Orleans music saved your soul?" The stories they collected form the basis for this original musical production celebrating the people, the music, and the magic of New Orleans.
BOUDIN is a truly collaborative project that includes theatrical, musical, and visual elements. Six award-winning musician-actors will bring the stories and the music of New Orleans to life in this 90-minute production at the new Ashé Power House Theater. Local visual artists have contributed personal music altars that will be displayed as part of the show, and a team of multimedia artists have been enlisted to create an interactive pre-show installation that includes geographical and historical context for the stories and music of BOUDIN.
"Bringing this project to fruition has been an invigorating and inspiring process," says Southern Rep's Producing Artistic Director Aimée Hayes. "It's been an absolute privilege to create this all-new theatre piece out of the incredible stories the community has shared with us and out of the experiences our own performers have brought to the piece. It's not like anything we've ever done, and I can't wait to share it with the community."
The production is conceived and directed by Sean Daniels, Artistic Director of Merrimack Repertory Theatre, and co-curated by Hayes. Noted New Orleans composer and producer Jay Weigel is the Music Director. The ensemble cast features Brittney James, Clint Johnson, Natalie Jones, Phillip Manuel, Dorian Rush, and Josh Smith.
Says director and co-curator Daniels, "Southern Rep's commitment to telling the stories of its community is admirable and awesome. While other theatres feign interest in who their audience is, Southern Rep has put them and the city center stage. It's a real celebration of the music, the people, and the unbreakable spirit of this city. When Aimée approached me about creating something with the community, I knew that no other theatre was as well positioned to really create something so vibrant and local, so I jumped at the chance."
The dynamic narratives that have been collected by the BOUDIN Story Krewe are available online at www.boudinmusicproject.com. Southern Rep invites the community to continue to add to this archive of local music history by visiting the website and uploading their own stories.
BOUDIN: The New Orleans Music Project has been supported by a community advisory board consisting of WWNO's Gwen Thompkins, Claire Bangser of NOLAbeings, Crystal Gross of WWOZ, David Kunian of WWOZ, Gene Meneray of Arts Council of New Orleans, Melanie Merz of WWOZ, Jim O'Quinn of American Theatre Magazine, Dr. Ray Sanders of The New Orleans Imperative, Cameron Shaw of Pelican Bomb, and Mr. Weigel.
BOUDIN is presented by Southern Rep Theatre as part of its 28th mainstage season. Performances run April 15 - May 17 at Ashé Power House, 1731 Baronne Street (previews April 15 - April 17). Tickets and information are available at www.southernrep.com or by calling the box office at (504) 522-6545.
BOUDIN: The New Orleans Music Project is supported in part by a grant from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation and by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
BOUDIN: The New Orleans Music Project
Conceived and Directed by Sean Daniels
Curated by Sean Daniels and Aimée Hayes
Starring Brittney James, Clint Johnson, Natalie Jones, Phillip Manuel, Dorian Rush, and Josh Smith
DATES & TIMES
April 18 - May 17
Previews: April 15 - 17
Thursdays - Saturdays: Doors at 7 p.m. / Performances at 8 p.m.
Sunday Matinées: Doors at 2 p.m. / Performances at 3 p.m.
BRAND NEW STATE-OF-THE-ART THEATER!
Ashé Power House Theater
1731 Baronne Street, between Euterpe and Polymnia
DEDICATED & SECURE PARKING LOT ADJACENT!
Regular tickets are $40 and can be purchased online at www.southernrep.com, or by calling the Box Office at (504) 522-6545. Senior, student, teacher, Blue Star Family* or theatre professional discounts are available.
For BOUDIN, Southern Rep is offering specially priced tickets of $20 for those age 35 and under.
$10 student rush tickets can be purchased 10 minutes before each performance with a valid student ID. Cash is appreciated.
*Southern Rep Theatre is proud to be a participating Blue Star Theatre. Blue Star Theatres is a collaboration between Theatre Communications Group and Blue Star Families, with leadership support from the MetLife Foundation. Through Blue Star Theatres, we plan to help better connect theatre offerings to military personnel across the United States. This initiative is intended to recognize the contributions of service families, to build stronger connections between the theatre community and military families in communities all across the country, and to help in whatever small way we can to aid service people and their families as they seek to be integrated into the lives of their communities. Each participating Blue Star Theatre is offering discounted or complimentary admission to all military personnel and their families, as well as veterans.
April 15 - 17: Previews (all tickets $25)
Saturday, April 18: Opening Night/Critics' Performance
(Previews are not open for review. Critics may attend Opening Night or a later performance. Please contact SRT Managing Director Jenny Windstrup at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a date.)
About Sean Daniels - Director & Co-Curator
Sean Daniels has directed at Manhattan Theatre Club, Culture Project (New York City), The Kennedy Center, St. James (West End, London), Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geva Theatre, Playmakers Rep, Cleveland Play House, Alliance Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, Portland Center Stage, Southern Rep, Swine Palace, Neo-Futurists, Aurora Theatre, Crowded Fire, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He is the Artistic Director of Merrimack Repertory Theatre, having just finished up as the Artist-At-Large for Geva Theatre Center, after several years at the Tony Award winning Actors Theatre of Louisville as the theater's Associate Artistic Director. Mr. Daniels is also the former Associate Artistic Director/Resident Director of the California Shakespeare Theater and before that spent a decade as the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Dad's Garage Theater Company in Atlanta, which was named "Best Theater Company" five times in a row during his tenure. Sean has been named one of the top fifteen up-and-coming artists in the U.S. and one of seven people reshaping and revitalizing the American musical by American Theatre magazine. In the Bay Area, he earned the Bay Area Critics Circle and Dean Goodman Choice Awards for Best Direction and Best Production. In addition, while leading Dad's Garage it was awarded "Best Theater Company" 5 times in a row. Find him on Twitter: @seandaniels
About Aimée Hayes - Co-Curator
Since being named Producing Artistic Director of Southern Rep Theatre in 2008, Aimée Hayes has focused on new play development, producing various writers during her tenure, including John Biguenet, Eric Coble, Zayd Dohrn, Catherine Filloux, Jim Fitzmorris, Ross Maxwell, Tarrell McCraney, Peter McElligot, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Joe Sutton and Steve Yockey. She's also incorporated a slate of new play development programs into Southern Rep's Lagniappe Series, including 6×6, a new play slam; 3×3: THE ONE ACTS; DEBAUCHERY!, New Orleans' only live, ongoing soap opera, now in its fifth year; and THE NEW PLAY BACCHANAL, an annual two-day new play festival that includes honoring a new play by a female playwright of color with The Ruby Prize. Hayes often appears on the stage as well, most recently as Hannah Jelkes in Southern Rep's THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA, and prior to that, as Blanche Dubois in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. Hayes was recently named a 2014 Top Female Achiever by New Orleans Magazine, and in 2012 she was named Gambit Weekly's Theatre Person of the Year. Additionally, Hayes serves as an at-large Board Member for the Theatre Communications Group (TCG).
About Jay Weigel - Music Director
Jay Weigel is a distinguished composer, producer, conductor, arranger, orchestrator, and contractor for film, television, recordings, and concerts. Based in New Orleans, he has worked in the film and television industry for over 28 years. His recent scores and soundtrack recordings can be heard in Warner Bros. films such as, Grudge Match, The Campaign, Green Lantern, The Lucky One, and the upcoming feature Get Hard, staring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, seven of Tyler Perry's films; HBO's Little Britain; I Love You Phillip Morris, The Other Woman and numerous documentaries and independent films including Cobu, Bullet to the Head, Joe Sanford's Omega Point, and Gregory Kallenberg's Haynesville and Rational Middle Series. Weigel currently manages two music companies, Floating City Music and Carondelet Music Group whose clients include Warner Bfr, TNT, HBO and Lionsgate. Numerous symphonies & artists around the world, including the Kennedy Center, Louisiana Philharmonic, St. Louis Cathedral, University of Southern Mississippi Symphony, the Acadiana Symphony, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, have commissioned his concert work.
Brittney James is a proud regular on the Louisiana theatre circuit and a past Big Easy Award nominee. A graduate of Dillard University in the field of Speech Communication/ Theatre Arts, her recent credits include THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES and DRYADES STREET DIVAS (Ashé Cultural Arts Center), MYSTERIOUS WISTERIAS (National WWII Museum), PINKALICIOUS and CINDERELLA BATTISTELLA (Rivertown Theaters). She has been seen frequently on the stages of Anthony Bean Community Theater and Dillard University.
Clint Johnson is making his third appearance with Southern Rep after IN THE NEXT ROOM and NEXT TO NORMAL, for which he was a Big Easy Award winner. Other local credits include THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES, THE ANDREWS BROTHERS, MY WAY, and LET FREEDOM SWING (National WWII Museum); and TWELFTH NIGHT, JULIUS CAESAR, COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAMS SHAKESPEARE: ABRIDGED, and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (Big Easy nomination) for Tulane Shakespeare Festival.
Natalie Jones is a graduate of Loyola University's Theatre program who is based in New Orleans. She makes her Southern Rep debut with this production of BOUDIN. Recent credits include GODSPELL and PATIENT A (Big Easy nominated productions) and BLITHE SPIRIT. Jones is represented by Ann Mahoney Kadar of New Orleans Model and Talent Agency for Film and TV.
Phillip Manuel was discovered by local producer Isaac Bolden, later of Mr. Big Stuff Fame, and recorded his first record at 16. By 17, Manuel was singing background on recording sessions for Allen Toussaint with artists like Fats Domino, Aaron Neville and Patti Labelle. In the 1990s, he toured with Terence Blanchard in support of two of the trumpeter's Blue Note releases. He recorded his first jazz CD in 1992 for the AFO label, "A Time for Love." Subsequent albums include "Swinging in the Holidays" (1999) and "Love Happened to Me" (2001, for the MAXJAZZ label). Manuel is also an accomplished actor, writer and voiceover talent who was nominated for a 2004 Big Easy Award for his performance as ground-breaking vaudevillian Bert Williams in the two-man play WILLIAMS AND WALKER.
Dorian Rush moves easily between musical and theatrical stages. A veteran of over 1500 live shows, she best known for her work with local theater troop "Running With Scissors." She wrote, produced, and starred in LIVIN' JANIS, a Janis Joplin piece that was the 2009 Big Easy Award winner for Best Cabaret. She repeated that honor with another win for TRUE BLUE BAYOU (2014), a tribute to Linda Ronstadt.
Josh Smith, a native New Orleans actor/music holds his B.A. in Theatre Arts from Loyola University, where he appeared in SPINNING INTO BUTTER (Patrick) and JIHAD JONES AND THE KALASHNIKOV BABES (Ashraf). Smith is the vocal percussionist/loopmaster for The Harbinger Project hip-hop group. Recent credits include Frederick Mead's production of M. BUTTERFLY (Song Liling) as well as Southern Rep's production of THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA (Pancho) by Tennessee Williams.
About Southern Rep Theatre
Now in its 28th Season, Southern Rep Theatre produces award-winning programs that are engaging, educational, and accessible for audiences of every socioeconomic background. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director, Aimée Hayes, Southern Rep Theatre's Mainstage Season work includes bold World and Regional Premieres as well as the best of Broadway, off-Broadway, and classic plays. Southern Rep Theatre's Lagniappe Series and "School to Stage Pipeline" of Arts Education Programs reflect the company's ongoing commitment to new play development by providing resources for students and burgeoning theatre professionals and supporting a more diverse theatre community. A mainstay of New Orleans' arts community, Southern Rep Theatre continues to build on its unique position as a sector leader, creative force, and important resource for contemporary American theatre. For more information, visit www.southernrep.com.
WWOZ 90.7 FM is celebrating over 30 years as a community radio station in New Orleans, Louisiana. WWOZ is listener-supported and volunteer-programmed with over 7,500 members worldwide. Volunteer show hosts bring their passion and knowledge of music to the airwaves without commercial interests, allowing for the ultimate New Orleans music experience. For more information, visit www.wwoz.org.