NEW ORLEANS (March 14, 2017)-Southern Rep Theatre announces an updated cast list and calendar of community events related to its upcoming play SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH by Tennessee Williams.
Under the leadership of Producer of Artistic and Community Engagement Lauren Turner, Southern Rep Theatre is debuting the Southern Rep Community Table, a series of events and initiatives aimed at engaging deeply with the New Orleans Community. For each Mainstage offering in the 2016-2017 season, Turner has curated free performances called the Lagniappe Stage Performance Series, and panels called Table Talks to take place prior to the performances Fridays and Saturdays, respectively.
"Each artist I've selected to participate in the Lagniappe Stage Performance Series resonates with SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH," says Lauren Turner. "Gwen Mann and Walker Larson are bringing an important dance of that era, swing, to stage and the Loyola performers are much like Chance Wayne was in his youth, bursting with talent and searching for opportunities to show it. Lastly, Melange Dance Company centers women in their work, much like Williams himself. I am excited to share this free programming with the New Orleans public!"
Table Talks involving New Orleans scholars and personalities such as Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy, Hal Clark, and Dr. Laura Hope, will take place Saturdays before the show. Actor talkbacks with the cast will take place after the Sunday matinée performances in order to allow audiences and the public to engage critically with the work. A full schedule of programming is below.
About SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH:
"Southern Rep continues our commitment to Tennessee Williams as a vital part of every season," notes Producing Artistic Director Aimée Hayes." Whether we are offering a traditional view into this playwright's master works or exploring how his texts resonate in today's modern world, Tennessee is a voice we believe in sharing with the New Orleans community. This production is especially exciting for us," Hayes continues, "with Leslie Castay taking on the role of Tennessee's great queen of melodrama and screen, Princess Kosmonopolis, also known as Alexandra del Lago. Her Chance will be Martin Bradford, an actor we are excited to be working with on the Mainstage. Innovative director Mel. Cook joins a talented cast. We cannot wait to share this scintillating, slickly sensual, earthy drama with our community."
"Tennessee Williams is the American Shakespeare," says director Mel. Cook. "He writes with an unparalleled poetic grasp of the beauty and tragedy and misery and glory of the human condition. The opportunity to stage any one of his plays, particularly here in his spiritual (and oft literal) home, is the dream of virtually every theatre director in the English-speaking world."
Actress Leslie Castay adds, "I have always loved the writing of Tennessee Williams and am so thrilled to be making my Williams debut in such an iconic role. Williams' beautiful and poetic language shines throughout the work. This play deals with heartbreak, tragedy, fear and loss but also humor, love and, ultimately, acceptance and hope. I love working with Southern Rep and am so happy to continue my relationship with this wonderful theatre company."
INTERVIEWS & PRESS TICKETS
For interviews with Aimée Hayes, Director Mel. Cook, Leslie Castay, Martin Bats Bradford or other members of the cast and production team, or to reserve reviewer tickets, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 504-522-6545. Preview performances are not available for review.
SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH
By Tennessee Williams
Directed by Mel. Cook
Featuring Leslie Castay as Princess Kosmonopolis and Martin Bats Bradford as Chance Wayne
Presented at Loyola University, Marquette Theatre,
6363 St. Charles Ave. New Orleans, LA 70118
In partnership with the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival
Southern Rep Theatre is in residence at the Loyola University Department of Theatre Arts.
Wednesday, March 22 and Thursday, March 23, 2017 8PM
Friday, March 24-Sunday, April 16, 2017
Show days and times:
Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 PM
Sundays at 3 PM
Leslie Castay stars as Alexandra del Lago, an aging star swept up in a race against time. Fueled by booze, pills, and entitlement she places herself in the care of Chance Wayne (Martin Bats Bradford), an ambitious gigolo with less than a heart of gold and a drama of his own unfolding.
Individual tickets for regular performances (March 24-April 16) start at $40 and are on sale now. Prices are subject to increase based on demand. Discounts are available for seniors, military personnel, families, veterans, patrons 35 and under, theatre professionals, and teachers. Preview performances (March 22-23) are $25.*
*Southern Rep is a proud member of the Blue Star Theatre network. Above prices do not include box office fees.
Student rush tickets, $10 plus fees, can be purchased at the door only (based on availability) 10 minutes before each performance with a valid student ID. Cash is appreciated.
Discounted group sales available - call 504-522-6545
Tickets and more information at www.southernrep.com or 504-522-6545
SPECIAL EVENTS AND COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Wednesday, March 22-Thursday March 23: Preview Performances ($25)
Friday, March 24: Opening Night - Reception to Follow!
Thursday, March 30: Pay What You Can Night - At the door only, starting one hour before curtain (tickets reserved in advance are full price)
Friday, March 31: Ladies Night (all those identifying as a lady are welcome to a free glass of champagne prior to the show)
Lagniappe Performances Fridays before the show, free and open to the public at Loyola University Palm Court-
Friday, March 24 6:30 PM-7:30 PM Loyola Musical Theatre Cabaret
Friday, March 31 6:30 PM-7:30 PM Melange Dance Company
Friday, April 7 6:30 PM-7:30 PM Swing dance and class with Gwen Mann
Friday, April 14 6:30 PM-7:30 PM Alternative Rock Artist Theo of Nana Grizols
Saturdays preceding the show
Saturday, March 25 7:00PM
"Producing Tennessee Williams in the Contemporary South"
Panelists: Augustin Correro, Co-Artistic Director of the Tennessee Williams Theatre Company of New Orleans
Mel. Cook, Director of SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH by Tennessee Williams
What must theatre makers do to make Tennessee Williams relevant today-particularly in the South? Here at Southern Rep Theatre we chose to shake up the expected casting of SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH in the hopes of answering this question. Join us as we talk through what it means to present iconic works in the contemporary era.
Saturday, April 1 7:00PM
SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH designers panel
Panelists: Nicole Watts Scenic Designer SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, Mandi Wood Lighting Designer SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, and Brendan Connelly Sound Designer SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH
Get behind the scenes with the design team of SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH!
Saturday, April 8 7:00PM
"Tennessee Williams and the Black Man"
Panelists: A Scribe Called Quess, spoken word artist; Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy, Professor and Coordinator of the English Program at Dillard University; and Hal Clark, writer, journalist, and radio personality
How are Black Men and men of color depicted in Tennessee Williams' work? What does their presence (and absence) say about Tennessee and the relevancy of his work?
Saturday, April 15 7:00PM
"Tennessee Williams and New Orleans"
Panelists: Dr. Laura Hope, Head of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Loyola University and Mark Cave of the New Orleans Historic Collection
Tennessee Williams felt at home in New Orleans, it was where his sexuality could thrive in the open. What is the relationship between New Orleans and Tennessee? Did he need it to become the legend he is today?
Sundays following the show
Details subject to change, including cast, venue, and performance schedule. Please visit www.southernrep.com for the most up-to-date information.
Martin Bats Bradford
About Tennessee Williams, Playwright
Playwright Tennessee Williams was born on March 26, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi. After college, he moved to New Orleans, a city that would inspire much of his writing and that he considered his "spiritual home." On March 31, 1945, his play, THE GLASS MENAGERIE, opened on Broadway and two years later A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE earned Williams his first Pulitzer Prize. Many of Williams' plays have been adapted to film starring screen greats like Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. Williams died in 1983.
About Mel. Cook, Director
Mel.Cook is a London-based theatre director working primarily in experiential and immersive theatre, creating autonomous narrative adventures for international audiences. Mel. has worked with companies including the RSC, Shakespeare's Globe, the Royal National Theatre, Coney, and Punchdrunk, and has directed productions for a multitude of UK houses. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (BA Acting) and the University of London Birkbeck (MFA Theatre Directing), Mel. has made work for theatres, festivals, and abandoned buildings from Auckland to York, and is thrilled to be adding New Orleans to the list.
About Leslie Castay, Princess Kosmonopolis
Leslie Castay is thrilled to return to Southern Rep, where audiences may remember her award winning performances in Southern Rep's productions of NEXT TO NORMAL and GREY GARDENS, as well as in Aimée Hayes' Southern Rep directorial debut, THE CLEAN HOUSE. She is a seasoned veteran of Broadway, National Tours, Off-Broadway and regional theatre during her nearly 20 years as a New York based actor. Locally she has been featured in productions with NOLA Project, Tulane Summer Lyric, and Le Petit, most recently as Eleanor of Aquitaine in LION IN WINTER (SEOS) and SWEENEY TODD with the New Orleans Opera. Film and TV: The Big Short, Beautiful Creatures, recurring and guest starring roles in Common Law, American Horror Story, and NCIS: New Orleans. Upcoming: IT'S ONLY A PLAY with NOLA Project and Le Petit Theatre.
About Martin Bats Bradford, Chance Wayne
Martin Bats Bradford is a native of New Orleans and a graduate of Dillard University where he studied Mass Communications and Theatre Arts. Being bit by the acting bug as a child, he began writing and acting in his own plays in elementary school, propelling him into a myriad of camps, workshops and productions well into college. A writer, director (Youtube/GumboMonster504), teaching artist (Community Works), poet, storyteller (Primetime Family Reading) and podcaster (The FlyWithBats Podcast), Bradford lives to tell stories through the arts. Theatre credits include MACBETH, TOPDOG/UNDERDOG, PORGY, MISS EVERS' BOYS, THE ANGOLA 3, FENCES, FISHERS OF MEN, JUNGLE KINGS, TWO TRAINS RUNNING, MEASURE FOR MEASURE, ORPHANS and THE MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT. Martin has also acted in indie films such as NoLa Circus, Carter and June, A Quiet Storm, and Blaze, as well as television credits ranging from "American Horror Story: Coven", CBS' "Zoo", FOX's "Scream Queens", and recurring roles on The CW's "Containment" as Montana and CBS' "NCIS: New Orleans" as Ross P.
About Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival
The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is an annual five-day celebration held in late March, which showcases national and regional scholars, writers, and performing artists. Programs include panel discussions, theatrical performances, a one-act play competition, a fiction contest, lectures, literary walking tours, musical performances, a bookfair, and more.
The Festival is governed by a volunteer board of directors composed of teachers, writers, book-sellers, city government personnel, corporate representatives, and television consultants. It is a 501(c)3 organization, chartered in the state of Louisiana. Funding comes from auxiliary events, fund-raising parties, corporate and individual donations, and public and private foundation donations.
About Southern Rep Theatre
Entering its 31st Season, Southern Rep Theatre, an independent non-profit theatre, produces award-winning productions that are engaging, educational, and accessible for audiences of every socioeconomic background. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Aimée Hayes and Managing Director Jenny Windstrup, 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 about Southern Rep or to purchase tickets, please visit www.southernrep.com or call the box office at 504-522-6545. Southern Rep Theatre is also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @southern_rep.