World Premiere Play with Music
MARIE AND ROSETTA
By GEORGE BRANT
Directed by NEIL PEPE
Linda Gross Theater, 336 W. 20th St
Run Time: 90 minutes, no intermission
A huge influence on Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a legend in her time, bringing fierce guitar playing and swing to gospel music. Tharpe was the queen of ‘race records’ in the 30’s and 40’s, who performed mornings at churches and evenings at the Cotton Club, who was a big enough star to fill a baseball stadium for her third wedding, but ended up buried in an unmarked grave in Philadelphia. Marie and Rosetta chronicles her first rehearsal with a young protégée, Marie Knight, as they prepare to embark on a tour that would establish them as one of the great duet teams in musical history.
THE CRITICS RAVE:
“MIGHTY MUSIC-MAKING! Brant has a ripe character in Rosetta, whom he depicts as a big-hearted woman of rock-firm faith who nevertheless finds room for HIP-SHAKING AND EARTHY HUMOR.
Ms. Lewis and Ms. Jones have BEAUTIFUL VOICES. The music, played with verve by Felicia Collins and Deah Harriott is ROOF RAISING.
WHEN IT SINGS, IT REALLY SWINGS!”
— Charles Isherwood, THE NEW YORK TIMES
“HEAVENLY! YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE RELIGIOUS TO KNOW YOU’RE IN THE PRESENCE OF GLORY!”
— Adam Feldman, TIME OUT NEW YORK
“A SPECTACULAR SHOW. It takes us into the evolution of a musical collaboration and friendship that is PART OF ROCK AND ROLL LEGEND.”
— Linda Winer, NEWSDAY
“THE SOUND OF GOSPEL SOARS! Lewis is a force of nature and when she unleashes her powerhouse voice the church ROOF ELEVATES. Jones comes closest to God when she raises her beautiful voice to sing great gospel.”
— Marilyn Stasio, VARIETY
“With Lewis brandishing an electric guitar and stalking the stage like the goddess Athena, the intimate Linda Gross Theater SHAKES LIKE THUNDER!”
— Jason Fitzgerald, VILLAGE VOICE
“NOT-TO-BE-MISSED! It’s enough to make the theater faithful
STAND UP AND SHOUT “HALLELUJAH”!”
— Zachary Stewart, THEATERMANIA
“A TERRIFIC NEW MUSICAL.
As good as anything that has been on stage in recent years in capturing both the joy and pain of being an African-American woman!
WONDERFUL, TOUCHING, AND EMPOWERING!”
— Janice Kaplan, THE DAILY BEAST
REBECCA NAOMI JONES (Marie Knight) has performed on Broadway in American Idiot, Passing Strange, and most recently as Yitzhak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Other New York work includes Murder Ballad at MTC (Lilly Award and Lucille Lortel nomination), Signature Theater’s production of Big Love (Drama League nomination), The Fortress of Solitude (Public Theater), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Shakespeare in the Park) and the recent ENCORES production of God Bless You Mr. Rosewater. Rebecca also recently performed at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Cost of Living. Films: The Big Sick (upcoming, produced by Judd Apatow), Ratter (2014 Slamdance Film Festival Selection), Geezer (2015 TriBeCa Film Festival Selection), Passing Strange (Spike Lee), and the documentary Broadway Idiot. Select Television: “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll”,”Inside Amy Schumer”, “Limitless”, “Difficult People”, “High Maintenance” and “Blue Bloods”. Solo concerts: Lincoln Center American Songbook, Apollo Cafe. Rebecca is an Associate Artist with the Civilians Theater Company and holds a BFA in Drama from the North Carolina School of the Arts.
KECIA LEWIS (Sister Rosetta Tharpe). From originating the role of “Asaka, Mother of The Earth” on Broadway in Once on This Island, to her Classic Stage debut in the title role of Mother Courage, Kecia Lewis’s rich career of portraying powerful mothers and formidable women has come full circle. It all began when she was 18 years old and made her debut as “Effie” in the original Broadway company of Dreamgirls. Kecia went on to be seen on Broadway in Big River, Ain’t Misbehavin, The Gospel at Colonus, and earned a Drama Desk Nomination for her work in Dessa Rose at Lincoln Center Theater. Kecia originated the roles of “Trix” and “Ida Mae” in the Broadway productions of The Drowsy Chaperoneand Leap of Faith, respectively, and took over the reins of “Mama Morton” in Chicago. She was most recently seen flying through the air, spreading joy and magic as “The Fairy Godmother” on the first national tour of Cinderella. On television, she can be seen guest starring on “Law & Order SVU” (recurring), “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Season 2), “Limitless,” and “Blue Bloods.”
FELICIA COLLINS (Guitar) is best known around the world as the guitarist and vocalist in the CBS Orchestra on the LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN. It was at the end of Cyndi Lauper’s Hat Full Of Stars tour summer of 1993, when Paul Shaffer contacted Collins about joining his band for the highly-publicized forthcoming Late Show With David Letterman on CBS. She was recruited along with P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell and remained a constant nightly presence on network television for the show’s entire 23-year run. As a musician, Felicia Collins’ long-standing reputation is as one of the most versatile. As a member of the CBS Orchestra a.k.a. World’s Most Dangerous Band, each day brought a different artist to play with on live television… Pavorotti one day, L.L. Cool J. the next! Ev-er-y-body. A devoted passion for playing guitar was always present, as far back in her memory as she’s able to recall. Teaching herself to play was an early manifestation of her childhood love affair with the Arts. Having a deep admiration and perhaps affinity to her, Felicia is delighted to pay tribute to this great musical innovator – Sister Rosetta Tharpe
DEAH HARRIOTT (Piano). Off-Broadway debut. A classically trained musician and pianist from the age of three. Recipient of the prestigious Mayor’s Art Award, Cultural Celebration (Nebraska). She is most recently an honoree and recipient of the Concerned Women of Brooklyn Inc.’s Outstanding Leadership Award where she was recognized for her contributions to the community of Brooklyn, NY. Ms. Harriott toured throughout the Midwest with her gospel group Deah Harriott & Images. Currently she is the minister of music at Bethany Baptist Church of Brooklyn and is the Music Director at two other NY-area churches, specializing in piano and organ (Hammond and pipe), with focuses in classical, gospel, jazz, and R&B. Favorite accomplishments include conducting the Tony Award winning musical “The Wiz,” and the studio project “Sacrifice,” by gospel music group Deah Harriott & Images which she wrote and produced, and is currently available online. She is also a featured artist on the inspirational project Gerald Jones Presents: Independent Spirit (released fall of 2015) which includes Deah’s inspirational single “Answer With Praise”. Her joys in life are PEOPLE, COOKING, LAUGHTER and LOVE, and she is the proud mother of two (canines), Jackson Thomas and Mr. Bentley James.
GEORGE BRANT (Playwright). His plays include Grounded, Elephant’s Graveyard, The Mourners’ Bench, Any Other Name, Salvage, Grizzly Mama, and Three Voyages of the Lobotomobile. His scripts have been produced internationally by the Public Theater, Trinity Repertory Company, the Studio Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Alley Theatre, Gate Theatre, Page 73, and the Traverse Theatre, among others. Brant’s plays have received a Lucille Lortel Award, the Smith Prize, a Scotsman Fringe First Award, an OAC Individual Excellence Award, an Off-West End Theatre Award, a Theatre Netto Festival Prize, an NNPN Rolling World Premiere and the Keene Prize for Literature. He has received commissions from the Metropolitan Opera, Trinity Repertory Company, Cleveland Play House, Theatre 4 and Dobama Theatre. A proud member of the Dramatists Guild, Brant received his MFA in Writing from the Michener Center at UT-Austin and is published by Samuel French, Oberon Books and Smith & Kraus. He is currently adapting Grounded into a feature film starring Anne Hathaway.
NEIL PEPE (Director). Most recently directed the world premiere of Kenneth Lonergan’s Hold On To Me Darling. Broadway credits include the musical Hands on a Hardbody, the acclaimed revival of David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow and A Life in the Theatre. Off-Broadway:; John Guare’s 3 Kinds of Exile; Moira Buffini’s Dying For It; Jez Butterworth’s Parlour Song, Mojo and The Night Heron; Ethan Coen’s Happy Hour, Offices and Almost an Evening; Harold Pinter’s Celebration and The Room; Adam Rapp’s Dreams of Flying Dreams of Falling; Joe Penhall’s Blue/Orange; Hilary Bell’s Wolf Lullaby; David Pittu’s What’s That Smell?; Howard Korder’s Sea of Tranquility, (all at Atlantic); David Mamet’s American Buffalo (Donmar Warehouse, Atlantic); Romance, Keep Your Pantheon and School (Center Theatre Group, Atlantic); Zinnie Harris’ Further than the Furthest Thing (Manhattan Theatre Club); Jessica Goldberg’s Refuge (Playwrights Horizons); Tom Donaghy’s The Beginning of August (South Coast Repertory, Atlantic). Frank Gilroy’s The Subject Was Roses with Martin Sheen (CTG). Also, Eric Bogosian’s Red Angel (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Neil has been the Artistic Director of the award-winning Off-Broadway company, Atlantic Theater Company since 1992.
RICCARDO HERNÁNDEZ (Scenic Designer). Broadway: The Gin Game; The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess; The People in the Picture; Caroline, or Change (also Royal National Theater London); Elaine Stritch at Liberty (also National Tour, Old Vic London); Topdog/Underdog (Royal Court); Bells Are Ringing; Parade (directed by Hal Prince, Tony and Drama Desk nominations); Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk (also National Tour, Japan); The Tempest. Recent: Paula Vogel’s Indecent (Vineyard) Red Speedo (NYTW), The Father and A Doll’s House (TFANA), Don Giovanni (Santa Fe Opera), Grounded (directed by Julie Taymor), The Library (directed by Steven Soderbergh) both for Public Theater, La Mouette (Cour D’Honneur, Palais des Papes – Avignon Festival), Abigail’s Party (Oslo National Theater, Norway), Othello and The Dead (Abbey Theater Dublin), Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (Ljubljana/Slovenia). He has designed over 200 productions in the US and internationally at Public Theater, BAM, American Repertory Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, NYTW, Goodman, Guthrie, Lyric Opera of Chicago, HGO, San Francisco Opera, NYCO, LA Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Theatre du Chatelet Paris, Theater an der Wien (Vienna), Teatro Real Madrid, English National Opera/Young Vic, etc., Genet’s Splendid’s (La Colline-Theatre National Paris) Yale School of Drama.
DEDE M. AYITE (Costume Designer). Off-Broadway: The Royale (Lincoln Center Theater), Ugly Lies the Bone (Roundabout); brownsville song (b-side for tray) (LCT3); ToasT, Urban Retreat, and Manahatta (The Public). Select Regional: The Last Tiger in Haiti (La Jolla Playhouse and upcoming Berkeley Repertory Theatre); Jelly’s Last Jam (Signature Theatre); The Wiz (OSF); Detroit ’67 (Centerstage/Detroit Public Theater); Between Riverside and Crazy (Studio Theatre); The Blood Quilt (Arena Stage); Marie Antoinette (Steppenwolf, 2015 Jeff Award Recipient); Stagger Lee (Dallas Theatre Center); The CA Lyons Project (Alliance Theatre); Five Guys Named Moe (Arena Stage/Cleveland Playhouse); A Raisin in the Sun (California Shakespeare Theater); The Piano Lesson (Yale Repertory Theatre); The Music Man in Concert (Two Rivers, NJPAC). Education: MFA from Yale School of Drama
CHRISTOPHER AKERLIND (Lighting Designer). Atlantic: Two Unrelated Plays by David Mamet, This Thing of Darkness, The Lights (at Lincoln Center). Broadway: Rocky, End of the Rainbow, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (Tony nom.), Superior Donuts, Top Girls, 110 in the Shade (Tony nom.), Talk Radio, Shining City, Awake and Sing (Tony nom.), Well, Rabbit Hole, A Touch of the Poet, In My Life, The Light in the Piazza (Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Tony awards), Reckless, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Seven Guitars (Tony nom.) and The Piano Lesson. With Martha Clark: Chéri (Signature), Angel Reapers (The Joyce), Garden of Earthly Delights (Minetta Lane), L’altra metá del cielo (Teatro alla Scala), Kaos (NY Theater Workshop), Belle Epoque (Mitzi Newhouse). Awards: Obie for Sustained Excellence, Michael Merritt Award for Design and Collaboration, among others.
SCK SOUND DESIGN (Sound Design). Steve Canyon Kennedy partners with sound designers Walter Trarbach and Andrew Keister. Some of their Broadway shows together include: On Your Feet, Doctor Zhivago, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, (Tony Award), Jesus Christ Superstar, 700 Sundays, Hands On A Hardbody (Drama Desk Award), Catch Me If You Can, (Tony Nom), The Lion King, Jersey Boys (Drama Desk Award), Hairspray, Mary Poppins, The Producers, Aida, Titanic, Carousel and The Who’s Tommy (Drama Desk Award).
JASON MICHAEL WEBB (Musical Director/Arranger/Orchestrator) – Atlantic Theater – debut. Broadway – Musical Director: The Color Purple (2016 Tony Award, Best Musical Revival); Associate Musical Director: Motown: The Musical, Violet, Leap of Faith, Memphis. Off-Broadway – Musical Director: Dogfight (2econd Stage), Choir Boy (MTC). Regional – Musical Director: Cardboard Piano (Actors Theatre of Louisville); Marley (CenterStage). Music Supervisor – Disney’s Frozen: Live at the Hyperion (Anaheim, CA) (also Arranger/Adaptor); Indian Joe (Goodspeed Musicals) (also Composer/Orchestrations). Composer – Book/Music/Lyrics/Orchestrations: The First Noel (Apollo Theater/CTH). Awards – Dove Award winner (Brooklyn Tabernacle’s Declare Your Name), 2x Stellar Award nominee, Suzi Award nominee (Choir Boy, Alliance Theater), Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat. Arranger – Battle Hymn of the Republic (2013 Inauguration of President Barack Obama), Violet (Broadway, Additional Arrangements), Cardboard Piano (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arrangements), Marley (CenterStage, Additional Arrangements/Orchestrator), Choir Boy (MTC). Orchestrator – Jacksonville Symphony, Nashville String Machine, Carnegie Hall. Pianist – Dame Shirley Bassey, Jennifer Hudson, Michael Bolton, Fantasia, Chaka Khan – Ephesians 3:17-19 | www.JasonMichaelWebb.com
MICHAEL DOMUE (Production Stage Manager) is excited to once again work with George Brant after The Mourners Bench at Trinity Repertory Company. Also at Trinty: Camelot, Cabaret. Other Regional credits: In Your Arms (Old Globe); Dracula, Topdog/Underdog, Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, Becky Shaw, The As If Body Loop, Natural Selection, The Shaker Chair, Pure Confidence, The Ruby Sunrise, The Lively Lad (Actors Theatre of Louisville/Humana Festival) and Race (Philadelphia Theater Company). Off-Broadway: Urge for Going, Knives and Other Sharp Objects, The Last Cargo Cult, The Ruby Sunrise (The Public Theater). Recent summers at New York Stage and Film: Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd, Noir, Unbuilt City, and In Your Arms after 17 summers at Totem Pole Playhouse. Additional Credits: Master Class, A Streetcar Named Desire, Company and Alexander and the Terrible… (The Kennedy Center) and New York Spring Spectacular, Heart and Lights and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Radio City Music Hall).
LIZZY LEE (Assistant Stage Manager) is thrilled to be working with the Atlantic Theater Company! She recently was at the Oriental Theater in Chicago with The SpongeBob Musical. Broadway: Motown. Tours: Dirty Dancing, Flashdance. New York: The Wildness (Ars Nova); Futurity (Ars Nova/Soho Rep); LoveSick, The Revival (Project Y); Our Lot (Clubbed Thumb); Twelfth Night (Fiasco). Regional: Gnit, Michael von Siebenberg Melts Through the Floorboards, Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them, It Takes a ‘Ville, Heist! (Actors Theatre of Louisville/Humana Festival). Recent summers at New York Stage and Film: Fury, The Wild Hunt, Loving V. Virginia, 15 Minutes, and In Your Arms. International: Hamlet/UR Hamlet, A Dream Play (Theater Mitu/Abu Dhabi, UAE). Lizzy is a proud lady of Kenyon College.