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“Slave Play” Announces Full Casting

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Paul Alexander Nolan (Jim) and Joaquina Kalukango (Kaneisha) star on Broadway in Slave Play.
 Matthew Murphy

Casting Announced For The West Coast Premiere Of Jeremy O. Harris’ Landmark “SLAVE PLAY”

Historic New Play Comes to the Mark Taper Forum direct from Broadway February 9 through March 13, 2022

Casting has been announced for the West Coast premiere of playwright Jeremy O. Harris‘ unflinching new work “Slave Play” coming to Los Angeles at the Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum February 9 through March 13, 2022, opening February 16, 2022.

Two-time NAACP and Obie Award winner and the recipient of Center Theatre Group’s inaugural Sherwood Award, Robert O’Hara returns to direct “Slave Play,” which earned a record 12 Tony nominations, the most for any play in the history of those awards. The original creative team from the Broadway engagement will bring the acclaimed new work to Los Angeles direct from Broadway for its first production outside of New York. 

The cast of “Slave Play,” the most Tony Award-nominated play in history, features Broadway company members, Antoinette Crowe-LegacyJonathan HigginbothamDevin KawaokaChalia La TourIrene Sofia Lucio*, Paul Alexander NolanJakeem Dante Powell, and Elizabeth Stahlmann. Understudies include Jordan Lis CooperRashaad HallKineta KunutuJames Patrick Nelson, and Galen J. Williams.  Williams was also involved in the Broadway production.

The creative team for the West Coast premiere of “Slave Play” includes Clint Ramos (scenic design), Dede Ayite (costume design), Jiyoun Chang (lighting design), Lindsay Jones (sound design and original music), Cookie Jordan (hair and wig design), Byron Easley (movement) and Teniece Divya Johnson (intimacy and fight direction – based on the original intimacy and fight direction by Claire Warden and Teniece Divya Johnson). Casting is by Taylor Williams and Victor VazquezKelly A. Martindale is the production stage manager.

Hailed as “the single most daring thing I’ve seen in a theater in a long time” by Wesley Morris of The New York Times and “a fascinating explosive-device of a play” by Peter Marks of The Washington Post, “Slave Play” takes place at the MacGregor Plantation, where nothing is as it seems, and yet everything is as it seems. It’s an antebellum fever-dream as three interracial couples converge to rip open history at the intersection of race, love, sex, and sexuality in 21st century America. Soraya Nadia McDonald of The Undefeated said, “wisdom and timeliness ripple through ‘Slave Play,’” adding, “this play is lit.”

“Slave Play” received the Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, The Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences, and the 2018 Paula Vogel Award. The play was nominated for the Outer Critics Circle’s John Gassner Playwriting Award and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play.

Tickets for “Slave Play” are currently on sale for production at Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre and start at $30. They are available through CenterTheatreGroup.org, Audience Services at (213) 972-4400 or in person at the Center Theatre Group Box Office (at the Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012).

Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, which, under the leadership of Managing Director / CEO Meghan Pressman and Producing Director Douglas C. Baker, programs seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1,600 to 2,100-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics, and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.

Center Theatre Group requires all guests to wear a mask and provide proof of full vaccination, along with a government or education-issued photo ID upon arrival. Per the guidelines set by the CDC, “full vaccination” means that at least 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine. Booster shots are highly recommended and will be required beginning February 1 for anyone who is eligible. Unvaccinated guests, including children or those with a medical or religious reason, must provide proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken no more than 48 hours prior to attending an indoor performance, or a negative rapid antigen test taken no more than 24 hours prior to attending an indoor performance.

Center Theatre Group will continue working closely with The Music Center and L.A. County officials to ensure they are following all applicable health and safety protocols. More information regarding safety updates as well as audience vaccination, testing, and mask requirements is available at CenterTheatreGroup.org/Safety.

BIOS

Antoinette Crowe-Legacy (Kaneisha) stars opposite Forest Whitaker in the EPIX series “Godfather of Harlem,” which has just been picked up for a third season. Antoinette recently made her Broadway debut in Jeremy O.Harris’ “Slave Play.” Up next, Antoinette will be seen opposite Anne Hathaway and Jared Leto in the WeWork limited series “WeCrashed” for Apple TV+. She will also be seen in FX’s forthcoming series “Kindred,” based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Octavia Butler. Antoinette was recently seen in Rebecca Hall’s feature “Passing” opposite Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga. The film recently made a near-record-breaking sale to Netflix for over $16M at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Among Antoinette’s many theatre credits, she played leading roles in both Tori Sampson’s play “If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka,” which Leah Gardiner directed at Playwrights Horizons, as well as in Aziza Barnes’s play “BLKS,” directed by Robert O’Hara for MCC Theater. Antoinette graduated from Yale’s prestigious M.F.A. Acting Program, where she received the 2018 Carol Finch Dye Award. Past winners include Meryl Streep and Frances McDormand. Antoinette Crowe-Legacy is based in Brooklyn, NY.

Jonathan Higginbotham

Jonathan Higginbotham (Phillip). “Slave Play” (Broadway), “A Lie Agreed Upon” (The Gamm Theatre), “JQA” (The Gamm Theatre), “Cymbeline” (Yale Repertory Theater), “As You Like It” (Shakespeare Theatre of NewJersey), “Cymbeline” (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company) and “KMS…The Feels” (New Ohio Theatre). TV: “Shining Vale” (Starz), “The Blacklist” (NBC), and “Bonding” (Netflix). Jonathan studied at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford. He holds a B.A. from Hamilton College and an M.F.A from Yale School of Drama.

Devin Kawaoka

Devin Kawaoka (Dustin) Broadway: “Slave Play.” Off-Broadway: “City Of” (Playwrights Realm) and “Unnatural Acts” (Classic Stage Company) for which his performance was awarded the Rosemarie Tichler Grant. Television: “Lucifer,” “Goliath,” “American Housewife,” Marvel’s “The Runaways,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Path” and “Good Trouble.” Film: “The Manor,” “Under the Silver Lake,” “Under the Lantern Lit Sky” and “Submission.” Training: M.F.A., NYU Graduate Acting.

Chalia La Tour

Chalia La Tour (Teá) returns to the production after earning a 2020 Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Theatre credits include: “Slave Play” (original Broadway cast), “Cadillac Crew” (Yale Repertory Theatre), and “The Review or How to Eat Your Opposition” (Women’s Theatre Project). TV: “The Good Fight,” “The Code” and “Elementary” on CBS. Film: “The Future is Bright.” “The Future is Bright” screened at the inaugural African American Smithsonian Film Festival. La Tour is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.  

Irene Sofia Lucio

Irene Sofia Lucio (Patricia) originated the role of Patricia off and on Broadway. Broadway: “Slave Play” and “Wit.” Off-Broadway: “Romeo y Julieta” (Public Theater), “Slave Play,” “Love and Information” (NYTW), “Orange Julius” (Rattlestick), “Undertaking” (BAM), “King Liz” (Second Stage), and “We Play for the Gods” (WP). Regional credits: Yale Rep, Studio Theater DC, Cal Shakes. TV: “The Americans,” “Bartlett,” “Madam Secretary,” “Gossip Girl” and “Casi Casi.” Co-creator of “BUTS Webseries” (NBCU Short Film Festival winner, Imagen Award Nom.). Education: Princeton and Yale School of Drama. Native of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Paul Alexander Nolan

Paul Alexander Nolan (Jim) originated the role of Jim at New York Theatre Workshop and on Broadway. Previously, on Broadway: “Escape to Margaritaville,” “Bright Star” (Drama Desk nomination), “Doctor Zhivago” (Outer Critics Circle nomination), “Once,” “Chicago,” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.” TV: “The Code,” “Madam Secretary” and “Instinct” for CBS; “Hudson & Rex” (Canada). Film: “The Scottish Play.” Off-Broadway: “Daddy Long Legs.” A proud Canadian and company member of the Stratford Festival for six seasons.

Jakeem Dante Powell

Jakeem Dante Powell (Gary) will be seen in a large supporting role in George C. Wolfe’s upcoming Netflix feature “Rustin.” Previously, he understudied the roles of Gary and Phillip in “Slave Play” on Broadway. Additionally, he starred in the streaming play “This American Wife” alongside Pulitzer Prize finalists Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley. He is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama where he played Gary in “Slave Play,” Kasim in “If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka” and Trigorin in “The Seagull.” Additional credits include Sebastian in “Twelfth Night” at the Yale Repertory Theatre and Asagai in “A Raisin in the Sun” at the Dallas Theatre Center.

Elizabeth Stahlmann

Elizabeth Stahlmann (Alana) Theatre credits include: “Slave Play” (Broadway-understudy for Alana and Patricia), “Grounded” (Westport Country Playhouse-CT Critics Circle Award), “The Humans,” “The Cake” (The Alley Theatre), “Romeo and Juliet,” “As You Like It,” “A Comedy of Errors” (National tour with The Acting Company), “The Real Thing” and “A Christmas Carol” (Guthrie Theater.) TV: “City on a Hill,” “The Equalizer” and “Law & Order: SVU.” Graduate of University of MN/Guthrie Theater (B.F.A.), Yale School of Drama (M.F.A.).

Jordan Lis Cooper

Jordan Lis Cooper (Understudy for Alana and Patriciaplayed Judith in Ruben Santiago Hudson’s “Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine,” directed by Steve Broadnax III, and originated the role of Grace in Hansol Jung’s premiere of “Doublethink” at the South Africa National Arts Festival. Improv and sketch comedy: The Upright Citizen’s Brigade, The Annoyance, and the Dallas Comedy House. M.F.A. from Penn State University.

Rashaad Hall

Rashaad Hall (Understudy for Phillip) is a multi-hyphenate actor and artist from Chicago based in Los Angeles. His theatre credits include Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s “The Brothers Size” by Tarell Alvin McCraney (OWN’s “David Makes Man” and “Moonlight”) and has performed regionally at the Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Haven Theatre, and the Black Ensemble Theater, among others. Film credits include his recurring guest star role on the Emmy-nominated web series “Brown Girls” and a lead role in the queer indie feature “Rendezvous in Chicago.” He has been nominated for a Chicago Joseph Jefferson award with the cast of “The Hairy Ape” directed by Monty Cole. As a writer and director, he has devised work with The SlamFam Ensemble creating theatre based on spoken-word performance poetry. He is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency and MRK Management.

Kineta Kuntu

Kineta Kunutu (Understudy for Kaneisha and Teá) is a New York-based actor originally from Johannesburg, South Africa. Off-Broadway credits include: “bt i cd only whisper” (The Flea); “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival); “Father Comes Home from the War pt.1 & 2” understudy (Yale Rep). TV credits include a recurring role on NBC’s “The Blacklist,” Season 4 of the CBS All Access series “The Good Fight.” Kineta received her M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama.

James Patrick Nelson (Understudy for Jim and Dustin) just starred in “The Human Voice” at the Bay Street Theatre. Recent regional credits include “Immortal Longings” (Zach Theatre – World premiere by Terrence McNally), Bedlam’s “Pygmalion” (Central Square Theatre) and Bedlam’s “Sense and Sensibility” (American Repertory Theatre, Folger Theatre – Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Ensemble). Off-Broadway credits include “The Three Sisters” with Maggie Gyllenhaal, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with Bebe Neuwirth and Ivanov with Ethan Hawke. Additional credits include “Old Familiar Faces” (Innovative Theatre Nomination – Best Actor), “Pericles” (Berkeley Rep), “The Maids” (Outliers Theatre) and “Life x 3” (New Light Theatre Project). James created the short film “Waking Up,” which premiered at the Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival. He stars in the upcoming feature “Love in Kilnerry,” the upcoming short films “Cycle Vérité” and “Roost,” and he just wrapped filming his original pilot “For Years to Come.”

Galen J.Williams

Galen J. Williams (Understudy for Gary) is thrilled to make his CTG debut with “Slave Play.” Past credits: “Slave Play” (Broadway), “Motown the Musical” (Broadway/National tour), “POSE” (FX Networks), and “The Gaze: No Homo” (Emmy-Award Nominated Digital Series). M.F.A.: University of Southern California, B.F.A.: Howard University.

Jeremy O.Harrris

Jeremy O. Harris (Playwright) is a Tony-nominated writer, performer, and producer from Virginia. Plays: Slave Play, “Daddy,” “WATER SPORTS; or insignificant white boys;” and “Black Exhibition.” Jeremy co-wrote A24’s critically acclaimed 2021 film “Zola” with director Janicza Bravo. He has an overall deal with HBO where he is co-creating an adaptation of “The Vanishing Half” with Aziza Barnes. Additional credits include HBO’s “Euphoria” and upcoming HBO’s TV adaptation of “Irma Vep.” In 2020, he produced the premiere of Fake Friend’s Pulitzer Prize finalist “Circle Jerk,” created NYTW’s Golden & Ruth Harris commission for Black female playwrights, and funded Bushwick Starr’s pet project grants which funded over 175 artists. He is the recipient of the Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Vogel Playwrighting Award, a MacDowell Colony Fellow and is under commission from Lincoln Center Theater and The Public Theater. Jeremy is a graduate of Yale’s M.F.A. Playwrighting Program. Upcoming: “Daddy” (Almeida).

Robert O’Hara (Director) is the Tony-nominated director of “Slave Play” and is currently working on several film, television and theatre projects. He’s a two-time Obie Award and two-time NAACP Award winner whose work has been seen around the country. Among his recent and upcoming projects are, writing “Camp” for Warner Bros, to be directed by Billy Porter, directing “Long Days Journey Into Night” at Audible/Minetta Lane Theater, directing the revival of Anthony Davis’ “Opera, X: The Life and Times of Malcom X” in a co-pro of the MET, Michigan, Omaha and Seattle Opera. A member of SDC, WGA, DGA, AGMA.

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