Consistent, High Quality Cultural Events

Consistent, High Quality Cultural Events

Announcing the first two shows of our
2022-2023 SEASON

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November 17th-20th, 2022

November 17th-20th, 2022

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Layon Gray

Playwright/Director

Layon has spent more than two decades writing, directing and developing stage plays and films that reflect a wide array of  cultural movements. A native of Louisiana, Gray moved to Los Angeles in 2000 and quickly ascended as one of the city's premiere playwrights, earning more than 60 awards and nominations.

 

Among the honors are: 2019 Detroit Distinguished Playwright Award, 2018 Carbonell Awards (Best Director, Best Ensemble, Best Production) 2016 Broadway League Fellowship honor, 2012 NYC Inspire Award, 2012, Al Sharpton Man of Vision Award, 2012 PCTF Award (Best Director) 2010 NY AUDELCO Award (Achievement Award for Excellence); 

2009 NAACP Award (Best Ensemble Award); 2009 Hollywood ADA Award (Best Ensemble Award); 2008 MATCH-LIFE Artist of the Year; 2007 NAACP Award (Best Producer, Best Play); 2007 MITF Award (Best Play, Best Writer, Best Director, Best Producer); 2006 NAACP Award (BestPlay); 2005 Hollywood ADA Award (Best Play); 2004. 

Hollywood ADA Award (Best Play, Best Writer, Best Director); and 2003 Los Angeles MADDY Award (Best Play, Best Writer, Best Director, Best Ensemble). Presently, Black Angels Over Tuskegee, a play that Layon wrote and directed about the Tuskegee Airmen, is currently running in its eleventh year Off-Broadway in New York City.  

 

The play has reached global audiences around the world, and has been selected for private performances for several National Football League teams including the New York Jets, the Buffalo Bills, and the Los Angeles Chargers. Before the pandemic Layon was working on a deal to perform the play for the NFL's entire 32 teams and staff.

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Don Wilson Glenn 

Playwright

 

Is an African American playwright of Native American descent from the Apalachicola Band of Creek Indians of East Texas. He received his BA from the University of Houston at Clear Lake. Glenn is an International Award winning playwright receiving the 2019 Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Play Award for his play American Summer Squash: Katrina 2005 Raw, the 2020-21 season Problem Play Project playwright in resident at Bag & Baggage Theatre Company in Hillsborough, OR for the Meyer Memorial Trust-Oregon Cultural Trust and Cultural Coalition of Washington County for his play TROY USA co-author with Dmae Roberts, Glenn's "American Folklore Plays" American Menu, American King Umps and American Summer Squash have been developed and produced in Oregon by Passin' Arts Theatre, Vanport Mosaic and producer Damaris Webb, and his work has been produced in theatres across the country - New Federal/Woodie King, H.A.D.E.L.Y. Players/Ms. Gertrude Jeannette, Theatre for The New City/Crystal Field & Drilling Company; 2003 Outer Critic Award Nomination for American King Umps and 2002 A.U.D.E.L.C.O. Award for his play American Menu for Excellence in Black Theatre receiving Best Playwright, Best Director, Best Ensemble Cast, and Best Dramatic Production of the Year.

Dr. Lundeana M. Thomas

Director

dIRECTO

Is a University of Louisville Faculty Emeritus, and Full Professor earned her Ph. D. and Master’s from the University of Michigan and is the author of Barbara Ann Teer and the National Black Theatre: Transformational Forces in Harlem. Dr. Thomas became a Co-Director of the African American Theatre Program in 1996 and became Director in 2003. Major Accomplishments include: 1) recruiting many African American students; 2) securing minimum enrollments in all AATP classes; 3) securing a local, national, and international reputation for the program (Major trip to China in 2007); 4) securing finances for the program, including a Ford Foundation Grant in 2004; 5) securing high profile Practitioners and Academicians of theatre for students including Broadway Director, Kenny Leon; Carson-Adler Agent, Shirley Faison; Broadway Directors, Paul Carter Harrison and Clinton Turner Davis; Broadway Scenic Designer, Felix Cochren; and 6) created many standing courses and oversaw the Archives of the AATP. Additionally, Dr. Thomas was a founder and President of the Black Theatre Network. Thomas has also presented papers in Ghana, Australia, China and Spain, and performed at the Grahamstown Festival in South Africa with U of L students. She has directed over 75 productions including a 13thC. Chinese play adapted to a Hip Hop Play that has been presented at the National Black Theatre Festival and Singapore. Since retirement Dr. Thomas has directed Mason-Dixon and Harriet Tubman Visits a Therapist by Carolyn Gage for the The Victorian Players of Youngstown, Ohio; The Ballad of Emmett Till at New Heritage Theatre in Pittsburgh, Flyin’ West at the North Georgia State University and wrote and directed a Dinner Mystery Theatre for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in Youngstown.

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It's May 1968, just after the murder of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and a month before the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.  Five Black kitchen workers in a segregated lunch counter are forced to engage in painful self examination brought about by the senseless death of a young boy.  Through passionate conversations, these women face the realities of life on the cusp of change.  Jammed in a hot, airless room they must battle prejudice, poverty, ignorance and each other as they search for inspiration.

February 3rd - 19th, 2023

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