August Wilson's SEVEN GUITARS
September 12, 2015 - October 4, 2015
Directed by Brandon J. Dirden
Joan and Robert Rechnitz Theater
STRICTLY LIMITED ENGAGEMENT - MUST CLOSE OCTOBER 4!
“Seven Guitars hits a winning chord at Two River Theater”
– New Jersey Monthly
“Two River continues its impressive August Wilson streak”
– The Star-Ledger
“August Wilson’s Seven Guitars is 24-carat gold”
– Two River Times
“A must-see”, “an important, entertaining show and you will relish
every moment of this outstanding production”
– Broadway World
“an experience that’s more joyously, devastatingly, elegantly,
messily alive than most anything you’ll see on stage this season,”
– Asbury Park Press
You asked for it, you got it — more August Wilson! Following our critically acclaimed productions of Jitney and Two Trains Running, we are now taking you to Pittsburgh, 1948, where local blues guitarist Floyd “Schoolboy” Barton sits on the edge of stardom. Marking the directorial debut of Two River favorite Brandon J. Dirden (Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, Topdog/Underdog and Jitney), Seven Guitars will feature cast members Brittany Bellizeare (Ruby), Brian D. Coats (Hedley), Crystal Dickinson (Louise), Jason Dirden (Canewell), Charlie Hudson III (Red Carter), Kevin Mambo (Floyd Barton) and Christina Acosta Robinson (Vera).
Brittany Bellizeare (Ruby) Originally from the City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia), Brittany moved to New Jersey when she was 13 and has been living in Brooklyn for the past 9 years. She is thrilled to be working with Two River Theater for the first time and ecstatic to share the stage with a bunch of theater GIANTS! She recently worked on MTV’s Eye Candy and on Cinemax’s The Knick starring Clive Owen, directed by Steven Soderbergh. Her theater credits include an adaptation of Peter Pan called Peter/Wendy (The Cell), the Educational touring show Sunjata Kamalenya (McCarter Theater), A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Aleta Chapelle, A Raisin in the Sun (The Gallery Players) and she produced and starred in the one-woman show Chain by Pearl Cleage, directed by Crystal Dickinson. She’s participated in numerous festivals (including FringeNYC, The Fire This Time, 48 Hours in… Harlem and Samuel French) and the Shakespeare Lab at The Public. She received her BS in Mathematics from Spelman College and her MFA from The New School for Drama. She continues to thank God for every blessing and her family and friends for their loving support. And to her #1 champion… this one’s for you! RIP Dad. www.brittanybellizeare.com.
Brian D. Coats
Brian D. Coats (Hedley) NY Theater includes: The Big Man (Ensemble Studio Theatre’s 35th Marathon of One-Act Plays); La Ruta and Bamboo in Brooklyn (Working Theater); On the Levee (LCT3); The Merry Wives of Windsor and Two Gentlemen of Verona (The Public/Delacorte); Pudd’nhead Wilson (The Acting Company); Woza Albert! (Lincoln Center Institute). Regional includes: Invisible Man (Huntington Theatre Company/Studio Theater, DC), shared Helen Hayes Award; Fences, A Raisin in the Sun, The Odd Couple (Geva Theatre Center); Clybourne Park (SE Premiere, Caldwell Theatre); Distant Fires (People’s Light & Theatre), shared Philadelphia’s Barrymore Award. Film/TV credits include: For Flow (HBO), Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, JAG, Big Lake, Blue Bloods, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire. Graduate: University North Carolina School of the Arts. Upcoming: world premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s The Nest (Denver Theater Center). He dedicates these performances to the memory of Curtis McClarin who graced the Two River Theater stage as George in Lynn Nottage’s play Intimate Apparel five years ago.
Crystal A. Dickinson
Crystal A. Dickinson (Louise) is a New Jersey native, proud to be making her New Jersey debut at Two River Theater! Broadway: You Can't Take It With You, Clybourne Park (Theater World Award). Playwrights Horizons: The Call, Clybourne Park; Signature Theatre: The First Breeze of Summer; Lincoln Center: Broke-ology; Soho Rep: Born Bad; Negro Ensemble Company: Sundown Names and Night-gone Things; Atlantic Theater: Bottom of the World. Regional: Contemporary American Theater Festival, Baltimore Centerstage, 7 Stages, Georgia Shakespeare, Houston Shakespeare, Illinois Shakespeare, Synchronicity. Television: The Good Wife, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. Film: This is Where I Leave You, I Origins. Education: MFA University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a proud volunteer at the 52nd Street Project. Follow her Instagram at crystal.dickinson.
Jason Dirden (Canewell) This moment is truly an overflow of blessings! I get to work with my brother and sister-in-law on an August Wilson play all while returning to Two River Theater. Credits include: Broadway: A Raisin in the Sun, Fences. Off-Broadway: The First Breeze of Summer (Signature Theatre). Regional: Topdog/Underdog (Two River Theater); A Raisin in the Sun (Ebony Repertory Theatre); August Wilson’s Century Cycle (The Kennedy Center); Every Tongue Confess (Arena Stage); Stick Fly (Huntington Theatre). Training: Morehouse College and University of Illinois. Twitter/Instagram: @jasondirden
Charlie Hudson III
Charlie Hudson III (Red Carter) is thrilled to make his Two River debut. Charlie was last seen performing in Father Comes Home from the Wars at American Repertory Theater. Previous shows include A Raisin in the Sun (Barrymore Theatre, Broadway); The Raisin Cycle: Clybourne Park and Beneatha’s Place (Baltimore Centerstage); Hurt Village (Signature Theatre Company); Fences (Virginia Stage Company); The Piano Lesson (Yale Repertory Theatre); Bike Wreck (Ensemble Studio Theatre); White Women Street (Irish Repertory Theatre); “Master Harold”… and the boys (Portland Stage Company); Fly (Crossroads Theater and The Vineyard Playhouse); A Raisin in the Sun, Richard III, A Christmas Carol, All the King’s Men, Cyrano de Bergerac (Trinity Repertory Company); Hillary (New Georges); Old Comedy (Classic Stage Company); Mother Courage (Public Theater/NYSF); Sweet Bird of Youth (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Romeo and Juliet (Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble); Julius Caesar, Topdog/Underdog (Brown/ Trinity Consortium). His television included Crime (HBO), Shades of Blues (NBC), Unforgettable (CBS), Forever (ABC), The Rosa Parks Story (CBS), and A Raisin in the Sun Revisited (PBS). Film credits include Untitled Joshua Marston Film, Newlyweeds, Lillian, and his voice is featured in the McGraw-Hill's PodClass GRE Vocabulary Study Guide. Mr. Hudson is the 2003 KC/ACTF Irene Ryan Best Actor Award winner (Region IV). The “Charlie Hudson III Award” was established in his honor at his undergraduate alma mater, Alabama State University. Mr. Hudson is MFA graduate of the Brown University/Trinity Repertory Consortium. Charlie would like to thank God for this opportunity and his loving family for their support.
Kevin Mambo (Floyd Barton) What a way to begin my journey with August Wilson: with these most amazing people, in such a special place. Humble thanks to this team, and to Brandon for allowing me hold such a bright torch. Broadway: Fela! (Eugene O’Neill Theatre). First National Tour: Book of Mormon. Off-Broadway: Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek (Signature), Fortress of Solitude (The Public), Brothers from the Bottom (Billie Holiday/NOCCA), SCKBSTD (Virginia Stage, with music and lyrics by Bruce Hornsby), Ruined (Goodman Theatre, MTC; winner of the Pulitzer Prize), Hoodoo Love (Cherry Lane), Jailbait (52nd St. Theater), Once Around the Sun (Zipper), The Last Detail (Lucille Lortel), The Memory of Love’s Refrain (52nd St Theater) , The Convert (McCarter/Goodman/Kirk Douglas), Theatre for One. Film: Cadillac Records, Nina, Trooper, The Firing Squad, One of Us Tripped. Select TV: Happyish, Mistresses, Soul Food, Law & Order: SVU, Deadline, Criminal Intent, Spin City. Awards: three consecutive Daytime Emmy noms, two Daytime Emmy Awards, Helen Hayes nom. This performance is dedicated to my mother, who could patiently sit as I found the voice of my own guitar. xo
Christina Acosta Robinson
Christina Acosta Robinson (Vera) is blessed beyond words to be doing this play with these remarkable collaborators. Recent credits include the role of Titania in The Guthrie Theater’s production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Shug Avery in The Color Purple at Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Other credits include: Hennie in William Finn’s Romance in Hard Times at Barrington Stage Company; The Unfortunates and My Fair Lady (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Caroline, or Change (Syracuse Stage); Sarah in Ragtime (Arvada Center); Death of a Salesman (Yale Repertory Theatre); The House of the Spirits (Mixed Blood Theatre); The Exonerated (Pittsburgh Playhouse); Mattie Campbell in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Pittsburgh Playwrights). Film/TV: Smash; Must Be the Music; Fine Tune. Training: M.F.A. — Yale School of Drama.
August Wilson (Playwright), April 27, 1945—Oct. 2, 2005, was the author of a 10-play cycle about the African-American experience, each one set in a different decade of the 20th Century. His early years were spent in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, the setting for all but one of his plays. The plays in the Pittsburgh Cycle (also called the Century Cycle) have been produced across the United States, on Broadway, and all over the world. Seven Guitars was developed at the Goodman Theatre and Huntington Theatre Company and opened on Broadway in 1996. The other plays in the cycle are Gem of the Ocean, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Fences, Two Trains Running, Jitney, King Hedley II, and Radio Golf. In 2003, Wilson made his professional stage debut as an actor in his one-man show, How I Learned What I Learned. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes (for Fences and The Piano Lesson), a Tony Award for Fences, Great Britain’s Olivier Award for Jitney, seven New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for best play, and many other honors, fellowships, and honorary degrees. Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre on West 52nd Street was renamed in his honor on October 16, 2005.
Brandon J. Dirden
Brandon J. Dirden (Director) is an award-winning actor who is making his directorial debut with this production. Among his many credits as an actor in the plays of August Wilson, Mr. Dirden made his professional debut in a 1990 production of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the Alley Theatre and was honored with an Obie, AUDELCO, and Theatre World Award for his performance in The Piano Lesson at Signature Theatre in 2012. He made his Two River Theater debut in Wilson’s Jitney. He has also appeared at Two River in the world premiere of Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine and in Topdog/Underdog, in which he starred opposite his brother Jason Dirden under the direction of the play’s author, Suzan-Lori Parks. On Broadway, his credits include Clybourne Park (in which he appeared with his wife, Crystal Dickinson) and, most recently, All the Way, in which he starred as Martin Luther King Jr. opposite Bryan Cranston’s Lyndon Johnson. Television credits include The Good Wife, The Big C and FX’s acclaimed drama The Americans. You can also see him on TNT’s new series Public Morals and Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down (Netflix 2016). Training: BA, Morehouse College and MFA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Twitter: @brandondirden. For more information visit: www.brandondirden.com.
Michael Carnahan (Scenic Designer) previously designed Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, Third, On Borrowed Time, and August Wilson’s Two Trains Running at Two River. First Nat’l Tour: A Christmas Story: The Musical. Off-Broadway: I and You (59E59); Life Could Be a Dream (59E59); The Happiest Song Plays Last (Second Stage); The Piano Lesson, The First Breeze of Summer (both Signature Theatre); The Marvelous Wonderettes; Three Mo’ Tenors; Pygmalion; Howie the Rookie; Brando. Regional: Arena Stage, American Conservatory Theater, McCarter Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Pasadena Playhouse, Cleveland Play House, Merrimack Rep, Laguna Playhouse, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Northlight Theatre, Signature Theatre (Arlington, VA), Bucks County Playhouse, Guild Hall (East Hampton), Ogunquit Playhouse, Arsht Center, Musical Theatre West, San Jose Repertory. Broadway (Associate Scenic Designer): Allegiance; The River; ANN: The Ann Richards Play; Cyrano de Bergerac; Peter and The Starcatcher; The Importance of Being Earnest; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; All About Me; White Christmas; Curtains.
Karen Perry (Costume Designer) previously designed Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, Guadalupe in the Guest Room, Third, Trouble in Mind, and August Wilson’s Jitney and Two Trains Running at Two River. Recent credits include The Happiest Song Plays Last (Second Stage); Clybourne Park, A Raisin in the Sun (Dallas Theater Center); stop. reset. and The Piano Lesson (Signature); Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (dir. Phylicia Rashad, Mark Taper); the 10th Anniversary production of Crowns, written and dir. by Regina Taylor (Goodman); Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky, dir. Sheldon Epps (Pasadena Playhouse); John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, dir. Ethan McSweeny (Arena); Regina Taylor’s Trinity River Plays, dir. McSweeny (Dallas Theater Center, Goodman); The Trip to Bountiful, Walter Mosley’s The Fall of Heaven, dir. Marion McClinton (Cincinnati Playhouse); The Brother/Sister Plays by Tarell McCraney, dir. Tina Landau (The Public) and Landau and Robert O’Hara (McCarter); Things of Dry Hours by Naomi Wallace (NYTW); Having Our Say, written and dir. by Emily Mann (McCarter); and Resurrection by Daniel Beaty (Arena). She has designed eight of the 10 August Wilson plays including: Gem of the Ocean, The Piano Lesson, King Hedley II, Radio Golf, Two Trains Running, and Seven Guitars. Honors include: three NAACP Image Awards (Joe Turner, Blues for Alabama Sky, Rosa Parks Story), six AUDELCO Awards, Chicago’s Ira Aldridge Award 2012, Ovation TV Theatre Award 2013, the 2007 San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award, the 2006 “Woodie” Award, and the 2005 National Black Theatre Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award; as well as Henry Hewes and Lortel nominations. Select film/TV credits include: Gregory Hines Show, Saturday Night Live, and The Brother from Another Planet by director John Sayles.
Driscoll Otto (Lighting Designer) previously designed Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine for Two River Theater. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut with La Donna del Lago last spring. Off-Broadway Driscoll recently designed Under My Skin. Other venues in NYC include Ars Nova, The Mint, The Ohio, La MaMa, Lincoln Center Jazz, and Gotham Chamber Opera. Driscoll’s work is seen frequently in regional opera and theatre. Recently he designed The Colored Museum at Huntington Theatre Company, Next to Normal at Baltimore’s Center Stage, and The Barber of Seville at Philadelphia Opera. Other companies include NC Opera, Virginia Opera, Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Opera, Houston Shakespeare Festival, Trinity Repertory Company, Hangar Theatre, Flat Rock Playhouse, Utah Festival Opera and productions of Legally Blonde and Rock of Ages for Norwegian Cruise Lines. MFA, NYU Tisch School of the Arts. His portfolio can be viewed at http://www.LoneStarNYC.com
David Margolin Lawson
David Margolin Lawson (Sound Designer) is a New York based sound designer and recording engineer. Previously for TRT: Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel (2010). Recent NY area credits include: Napoleon (NYMF), The Queen Bees (Queens Theatre in the Park), A Happy End (Abingdon Theatre Co.), A Perfect Ganesh (Luna Stage), The Seagull (dir. Max Stafford-Clark, Culture Project), Barcelo con Hielo (Repertorio Espanol), The Last Will (dir. Austin Pendleton, Abingdon Theatre Co.), Bronte: A Portrait of Charlotte (Ars Nova), The Sphinx Winx (Beckett Theatre), La Barberia (New World Stages), The First Breeze of Summer (dir. Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Signature Theatre Co.). David teaches Sound Design at Pace University, NYC. www.dmlsoundny.com
Jason Moran (Original Music) Jazz pianist, composer Jason Moran was born in Houston, TX in 1975 and earned a degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Jaki Byard. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2010 and is the Artistic Director for Jazz at The Kennedy Center. Moran has recorded nine critically acclaimed albums for Blue Note Records, the latest All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller. His rich and varied body of work is actively shaping the current and future landscape of jazz. He has recorded with Cassandra Wilson, Charles Lloyd, Bill Frisell, Sam Rivers, Meshell N’degeocello and many others. Moran scored Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated film Selma and his cross discipline collaborators include the artists Adrian Piper, Joan Jonas, Glenn Ligon, Stan Douglas, Adam Pendleton, Lorna Simpson, Theaster Gates and Kara Walker. Commissioning institutions of Moran’s work include the Walker Art Center, Chicago Symphony Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Monterey Jazz Festival, among many others. Moran has a long-standing collaborative practice with his wife, the singer and Broadway actress Alicia Hall Moran; as named artists in the 2012 Whitney Biennial, they together constructed BLEED, a five-day series of 30 performances featuring 95 participants. BLEED explored the power of performance to cross barriers and challenge assumptions, and it was widely hailed as groundbreaking in the music and performance realm. Their collaboration, WORK SONGS, was commissioned by the 72nd Venice Art Biennial along with his first mixed-media installations STAGED: Savoy Ballroom and Three Deuces. He continues to collaborate with choreographers Alonzo King and Ronald K. Brown, poets Elizabeth Alexander and Yusef Komunyakaa, Moran currently teaches at the New England Conservatory in Boston.
Erin Hicks (Wig Designer) was born in New York City and grew up in Harlem. Her love for hairstyling began when she was a high school junior and was offered a job working as a hair assistant on The Winter’s Tale at the New York Shakespeare Festival, starring Alfre Woodard, Mandy Patinkin, and Diane Venora. She continued onto other shows working with such talents as Gloria Foster, Helen Hunt, Don Cheadle and Morgan Freeman. By the time she left NYSF she was Supervisor of the hit Broadway show Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk. Over the last 20 years she has worked on various Broadway, film and TV shows such as Cyrano, Ragtime, Fosse, A Christmas Carol, Beauty & the Beast, The Lion King, The Sopranos, NY Minute, Rescue Me, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Law Abiding Citizen, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, Gravity, Madea’s Big Happy Family, Are We There Yet, Don’t Trust the B* In Apt. 23, Elementary. She has held the position of Department Head Hair on The Architect, Ira & Abby, Shame, Begin Again, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, That Awkward Moment, Black Nativity, The Cobbler, Friends of the People. Erin had the great opportunity to style the hair of Keira Knightley, Mila Kunis, Carey Mulligan, Diahann Carroll, Angela Bassett, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Nicole Beharie, Telma Hopkins, Adam Sandler, Michael Fassbender, Zac Efron, Mos Def, and Bill Bellamy to name a few.
UnkleDave’s Fight-House (Fight Direction) is a team of fight directors led by David Anzuelo. Jesse Geguzis, Gerardo Rodriguez and Sean Griffin are the core members. Two River credits: Be More Chill, School for Wives. Broadway: An American in Paris (Palace), Disgraced (Lyceum). Off-Broadway: The Liquid Plain, And I and Silence (Signature); To the Bone (Cherry Lane); The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters (Playwrights Horizons); Adoration of the Old Woman (INTAR); The Muscles in Our Toes (Labyrinth); Sticks and Bones (New Group); Ode to Joy (Rattlestick). Film: Poor Behavior, Big Al, Emoticon.
Heidi Griffiths (Casting) has worked for more than 20 years at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in NYC, where she has cast over 200 productions Off-Broadway and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, including Shakespeare, new plays, and musicals. On Broadway: A Delicate Balance; A Raisin in the Sun; Lucky Guy; Chinglish; The Motherf**ker with the Hat; The Merchant of Venice; Hair; Passing Strange; Caroline, or Change; Take Me Out (Tony Award, Best Play 2003); Topdog/Underdog (Pulitzer Prize, 2002); The Wild Party; Bring in ’Da Noise, Bring in ’Da Funk; On the Town; and The Tempest. She also cast the films The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love, MURDER and murder, and Saving Face. Seven Guitars is her fifth collaboration with Two River Theater.
Kate Murray (Casting) Selected casting credits include: Two River Theater: Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine and The School for Wives. Broadway: A Delicate Balance (Casting Associate), A Raisin in the Sun (Casting Associate), Lucky Guy (Casting Assistant). Off-Broadway: Summer Shorts 2015 (59E59), To the Bone (Cherry Lane Theater). Regional: Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s 2015 Summer Season. Kate has been the Casting Director for the Cherry Lane Mentor Project since 2013, and for the BAFTA/Rocliffe New Writing Forum since 2011. Film: Across the Sea, My First Kiss and the People Involved. Kate is the Casting Associate at The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival.
Production Stage Manager
Laura Wilson (Production Stage Manager) Two River Theater: Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, Third, No Place to Go. Broadway: All the Way, First Date, A Free Man of Color, The People in the Picture. Off-Broadway: The Really Big Once, A Family of Perhaps Three (Target Margin Theater). Tour: Soul Doctor. Regional: Bull Durham (Alliance Theater); Period of Adjustment (dir. David Auburn), Moonchildren (dir. Karen Allen), I Saw My Neighbor on the Train and I Didn’t Even Smile (Berkshire Theater Group); Guys and Dolls (Riverside Theatre); The Three Sisters, The Boys from Syracuse, and Naomi Wallace’s Things of Dry Hours (Centerstage, Baltimore); Lydia R. Diamond’s Stick Fly, Lee Blessing’s Lonesome Hollow, Neil LaBute’s Wrecks (Contemporary American Theater Festival); Tom Stoppard’s On the Razzle (Clarence Brown Theater); All in the Timing, Mac Wellman’s School for Devils (The Hangar Theatre).
Playlist of Artists & Music Featured in SEVEN GUITARS