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Wine in the Wilderness By Alice Childress Directed by Brandon J. Dirden

WINE IN THE WILDERNESS

Rechnitz Theater

By Drama Desk Award winner Alice Childress
Directed by Obie Award winner Brandon J. Dirden

Run Time: 75 minutes, no intermission

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An artist finds his muse – and gets more than he expected.

As an uprising rocks his Harlem neighborhood on a hot summer night, artist Bill Jameson is more focused on finishing his latest work: three paintings representing three types of Black womanhood. More than his artistic vision is challenged by the arrival of an unexpected muse, who refuses to be bound by his shallow assumptions of all that Black womanhood can be. This reflection on how art truly reflects life is directed by Obie Award winner Brandon J. Dirden (director of August Wilson’s Radio Golf and King Hedley II) and features Crystal Dickinson (A Raisin in the SunAugust Wilson’s Seven Guitars). Production sponsored by Bank of America.

This performance contains: Strong language, adult situations and use of racial slurs.

If you have questions or would like more information, call the box office at 732.345.1400

WATCH

Official Trailer

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The Cast of Wine in the Wilderness Draw Each Other

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Wine in the Wilderness Q&A

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MEET THE ARTISTS

The Cast

Brittany Bellizeare

Brittany Bellizeare (CYNTHIA) is a native of Philadelphia who currently resides in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Some of her New York City credits include the Off-Broadway production of Charly Evon Simpson’s new play sandblasted (Angela) co-produced by Vineyard Theatre and WP Theatre, FAT HAM (Opal, short term u/s), an audio play Retreat (Constance), Blacken the Bubble (Kanese), A Raisin in the Sun (Beneatha) and various festivals including The Fire This Time, 48 Hours in… Harlem, NY Fringe, and Samuel French. Regionally she’s worked at Chicago Shakespeare Theater as Juliet in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Two River Theatre in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars (Ruby) and King Hedley II (Tonya), The Geva Theatre Center: The Magician’s Daughter (Miranda), The Portland Center Stage (Oregon) JAW Festival: three girls never learnt the way home (Edith), Baltimore Center Stage: Skeleton Crew (Shanita), The Guthrie: The Bluest Eye (Pecola), where she was named one of the Top 10 Actors of the Decade in The Star Tribune (Dec 2019), TheaterWorks Hartford: Sunset Baby (Nina), a co-production with La Jolla Playhouse and Berkeley Repertory Theatre: The Last Tiger in Haiti (Rose) [NAACP Theatre for Best Ensemble nomination] and Northern Stage: Its a Wonderful Life, a radio play (Mary) and The Mountaintop (Camae). Her TV credits include The Equalizer, American Rust, The Blacklist, Eye Candy, and The Knick. For film she’s appeared in shorts “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul” [which was featured on Issa Rae’s YouTube Channel for #ShortFilmSundays], “Everything Absolutely” and “But Rosita, I love you” to name a few. She received her MFA in Acting from The New School for Drama and her BS in Mathematics from Spelman College. www.brittanybellizeare.com 

Crystal A. Dickinson

Crystal Dickinson (TOMMY) is so happy to be back at TRT! Previous productions include A Raisin in The Sun and Seven Guitars. Broadway: the Tony Award Winning Play, Clybourne Park, and Tony Nominated Play, You Can’t Take It With You; Recent Off-Broadway credits include: Lessons In Survival:1971 at The Vineyard Theater and Cullud Wattah at The Public Theater.  She has also performed at Lincoln Center, Signature Theater, Playwrights Horizons and The Atlantic; Film & TV credits:  I OriginsThe Good Wife, Feed the Beast, New Amsterdam and recurring roles on the Showtime drama, The CHI and ABC’s, For Life.

Ricardy Fabre

Ricardy Fabre (SONNY-MAN) is honored to be making his Debut at Two River Theater. Theatre Credits Include; New Golden Age (Primary Stages), Stick fly (Rep. Theatre of St. Louis), The Christians (Chautauqua Theatre Company), A Raisin in the Sun (Seattle Rep), Our Town (Portland Center Stage), Christmas Carol (Trinity Rep), Lessons in Survival (Vineyard Theatre), I and You (The People’s Light), The Convert (Central Square Theatre); Film: Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (Netflix). Education: Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Acting. 

Korey Jackson

Korey Jackson (BILL JAMESON) Born in Hackensack, NJ and growing up in both New Jersey and Maryland, Korey is excited to be returning to Two River Theater where he appeared in School for Wives in 2014. Other theater credits include: The Hot Wing King (Signature Theater), Wild With Happy (The Public), Macbeth (Berkeley Rep), Far From Heaven (Playwrights Horizons), Sex of the Baby (Access Theater). TV/Film credits include: Godfather of Harlem (Epix), House of Cards (Netflix), Daredevil (Netflix), The Blacklist (NBC) and 5 Flights Up (Focus). As a producer and director he is co-founder of the production company F.A.M. Creative, which has produced such projects as the Emmy nominated short film Sole Variations (All Arts), Cupids (BET/CBS), Incomplete (Hulu), and The Mark (ABFF). He is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts’ Graduate Acting program and a frequent volunteer with the 52nd Street Project, Art In The Armed Forces (AITAF), and Stories 4 Strength.

Keith Randolph Smith

Keith Randolph Smith (OLDTIMER)

Broadway: JITNEY; FENCES; AMERICAN PSYCHO; COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA; KING HEDLEY II; SALOME; PIANO LESSON

Off-Broadway: WHAT THE END WILL BE (Roundabout); PARADISE BLUE (Signature); LOCKDOWN (Rattlestick); THE REVOLVING CYCLES TRULY AND STEADILY ROLL’D (Playwrights Realm); INTIMACY (The New Group); FABULATION (Playwrights Horizons); TAMBURLAINE (TFANA)

Regionally: MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Two River/Cal Shakes); A HUMAN BEING, OF A SORT (Williamstown); HOW TO CATCH CREATION (Goodman); THE SEAGULL & IVANOV (Lake Lucille Project); TARTUFFE & ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (Hartford Stage) WATER BY THE SPOONFUL (Old Globe)

Film & TV: MALCOLM X; GIRL SIX; FALLOUT; PATH TO PARADISE; BACKSTREET JUSTICE; DEAD DOGS LIE; ANESTHESIA; THE GOOD FIGHT; LAW AND ORDER; NY UNDERCOVER; I’LL FLY AWAY

Member of THE ACTORS CENTER and QUICKSILVER THEATER COMPANY. Alum of THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF DRAMATIC ARTS NY

The Creatives

Playwright

Alice Childress
Alice Childress

Alice Childress (1916-1994) was an American playwright, novelist and actress well known for her poignant stories centering on the lived experiences of Black Americans. Originally from South Carolina, Childress moved to Harlem, NY at the age of nine to live with her grandmother, the daughter of a slave. Childress’ grandmother encouraged her to pursue her talents in writing and acting from a young age. In 1939, Childress began studying Drama at the American Negro Theatre (ANT) and performed for the company for 11 years, appearing in multiple productions, including Phillip Yudan’s Anna Lucasta which moved to Broadway and became the longest-running all-Black play in Broadway history. In 1949, Childress began her writing career with her first play, Florence, which she directed and starred in, and which reflected many themes that would be prominent in her later writing: the empowerment of Black women, interracial politics and working-class life. The success of Childress’ works and their resonance with the public allowed her to bring Harlem’s first all-union Off-Broadway contracts into practice. Trouble in Mind, Childress’ first full-length, dramatic play, ran for 91 performances at Stella Holt’s Greenwich Mews Theatre in 1955 and was heading for a Broadway debut, but these plans fell through when Childress refused to change the play’s ending, at the request of white Broadway producers. Had it opened, Trouble in Mind would have been the first play by an African American woman to open on Broadway (a title taken by A Raisin in the Sun four years later). In 2021, Roundabout Theatre’s acclaimed revival of Trouble in Mind brought the show to Broadway, where it was nominated for four Tony Awards. Other plays by Childress include Gold Through the Trees (1952), Wedding Band (1966), String (1969), Young Martin Luther King, Jr. (1968), Wine in the Wilderness (1969), Mojo: A Black Love Story (1970), When the Rattlesnake Sounds (1975), Let’s Hear It for the Queen (1976), Sea Island Song, later retitled Gullah (1977), Moms: A Praise Play for a Black Comedienne (1987).

Director

Brandon J. Dirden
Brandon J. Dirden

Brandon J. Dirden is truly grateful to be returning to Red Bank.  Wine in the Wilderness marks his fourth time directing for Two River Theater. Previously, Brandon made his directorial debut with August Wilson’s Seven Guitars and followed that up with King Hedley II and last season’s Radio Golf.  As an actor, he has been seen in the Two River Theater acclaimed productions of Topdog UnderdogJitney, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the world premiere of Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine by Ruben Santiago Hudson and A Raisin in the Sun. Brandon most recently appeared on Broadway starring in the Tony Award-winning production of Take Me Out and Skeleton Crew for which he received a Drama Desk nomination.  He also appeared on Broadway as Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Tony Award-winning production of All the Way, with Bryan Cranston, as ‘Booster’; the Tony Award-winning revival of August Wilson’s Jitney; Clybourne Park; Enron; and Prelude to a Kiss. Off-Broadway, he has appeared in The Piano Lesson, for which he won Obie, Theatre World and AUDELCO awards; The First Breeze of Summer and Day of Absence at Signature Theatre; Detroit ’67 at the Public Theater and Classical Theatre of Harlem; Peter and the Starcatcher at New York Theatre Workshop and as ‘Brutus’ in TFANA’s production of Juilius Caesar. On screen he has appeared in The Good Wife, For Life, Evil, The Big C, Public Morals, Mainifest, The Get Down, The Accidental Wolf, Blue Bloods, The Quad, the FX miniseries Mrs. America and four seasons of FX’s The Americans as Agent Dennis Aderholt.  Brandon is an Associate Arts Professor on the faculty of Tisch Grad Acting at NYU; a frequent volunteer at the 52nd Street Project; and a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association. 

Stage Manager

Alex Murphy
Alex Murphy

Alex Murphy (STAGE MANAGER) is a NY-based Stage Manager having worked on the Off-Broadway productions of Romeo and Bernadette, and Two’s a Crowd. Before moving to NYC, Alex was the Resident Stage Manager for Kansas City Actors Theatre in Kansas City, MO,  for three seasons, working on such productions as Death and the Maiden, And Then There Were None, and Skylight.  Recent credits include American Prophet (ASM, Arena Stage), and Still Ready (SM, Actors Theatre of Louisville.)

Assistant Stage Manager

Natalie Jones
Natalie Jones

Natalie Jones (ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER) is a freelance theatre artist based in Astoria, Queens. Previous stage management credits include: Sistas the Musical (Off-Broadway), Gruesome Playground Injuries, Songs for a New World, Marguerite (starring Tony Award-winner Cady Huffman), Romeo and Juliet, In The Bleak Midwinter (produced, written by, and starring Emmy Award- winner Dorothy Lyman), Elvira: The Immigration Play (Collaboraction Theater – Chicago, IL), Memphis, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Suffolk Theater – Long Island, NY), Ebenezer (Resorts Casino – Atlantic City, NJ), and Much Ado About Nothing, among others. In addition to her stage management work, Natalie is a Kennedy Center-recognized performer and director as well as an accomplished teaching artist and dialect coach. Ephesians 6:7.

Wig Designer

Nikiya Mathis
Nikiya Mathis

Nikiya Mathis (WIG DESIGNER)

Scenic Designer

Richard H. Morris, Jr.
Richard H. Morris, Jr.

RICHARD H. MORRIS JR. (Scenic Designer) is a Cleveland, Ohio based Scenic and Lighting designer. Recent designs include, Two Trains Running, Pittsburgh Public Theatre,  Bourbon at the Border, Allegheny Play Shop theatre, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Karamu House.  Mr Morris has designed Scenery for over 150 Productions,  and was the recipient of the 2011 National Black Theatre Festival award for “Outstanding Achievements in Scenic Design”. In 2013, Mr Morris was  Keynote Speaker at Alabama State University on African Americans In Scenic Design.  He is currently Technical Director/Resident Scenic Designer for Weathervane Playhouse in Akron Ohio.  Mr. Morris’ Scenic and Lighting Designs have been seen at Akron School of Performing Arts, Ensemble Theatre Cleveland, Cleveland Public Theatre, Oberlin College Theatre, Dobama Theatre, Akron Civic Theatre, and  Rabbit Run Theatre. Mr. Morris holds a B.A. in Scenic and Lighting Design from Kent State University.

Lighting Designer

Kathy A. Perkins
Kathy A. Perkins

Kathy A. Perkins (LIGHTING DESIGNER) has designed lighting for Broadway (Trouble in Mind), Off-Broadway, and regional theatres such as American Conservatory Theatre, Arena Stage, Berkeley Repertory, Seattle Repertory, St. Louis Black Repertory, Alliance, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Baltimore Center Stage, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, New Federal Theatre, Mark Taper, Yale Repertory, Actors Theatre of Louisville, People’s Light, and Playmakers Repertory.

As a scholar, she is the editor of seven anthologies focusing on women both nationally and internationally, including Selected Plays: Alice Childress.  She is a senior editor of the Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance. 

Kathy has traveled to nearly fifty countries as both designer and lecturer and is the recipient of numerous research and design awards, including Ford Foundation, Fulbright, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and an NAACP Image Award.  She received the 2021 United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Distinguished Achievement Award for both Education and Lighting Design.

In 1995, Kathy co-curated ONSTAGE: A Century of African American Stage Design at New York’s Lincoln Center.  In 2016 she served as theatre consultant for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture inaugural exhibition Taking the Stage.

In 2007 she was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. She received her BFA from Howard University and her M.F.A. from the University of Michigan.

Kathy is faculty Emerita at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Costume Designer

Karen Perry
Karen Perry

KAREN PERRY (Costume Designer) previously designed August Wilson’s King Hedley IIMa Rainey’s Black BottomJitneyTwo Trains Running, Seven Guitars and Radio Golf at Two River, as well as Love in Hate NationOo-Bla-DeeLives of ReasonYour Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, Guadalupe in the Guest RoomThird and Trouble in Mind. Her most recent credits include Run-Boy-Run & In Old Age (New York Theatre Workshop), Mothers (Playwrights Realm), Jazz (MTC), Lackawanna Blues with Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Mark Taper Forum), Fun Home (Baltimore Center Stage), Steel Magnolias, Hair, Dreamgirls (DTC), Oklahoma! (Houston Ballet at TUTS) and Cinderella Ballet (Eglevsky Ballet Company). Other credits include Danai Gurira’s Familiar (Woolly Mammoth, Guthrie, Seattle Rep), Cabin in the Sky (Encores!), Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky (Pasadena Playhouse), John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, dir. Ethan McSweeny (Arena), Crownsstop. reset, Trinity River Trilogy by Regina Taylor (Goodman, STC, DTC/Arena), The Trip to Bountiful, Walter Mosley’s The Fall of Heaven, dir. Marion McClinton (Cincinnati Playhouse), The Brother/Sister Plays by Tarell McCraney, dirs. Tina Landau and Robert O’Hara (The Public/McCarter), Having Our Say by Emily Mann (McCarter), and Resurrection by Daniel Beaty (Arena). She has designed every play in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle except Fences. Film/TV credits include Gregory Hines ShowSaturday Night Live, and The Brother from Another Planet by director John Sayles. Wine in the Wildness is proudly Karen’s 14th production with TRTC. Currently: Raisin in the Sun @ the Public Theater.

Associate Costume Designer

Caity Mulkearns
Caity Mulkearns

Caity Mulkearns (ASSOCIATE COSTUME DESIGNER) is excited to kick off her 10th Season working with Two River Theater! Broadway: Lackawanna Blues. West End: Mad House. Off-Broadway: A Raisin in the Sun (Public Theater), The Alchemist, The Government Inspector (Red Bull Theater), The Headlands (LTC3), SEARED (MCC) The Thanksgiving Play, Noura (Playwrights Horizons). Tour: RENT JAPAN, RENT National US Tour, Small Mouth Sounds, Underground Railroad Game. Regional: Other World: A New Musical; Two River Theater, New York City Dance Alliance.  MFA from Rutgers University and avid self-taught baker.

Sound Designer

Kay Richardson
Kay Richardson

Kay Richardson (SOUND DESIGNER) is a two-time Suzi Bass nominated Sound Designer and Audio Engineer. Wine in the Wilderness marks Kay’s return to the Two River family. Regional Theatre designs include: The Hound of the Baskervilles at Alpine Theatre Project in Whitefish, MT, August Wilson’s Radio Golf and King Hedley II at Two River Theatre in Red Bank, NJ, Eclipsed at Synchronicity Theatre, Thurgood at Theatrical Outfit, Between Riverside & Crazy, Smart People, Fetch Clay Make Man and Gut Bucket Blues at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company all in Atlanta, GA. Additional design work includes: A Man of No Importance, Spring Awakening, The Colored Museum, A Song for Coretta, and Seven Guitars. Kay has toured in all 50 of the United States and in over 45 countries mixing live sound for musicals and concerts. Currently she is the Sound Supervisor at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts in Princeton, NJ.

Intimacy Coordinator

Kaja Dunn
Kaja Dunn

Kaja Dunn (INTIMACY COORDINATOR) is an intimacy professional, diversity consultant, and associate faculty at Theatrical Intimacy Education. Kaja is a member of SAG-AFTRA and an actor, director, and activist with performances in over 40 productions in 5 countries including Theatrical Outfit, Playmakers Rep, Moxie Theatre and others. Current favorite intimacy work includes American Prophet (Arena Stage), Choir Boy (Denver Center and ACT Seattle) Harlem (Amazon), Strange Loop (Broadway, associate Intimacy Director), The Best Man, The Final Chapter (Peacock). She is a recipient of the Kennedy Center’s National Medallion for her work on theatre and race. She has published in several journals about race and theatre, intimacy and co-authored a chapter in Arden Research Companion to Shakespeare and Contemporary Performance. She has presented on issues of Equity and Diversity and theatre for theaters and universities, Actor’s Equity Association as their racial consultant, The Women’s Theatre Festival, Blumenthal Performing Arts, MICHA, North Carolina Theatre Association (Keynote Panelist), Children’s Theatre Charlotte, Anti-Racism and Decolonization at University of London Goldsmiths, SETC and SETC Theatre Symposium, KCATF and The Association of Theatre in Higher Education, among other places. She is on the Executive Board of the Black Theatre Network and a former executive member of Black Theatre Association. She was recently interviewed in American Theatre Magazine around issues of Race and Theatre education. You can find out more at her website http://www.KajaDunn.com

Recent news: Seattle Times: How the intimacy choreographer played a key role in the production of ‘Choir Boy’

HowlRound: Defining Black Intimacy Practice A Conversation with Kaja DunnQC Nerve More than a passion projectThis UNCC Professor Has Made Racial Equity in Theater Education Her Life’s Work

KAJA DUNN RECEIVES KENNEDY CENTER MEDALLION

CRITICAL ACCLAIM

“Jackson and Dickinson strike sparks from the moment they come onstage.”

—THEATERMANIA

“Two River has unearthed a genuine and unappreciated gem.”

—THE STAR-LEDGER

“What director Brandon J. Dirden has done with Wine in the Wilderness is nothing short of transporting.”

—SCENE ON STAGE

“Vintage ‘Wine in the Wilderness’ at Two River Theater in Red Bank delivers a potent message.”

—NJ ARTS

“Intoxicating production.”

—OUT IN JERSEY

“The cast couldn’t be better.”

—BROADWAY WORLD

PHOTOS

NEWS & UPDATES

Before Play

HEALTH & SAFETY

Proof of vaccination is not required to attend a performance or event at Two River Theater. Currently, face masks are recommended, but no longer required, while inside the theater building.

READ FULL COVID-19 UPDATE

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Dates and tickets

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