Choir Boy | Bay Area Premiere

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2015

Publicity photos are available online: http://www.marintheatre.org/press/press-photos/press-photos-14-15/choir-boy.


MARIN THEATRE COMPANY PRODUCES THE
BAY AREA PREMIERE OF CHOIR BOY
BY TARELL ALVIN McCRANEY

FROM THE THEATER THAT BROUGHT THE BAY AREA
IN THE RED AND BROWN WATER
AND FROM THE MACARTHUR “GENIUS” PLAYWRIGHT OF
“THE BROTHER/SISTER PLAYS” TRILOGY
COMES A BEAUTIFUL COMING OF AGE STORY
FILLED WITH A CAPELLA GOSPEL MUSIC

Eight performances weekly from June 4 – 28, 2015
Opening Night: Tuesday, June 9

MILL VALLEY, CA—Marin Theatre Company closes out its 48th Season with the Bay Area premiere of Choir Boy by Tarell Alvin McCraney, the celebrated American playwright of the “The Brother/Sister Plays” trilogy and Head of Passes. Kent Gash, who previously directed the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award-winning production of August Wilson’s Seven Guitars at MTC, will direct this “exceptionally beautiful, heart-pummeling piece of theater” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) about two young black men competing over the lead spot in their elite prep school’s choir. Choir Boy features the return of Charles Shaw Robinson (Bill Cain’s Equivocation) and the MTC debuts of Rotimi Agbabiaka, Jelani Alladin, Ken Robinson, Forest Van Dyke, Dimitri Woods and Jaysen Wright. Alladin and Wright will reprise their roles from the “powerful” (The Washington Post) recent production at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., which also featured the same director (Gash), music director (Darius Smith) and set designer (Jason Sherwood). Choir Boy will run for 29 performances from June 4 through June 28. Opening night is Tuesday, June 9. Located in Mill Valley just minutes off the highway near great restaurants and free parking, Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s destination for new plays.

“I am delighted to be returning to the world of Tarell Alvin McCraney with our production of his beautiful play with music Choir Boy,” said MTC artistic director Jasson Minadakis. “We first brought Tarell’s work to the Bay Area in 2010 with ‘The Brother/Sister Plays’ trilogy and our production of In the Red and Brown Water. With Choir Boy, we are also reuniting Tarell with director Kent Gash, who has directed both the playwright’s Choir Boy and The Brothers Size. Kent’s work was last seen on our stage with August Wilson’s Seven Guitars. This Bay Area premiere is a perfect bookend to our season of exploring new African-American voices that began with Will Power’s Fetch Clay, Make Man and continued with Danai Gurira’s The Convert.”

Choir Boy is an intimate coming-of-age story threaded throughout with haunting a cappella gospel music. To celebrate 50 years of dedication to creating strong, ethical black men, the elite Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys is preparing for a very important anniversary gala fundraiser. The pressure is high for the school’s administration and teachers, and even higher for the institution’s legendary choir. When Pharus, a brash, young gay man on scholarship, and Bobby, a well-connected legacy student, compete for lead tenor, their afterschool battles lead to huge revelations about identity, history and friendship. This “vivid, magnetic and moving” (The New York Times) play “genuinely sizzles” (The Guardian) and “sings a stirring tune” (The Washington Post).

With Choir Boy, McCraney set out to ask audiences “to see that all of these young men are complex, are full human beings,” to value these young black characters. This is a generosity and objectivity that is rarely afforded young black men by the mainstream media landscape, as exhibited in recent coverage of events in Sanford, Ferguson, Staten Island, North Charleston, Baltimore and other cities nationwide. The successful expression of the playwright’s unique, empathetic vision has led critics to say that with “stimulating freshness, [McCraney] consistently provokes both characters and audience to examine their conditioned sensibilities more discerningly” (Hollywood Reporter), and “this daring play should be required theatergoing for anyone who believes in the transformative power of the stage” (DC Theatre Scene).

Commissioned by the Manhattan Theatre Club, Choir Boy premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London on September 2012 and received its first American productions in the summer and fall of 2013 through a coproduction between Manhattan Theatre Club and Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Subsequent productions followed at Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles (October 2014), Studio Theatre (January-March 2015) and GableStage near Miami (February 2015). The Alliance’s production was named best play of 2014 by Creative Loafing Atlanta and won the Suzi Gash Award for Best Play; the Geffen’s was named one of the best plays of 2014 by Los Angeles Times; and the Manhattan Theatre Club’s was nominated for a 2013-14 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play.

McCraney has quickly become one of the top living playwrights in both the US and UK. He was named a 2013 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow, was featured in Playwright: From Page to Stage on the PBS series Independent Lens in December 2013 and served as the Royal Shakespeare Company’s International Playwright in Residence from 2009 to 2011. He also received Yale University’s inaugural Windham Campbell Prize, the inaugural New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, the inaugural Paula Vogel Playwriting Award from Vineyard Theater in New York, as well as the prestigious Whiting and Steinberg Playwright Awards. MTC previously produced McCraney’s In the Red and Brown Water in 2010 as part of the West Coast premiere of his “The Brother/Sister Plays” trilogy that also included The Brothers Size at Magic Theatre and Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet at A.C.T. Robert Hurwitt of the San Francisco Chronicle declared the “unprecedented three-theater premiere” the high point of Bay Area theater in 2010, writing: “Taken individually, [the three productions] would top many a Top 10 list. Taken together, they blended into one of the most unforgettable events of the decade.” Berkeley Rep is currently staging McCraney’s new drama Head of Passes.


CALENDAR INFORMATION
Performing Arts | Theater

WHAT
Choir Boy | Bay Area Premiere

WHO
Marin Theatre Company
By Tarell Alvin McCraney (In the Red and Brown Water)
Directed by Kent Gash (Seven Guitars)

Featuring Rotimi Agbabiaka (MTC debut), Jelani Alladin (MTC debut), Charles Shaw Robinson (Equivocation), Ken Robinson (MTC debut), Forest Van Dyke (MTC debut), Dimitri Woods (MTC debut) and Jaysen Wright (MTC debut)

WHEN
June 4 - 28, 2015
Opening Night: Tuesday, June 9
Previews: Thursday, June 4 – Sunday, June 7

Performance Days
Tue, Thu, Fri & Sat 8:00 pm
Wed 7:30 pm
Sun 7:00 pm
Matinees: Every Sun 2:00 pm | Sat 6/13 & 6/27, 2:00 pm | Thu 6/18, 1:00 pm

WHERE
Marin Theatre Company | 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941

ABOUT
Pick your head up and sing.

From the writer of In the Red & Brown Water and Head of Passes comes an intimate coming-of-age story threaded throughout with stirring a cappella gospel music. Pharus is a brash, young gay man; Bobby, a well-connected legacy student. When these two compete to lead the legendary choir at their elite African-American prep school, their confrontations lead to huge revelations about identity, loyalty and friendship.

“An exceptionally beautiful, heart-pummeling piece of theater” - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Discover why Mill Valley has become the Bay Area’s destination for new plays. Marin Theatre Company is located just minutes from the highway near great local restaurants and has free parking. Share with your friends and family the experience of seeing exceptional award-winning live theater that spotlights powerful, relevant stories told by a diverse range of contemporary American voices.

Recommended for mature teens and up.

TICKETS
$20–$58, details below (discounts available for Seniors and those Under 30)

Ticket Prices:
NEW! All shows, a limited number of seats: $20 in advance or at the door
All Previews: $35
Opening Night (5/9): $53 side | $58 center
Tues, Wed, Thu Evenings: $37| $42
Fri: $45 | $50
Sat Evenings: $50 | $55
Sun Evenings & All Matinees: $42 | $47
All prices subject to change.

Discounts available:

Under 30: $20, all performances
Senior discounts: $4 off, all performances
Military personnel, their families & US veterans: $5 off, all performances, must show ID

MTC Loves Marin County Schools
Teen tickets: $10, must be purchased in person at the Box Office.
Marin Teacher tickets: $10, limit 2 per order; contact Education Department at 415.338.5200 x3310 to learn more.

For group sales, contact Margot Manburg, groupsales@marintheatre.org, (415) 388-5208.

ENGAGE
After Words – Join a member of MTC’s artistic staff (often with one or more members of the cast) for a Q&A talk back after every performance, except Saturday evenings and Opening and Closing Nights.

MTC Engaged Special Events

  • Window on the Work lecture: Mill Valley Public Library: Thu, May 21, 7:30pm; 375 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley
  • Perspectives pre-show topical lecture: Thu, 6/18, 12:00 p.m.

ACCESS
For visually impaired patrons, Large Print playbills are available with one week’s advance notice. To request a Large Print playbill, call MTC’s Box Office, (415) 388-5208, or use the California Telecommunications Relay Service by dialing “711.” For hearing impaired patrons, amplified sound Listening Devices are available.

CONTACT
marintheatre.org | (415) 388-5208 | boxoffice@marintheatre.org

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY
Tarell Alvin McCraney
(playwright) is best known for his acclaimed trilogy “The Brother/Sister Plays:” In the Red and Brown Water, which MTC previously staged in 2010, The Brothers Size and Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet. The trilogy has been performed at McCarter Theater in Princeton, the Public Theater in New York, Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, at a trio of theaters in the Bay Area that included A.C.T. and Magic Theatre (as well as MTC), the Young Vic in London (Olivier Award nomination) and other theaters around the world. McCraney’s other plays include The Breach (Southern Rep, Seattle Rep), Wig Out! (Sundance Theatre Institute, Royal Court, and Vineyard Theatre - GLAAD Award for Outstanding Play), American Trade (Royal Shakespeare Company/Hampstead Theatre) and Head of Passes (Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Berkeley Rep – commissioned by Steppenwolf). He was the Royal Shakespeare Company’s International Playwright in Residence in 2009-2011, where he co-edited and directed the Young People's Shakespeare production of Hamlet, which toured throughout the UK and was presented at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. He is the recipient of the prestigious Whiting Award and Steinberg Playwright Award, as well as London’s Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright, the inaugural New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, and the inaugural Paula Vogel Playwriting Award. McCraney is a graduate from the New World School of the Arts High School, the Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago and the Yale School of Drama. He is a resident playwright at New Dramatists, a member of Teo Castellanos/D-Projects in Miami and an ensemble member of Steppenwolf.

ABOUT MTC
Founded in 1966, Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s premier mid-sized theater and the leading professional theater in the North Bay. We produce a six-show season of provocative plays by passionate playwrights from the 20th century and today in our 231-seat main stage theater, as well as a five-show Theater Series for Young Audiences (in partnership with the Bay Area Children's Theatre) in our 99-seat studio theater. We are committed to the development and production of new plays by American playwrights, with a comprehensive New Play Program that includes productions of premieres, two nationally recognized annual playwriting awards, readings and workshops by the nation’s best emerging playwrights and membership in the National New Play Network. Our numerous education programs serve more than 8,500 students from over 50 Bay Area schools each year. MTC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

PRESS CONTACT
Sasha Hnatkovich, Communications Director
(415) 388-5200, ext. 3313 | commdir@marintheatre.org

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