Harlem, 1926. The city overflows with Jazz. Folks move with musicality, and speak rhythms, and in the heart of it all is Violet—a middle-aged woman set on revenge. Her husband’s affair with a beautiful young woman sets off a series of violent events and unforgivable acts. Adapted from Toni Morrison’s stunning novel and musically underscored by Bay-Area jazz musician Marcus Shelby—Jazz is a theatrical composition. Peeling back layered accounts and alternating perspectives expose ultimately sympathetic characters, who—like the growing New York neighborhood and the winding woods of their youth—reveal their own rhythms.

Run time is approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes with no intermission.

Generous support for Jazz provided by The Shubert Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation, the Dramatists Guild Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Special effects advisories TBD. MTC provides advisories for each production regarding special effects that may affect patron health and physical sensitivities. MTC does not provide advisories relating to content, because content sensitivities vary from patron to patron. If you have questions about content, please contact the box office prior to purchasing your tickets as we do not offer refunds to patrons who choose not to see a show based on subject matter. 

Performance Schedule

Press Opening Night 

Tuesday, April 30, 7:30pm.  
Opening nights are not available for sale online. Seating is extremely limited. 
 

Questions? Please contact the Box Office directly: 
(415) 388-5208 | boxoffice@marintheatre.org 

Evenings

Tue - Sat 7:30pm  
Sunday May 5, 7:30pm

Matinees 

Sunday (Preview) Apr 28, 4pm    
Thursday (Perspectives) May 9, 1pm    
Saturdays, Apr 27, May 4, 11 & 18, 2pm    
Sundays May 5, 12 & 19, 2pm 

Ticket Prices

Performance Center
seating
Side
seating
Previews (Apr 25 – 28) $39 $39
Sat Eve & Weekend Matinees $60 $55
Tue*, Wed, Thu, Fri & Sun Eve $52 $47
Perspectives Matinee $52 $47
Best Deal (see info below) $25 $25

Prices subject to change. 

Phone orders subject to a $10 per order fee; online orders subject to a $3 per order fee

Disabled seating is currently only available through the MTC Box Office (415.388.5208 or in person). We apologize for any inconvenience.

Discounts

  • BEST DEAL: $25 tickets in select seats available for all performances beginning one week before opening night. Available online. Questions? Call the box office at 415-388-5208
  • GROUPS: Bring eight or more people to receive a $7 discount on tickets. The group discount is automatically applied online. Questions? Call the box office at 415-388-5208.
  • SENIORS (65+): $4 off single tickets to all performances, available online.
  • UNDER 30: $25, all performances, available online.
  • TEENS: $10, all performances, available online.
  • MILITARY: $6 off all performances. Thank you for your service! Please call the box office to reserve at (415) 388-5208.
  • EDUCATOR: $12, all performances (limit 2). Must teach at a Marin County School. Call the box office to reserve at (415) 388-5208.

Promo Codes distributed for online redemption subject to availability.   
Only ONE (1) Promo Code will be valid per order.   
Promo Codes do not apply to Best Deal ($25) tickets.
Promo Codes do not apply to already discounted tickets (including Senior, Under 30, Teen, and Best Deal).

Select a Performance

To begin your ticket purchase, select a performance from the calendar below:

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MTC Engaged Special Events

WINDOW ON THE WORK

WINDOW ON THE WORK

Tues., April 16 | 7:00 PM

Window on the Works series focuses on our production; design, casting and rehearsal process. Mill Valley Public Library, 375 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley.

AFTER WORDS

AFTER WORDS

Post-Show

Post-show question and answer sessions, led by a member of our artistic staff, immediately following most performances (except on Opening and Closing Nights and Saturdays).

Wednesday Pre-Show Talk

Wednesday Pre-Show Talk

Every Wednesday | 7:10 PM

Join us in the theatre—with a beverage!—for a pre-show talk with a member of our artistic staff prior to every Wednesday evening performance.

Perspectives Matinee

Perspectives Matinee

Thurs., May 9 | 12:00 PM

Topical lecture one hour prior to the 1:00 PM open-captioned performance.

Cast

  • Margo Hall*

    Margo Hall*

    Alice Manfred/True Belle and Music Captain

    Margo Hall recently directed How I Learned What I Learned for MTC. She was lasts seen onstage here in Skeleton Crew. Other MTC credits include Gem of the Ocean, Fences, and Seven Guitars. She also directed and performed in Barbecue at San Francisco Playhouse. Other credits include black odyssey, Fences, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Raisin in the Sun, The Winter’s Tale, American Night: the Ballad of Juan Jose, and SPUNK (California Shakespeare Theater), Ah, Wilderness!, Once in a Lifetime, Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet, and A Streetcar Named Desire (American Conservatory Theater), Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress (Aurora Theatre Company), and A World in a Woman’s Hands (Shotgun Players). Margo is a founding member of Campo Santo, a multi-cultural theater group where she has directed, performed, and collaborated on several new plays with many amazing artists such as Naomi Iizuka, Jessica Hagedorn, Phillip Kan Gotanda, and Octavio Solis. Margo wrote Be Bop Baby, a Musical Memoir,composed by Marcus Shelby which featured Marcus Shelby’s fifteen-piece orchestra. She was a writer and part of the acting ensemble for The People’s Temple at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, which won the Glickman Award for best new play in the Bay Area for 2005. Film credits include Blindspotting with Daveed Diggs.

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  • Lisa Lacy*

    Lisa Lacy*

    Malvonne/Country Gossip

    Lisa Lacy is a native of Chicago and a professional, award winning actress, playwright and director. This is Lisa’s debut performance with Marin Theatre Company. She is the proud Founder and Executive Director of Images Theatre Company in Sacramento, CA and a Teaching Artist for the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, “Any Given Child,” Kennedy Center pilot program. Her theatrical credits include performances with the Negro Ensemble Company, New York City/Signature Theatre, PlayGround at Berkeley Rep, African-American Shakespeare Company at Brava Theatre, San Francisco, Images Theatre Company at Barnsdall Theatre/Hollywood, Capital Stage in Sacramento and many others. Her favorite regional roles are “Aunt Ester” in August Wilson’s, GEM of the OCEAN at the Sacramento Theatre Company and “Mama Nadi” in Lynn Nottage’s, RUINED at the Guild Theater. Lisa currently resides bi-coastally in CA and New York City. She is honored to be a cast member in Nambi E. Kelley’s, JAZZ.

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  • Paige Mayes

    Paige Mayes

    Parrot/Golden Gray and Dance Captain

    Paige Mayes is a actor/dancer/vocalist/entrepreneur. Whom is beyond grateful to make her Marin Theater Company debut along side a superb cast. Ms. Paige is a proud Aurora, Colorado native. She holds a BFA in Dance Performing Arts from Arizona State University. She was last seen in The Tenderloin Tour (Cutting Ball Theater), and The Broadway World Regional Award-Winning Production of For Colored Girls.... (African American Shakespeare Company). She sends much thanks to Nambi E. Kelly and Awoye Timpo. For allowing her this opportunity, along side a fiercely talented cast! 

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  • Dezi Solèy

    Dezi Solèy

    Dorcas/Wild

    Dezi Solèy is a prizmatic artist & entrepreneur dedicated to co-creating & making space for embodiments of the Divine through explorations in theater, film & performance art. Solèy's most recent theater credits include starring in Star Finch's Bondage with Alter Theater; Campo Santo's Ethos de Masquerade; TheatreFirst’s  productions of The Farm, Participants, Between Us & Cleavon Smith's The Last Sermon of Sister Imani; and Crowded Fire Theater's collaborative production Death Becomes Life: Banish Darkness. She is blessed to be among such an amazing creative team in Nambi Kelley's Jazzwww.dezisoley.com

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  • Michael Gene Sullivan*

    Michael Gene Sullivan*

    Joe Trace/Country Joe

    Michael Gene Sullivan is an award-winning actor, director, and playwright who was last seen at Marin Theatre Company as Potter (and several others) in “It’s A Wonderful life.” Other theaters Michael has performed at include American Conservatory Theatre, TheatreWorks, California Shakespeare Theatre, Denver Center Theatre Company San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, The Aurora Theatre, and San Francisco Playhouse. As a director Michael has worked with Theatre First, African American Shakespeare, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival among others. As a playwright Michael was a 2017 Djerassi Arts Fellow, and is Resident Playwright with the Playwrights Foundation. Among Michael’s many scripts is his critically-acclaimed stage adaptation of George Orwell’s “1984,” which opened under the direction of Tim Robbins at the Actors Gang, and has since been performed across the United States, around the world, is available in six languages, and next season  has productions at Houston’s Alley Theatre, at Ukraine’s national theater in Kiev, and will be toured nationally with New York’s Aquila Theatre. Michael is Resident Playwright, actor, and director with the Tony award-winning, and despite-its-name-never-silent San Francisco Mime Troupe, where he has acted in, written, and/or directed over 30 shows.

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  • Tiffany Tenille

    Tiffany Tenille

    Felice/Cigarette Girl/Wild's Shadow

    Tiffany Tenille is honored to make her Marin Theatre Company debut alongside such passionate and talented artists.  Ms. Tenille is a proud Chicago native, where she holds her BFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University. She was last seen in the onstage runs, Between Riverside and Crazy (San Jose Stage Company), and the BroadwayWorld regional Award-Winning production of For Colored Girls... (African-American Shakespeare Company). On screen you can catch her on HBO in the short film Suitable, and in her feature film debut Jezebel as the title role which recently World Premiered with acclaimed reviews at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival. Ms. Tenille finds liberation through honest and radical storytelling such as the compelling tale of Jazz. She sends her love and immense gratitude to Nambi E. Kelley and Awoye Timpo for the opportunity to take part in such a creatively fulfilling story!  www.tiffanytenille.com

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  • Dane Troy*

    Dane Troy*

    Henry Lestroy/Acton/Country Drunk/Numbers Runner

    Dane Troy is a performance artist from the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. He is thankful to be back at MTC. Dane is elated and honored to contribute to this captivatingly impactful play. Much love to this cast and his family. Contact him at dane.alej@gmail.com. Go Braves.

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  • C. Kelly Wright*

    C. Kelly Wright*

    Violet/Country Violet

    C. Kelly Wright (Violet/Country Violet)  is honored to return to MTC where she first appeared in the award-winning As Thousands Cheer (2000) and most recently the West Coast Premiere of Nambi E. Kelley’s, Native Son (2017). Actress/singer/dancer, Wright’s work on Off-Broadway and theatrical stages across the country have garnered her much acclaim, including: Langston in Harlem (Urban Stages, NYC), The Scottsboro Boys (West Coast Tour), Black Pearl Sings! (Interact, Philadelphia) and Caroline, Or Change & Radio Golf (TheatreWorks, CA). Wright’s greatest love might be found developing new works. Wright has given voice to development of Broadway shows from Memphis to Mountaintop. Wright has worked for playwrights Aurin Squirer, Calvin A. Ramsey, David Lee Colston, Douglas Lyons, Larry Powell, Marcus Gardley, Nilan Johnson, Nina Mercer, Philana Omorotionmwan, and many more. Musically, Wright has developed with multiple award-winning writing teams. Violet/Country Violet is the blessed realization of the wildest of dreams coming true.

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Creative Team

  • ​Nambi E. Kelley

    ​Nambi E. Kelley

    Playwright

    Nambi E. Kelley has performed on regional stages across the country, internationally, including many shows at The Goodman TheatreSteppenwolf Theatre, and has been seen on several television shows, including Elementary, Person of Interest, Madam Secretary, Chicago PD, and guest starred on NBC's Chicago Justice. Most recently, she appeared in MacArthur Genius Award recipient Dominique Morisseau's Pipeline (City Theatre), Jeff Sweet's critically acclaimed Off Broadway two-hander Kunstler (59 E. 59), and Two Trains Running (Goodman Theatre). Nambi recently made her professional directorial debut at TheatreWorks Colorado Springs, the first African-American female to helm a production in their over 40-year history. An accomplished playwright, Nambi is currently serving in residence at New Victory Theatre and The Dramatists GuildFoundation in New York City. She has penned plays for Steppenwolf and Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Lincoln Center (Director's Fest) in New York, and internationally. Kelley recently served as playwright in residence at the National Black Theatre in New York. Awards include: The Prince Prize, Writers Alliance Grant (Dramatists GuildFoundation) Stage Raw Los Angeles Best Adaptation for Native Son, the Francesca Primus Award (finalist), and The Kevin Spacey Foundation Award (finalist). Nambi is currently working on an adaptation of Toni Morrison's Jazz (Dramatic Publishing, tba) which is slated for several regional productions in coming seasons. Her adaptation of Native Son (Samuel French) has enjoyed productions across the country, most notably, productions at Yale Repertory Theatre, Court Theatre/American Blues, CTG Block Party 2019, and will premiere in New York City at The Duke produced by The Acting Companyin summer 2019. Nambi has also penned plays LATT Children's Theatre/Unibooks Publishing Company (South Korea) Teatri Sbagliati (Italy), and The Finger Players (Singapore), where she also performed in the co-adapted production in Singapore of The Book of Living and Dying. Nambi is working on several commissions, including from Marin Theatre Company, Court Theatre, North Carolina Black Rep, American Blues Theater, Syracuse Stage, and is also in development with several television and film projects, including a film commissioned by Oscar Award-winning executive producers The Lagralane Group, tba. Her adaptation of Native Son was one of the highest grossing productions in Court Theatre's history. Native Son is also on the Kilroy's List 2015, in the top 7% of new plays by female and trans* authors nominated by literary managers, directors, and other artists polled across the country. Kelley's Xtigone celebrated production in Chicago (Chicago Danz Theatre Ensemble) and San Francisco (African American Shakespeare Company directed by Rhodessa Jones) with several high school and college productions across the country and is published by YouthPlays Publishing. Other writing credits include: Shortlisted professional writing affiliations include: Space on Ryder Farm, National Black Theatre, Goodman Theatre Playwrights UnitSteppenwolf Theatre Company New Plays Lab Playwright-In-Residence, Goodman Theatre/Ellen Stone Belic Institute/ Fellowship Recipient, Goodman Theatre Lila Wallace Fellowship, American Blues Theater (ensemble member), La MaMa Playwrights Symposium Playwright-In-Residence, Spoleto, Italy under the tutelage of Pulitzer prize-winner Lynn Nottage, Ragdale Foundation Artist in Residence, HealthWorks Theatre Colonel Stanley McNeil Playwright-In-Residence, Chicago Dramatists Playwright Emeritus, Danny Glover's Robey Theatre Co. Playwriting Lab (Formerly The Blacksmyths at The Mark Taper Forum), and MPAACT Playwright Emeritus, Chicago. For more, visit www.nambikelley.com.

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  • ​Awoye Timpo^

    ​Awoye Timpo^

    Director

    Awoye Timpo Off-Broadway: Good Grief (Vineyard Theatre), The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll’d (Playwrights Realm), The Homecoming Queen (Atlantic Theater). Regional: Everybody Black (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Paradise Blue at the Long Wharf Theatre. Other: Carnaval (National Black Theater); Sister Son/ji (Billie Holiday Theatre); The Vanished (Site-Specific); Skeleton Crew (Chester Theater Company), Ndebele Funeral (59E59, Edinburgh Festival/Summerhall, South African tour). Producer: CLASSIX, a series exploring classic plays by Black playwrights.

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  • Marcus Shelby

    Marcus Shelby

    Composer

    Marcus Anthony Shelby is a composer, bassist, and educator who currently lives in San Francisco, California. His work focuses on the history, present, and future of African American lives, social movements, and music education. In 1990, Marcus Shelby received the Charles Mingus Scholarship to attend Cal Arts and study composition with James Newton and bass with Charlie Haden. Currently, Shelby is an artist in residence with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and will be a new resident artist director for the San Francisco Jazz Festival 2019-2020. Shelby has composed several oratorios and suites including “Harriet Tubman”, “Beyond the Blues: A Prison Oratorio”, “Soul of the Movement: Meditations on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”, “Black Ball: The Negro Leagues and the Blues”, “Green and Blues”, and a children’s opera “Harriet’s Spirit” produced by Opera Parallel 2018. Shelby also composed the score and performed in Anna Deveare’s off Broadway Play and HBO feature film “Notes from the Field” and has also worked on a range of productions, such as Joanna Haigood’s “Dying While Black and Brown” (2014), Margo Hall’s “Bebop Baby” (2013) and “Sonny’s Blues” (2008), the Oakland Ballet’s “Ella” The SF Girls Choir (2013), The Oakland Youth Chorus (2014), and many other productions over the past 21 years. Shelby has served on the San Francisco Arts Commission since 2013. 

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  • Kimie Nishikawa+

    Kimie Nishikawa+

    Scenic Designer

    Kimie Nishikawa is a Japanese scenic designer based in NYC. NYC Off-Broadway; The Light (MCC)  Ain't No Mo' (The Public Theater) Mobile Unit: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Public Theater) The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll’d and Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth  (The Playwrights Realm) NYC Other; Tin Cat Shoes (Clubbed Thumb Summer Works) Henry VI Parts 1-3 and Sagittarius Ponderosa (NAATCO) Regional; Marjorie Prime , Jazz (Marin Theatre Company)  Tiny Beautiful Things (Long Wharf Theatre) The Corpse Washer , How To Defend Yourself , We’ve Come to Believe (Actors Theatre of Louisville) Pride and Prejudice (Kansas City Rep) MFA:NYU Tisch kimienishikawa-design.com/

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  • Karen Perry+

    Karen Perry+

    Costume Designer

    Karen Perry is a native third generation New Yorker who has been living in Santa Monica since 1999. After Good Grief (Kirk Douglas Theatre) and Joe Turner’s Come & Gone (Mark Taper Forum), she is returning to Center Theatre Group with her 12TH collaboration in costume design with director Ruben Santiago-Hudson and music composer Dr. Bill Sims, Jr. Karen's recent and upcoming costume design projects include Jazz (Marin Theatre Company), Black Super Hero Magic Mama (Geffen Playhouse), Fun Home (Baltimore Center Stage), August Wilson’s King Hedley II (Two River Theatre), Oklahoma! (TUTS), Cinderella (Eglevsky Ballet Company, NY), Familar (Woolly Mammoth, Guthrie Theater, and Seattle Rep), Citizens Market (City Theatre Company), Skeleton Crew (Baltimore Center Stage), and Hair, Steel Magnolias, Miller, Mississippi (Dallas Theater Center). Awards, accolades, and nominations include CableACE TV Award, Emmy nomination, Costume Designers Guild Award, nine AUDELCO Awards, two NAACP Awards, Lucille Lortel Award nomination, Henry Hewes Design Theatre Award, two BTAA Costume Design Awards, Dallas Costume Designer of the Year Award 2017, and the 2005 National Black Theatre Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award for Costume Design Excellence in American and Black Stage, Film, and Television.

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  • Jeff Rowlings+

    Jeff Rowlings+

    Lighting Designer

    Jeff Rowlings is happy to be back at MTC. Jeff’s designs here include lights for The Oldest Boy and sets & lights for Magic Forest Farm.  He was Production Manager at American Conservatory Theater; Production Manager/Resident Designer at San Diego Rep; and Production Manager/Resident Designer at the Magic Theatre.  Jeff co-founded Foghouse Productions which produced R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe in San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle. Recent designs include set & lights for Viola Davis’ west coast premiere of Paradise, currently running in LA; lights for Aurora Theatre’s Detroit ’67 and Eureka Day; set & lights for Fogg Theatre’s The Cable Car Nymphomaniac; and lights for Magic Theatre’s Sister Play and Arlington.  Next up… Ideation at Mendocino Theatre Company.

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  • Gregory Robinson+

    Gregory Robinson+

    Sound Designer

    Gregory Robinson is a ‘United Scenic Artists Local USA 829, IATSE Member’, is ‘An Artist That Paints With Sound’. His sound effects, sound design, music, production sound, post production mixing, and recordings have been featured in local, regional, and national radio and television advertising; short films; documentaries; corporate video; and theatre. His work has been featured in an Emmy award winning documentary, and he has been recognized by the San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle, with a Sound Design ‘Excellence in Theatre Award’ for “Water By The Spoonful”, and a nomination for “Proof”. Gregory also holds positions as a ‘Motion Picture Post Production Sound Editor/Designer’, and a ‘Production Sound Recording Instructor’ at the ‘Academy of Art University, San Francisco’. Theatre Sound Design Productions Include: “Calligraphy”, “Proof”, “Water By The Spoonful”,“The Mountaintop”, “The Pitmen Painters”,“Snow Falling On Cedars”, “Living Out”, “You Can’t Take It With You”, “An American Daughter”, “Be Aggressive”, “Present Laughter”

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  • Joanna Haigood

    Joanna Haigood

    Choreographer

    Joanna Haigood is Artistic Director of Zaccho Dance Theatre based in Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco.  Since 1980, she has been creating work that uses natural, architectural and cultural environments as points of departure for movement exploration and narrative. Her stages have included grain terminals, a clock tower, the pope’s palace, military forts, and a mile of urban neighborhood streets in the South Bronx. Her work has been commissioned by many arts institutions, including Dancing in the Streets, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Walker Arts Center, the Exploratorium Museum, the National Black Arts Festival, and Festival d’Avignon. She has also been honored with theGuggenheim Fellowship, the Cal/Alpert Award in Dance, the US Artist Fellowship, four Isadora Duncan Awards and a New York Bessie Award and the Doris Duke Artist Award.  Joanna has had the privilege to mentor many extraordinary young artists internationally at the National École des Arts du Cirque in France, the Trinity Laban Con- servatoire of Music and Dance in England, Spelman College, the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University, the San Francisco Circus Center and at Zaccho Studio.

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  • ​Arminda Thomas

    ​Arminda Thomas

    Co-Dramaturg

    Arminda Thomas is associate artistic director and resident dramaturg for the Going to the River Festival and Writer’s Unit. Recent dramaturgy credits include Jazz(Baltimore Center Stage); Wine in the Wilderness (New Perspectives); Baton (Premiere Stage); Zora Neale Hurston (New Federal Theatre); The First Noel (Classical Theatre of Harlem); and Soul Struggle: The Works of Georgia Douglas Johnson (New Perspectives). Writing/adaptation credits include Shakespeare’s Women (Hattiloo Theatre, Memphis). She holds an MFA in dramaturgy and script development from Columbia University. 


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  • Laura Brueckner

    Laura Brueckner

    Co-Dramaturg

    Laura Brueckner has been supporting productions and playwrights with her dramaturgical work for over 20 years, with an emphasis on digital dramaturgy, world premieres, and commissions. During this time, she has been proud to count among her collaborators stellar artists such as MTC Playwright in Residence Lauren Gunderson, Christopher Chen, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Mina Morita, Marissa Wolf, Idris Goodwin, Lachlan Philpott, and Dominique Serrand, as well as groundbreaking companies Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Crowded Fire Theater, The New Harmony Project, Playwrights Foundation, and, now, Marin Theatre Company. As an artist, she is committed to theatre as a path of social action, critical inquiry, discovery, and delight. Her journalistic writing on artistic process and audience engagement has been published by HowlRound and Theatre Bay Area; her dramaturgical writing has been published by Berkeley Rep, California Shakespeare Theater, and Crowded Fire. A current member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, she holds a B.A. in English dramatic literature (magna cum laude) from U.C. Berkeley and a Ph.D. in dramaturgy from U.C. San Diego.

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  • Jerome Butler

    Jerome Butler

    Dialect Coach

    JEROME BUTLER has been a dialect and accent reduction coach for 20 years. Theatre: Paradise Blue (Long Wharf Theatre) Detroit ’67, Queens  (Juilliard) and Darker Face of the Earth (Guthrie Theater). Selected TV/Film: "This is Us," "The Haunting of Hill House," "Vox Lux," "Luke Cage," "Jessica Jones," "Central Park 5," "Elementary," "The Deuce," "Gypsy," "The Get Down", “Succession", "Power," "The Wolf Hour", “Luce", “Ronald", "Come Sunday", "Blade Runner 2049", “Geostorm", "The Glass Castle", "Money Monster", “LBJ", "The Martian", “Noah", "Zero Dark Thirty", “Salt", "Life on Mars", and "HowStella Got Her Groove Back". Mr. Butler works on the faculty of the Juilliard School Drama Division.  He is a graduate of the Juilliard School and a member of SAG-AFTRA.  www.jeromebutler.com 

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  • Jessica R. Aguilar*

    Jessica R. Aguilar*

    Production Stage Manager

    Jessica is delighted to return to Marin Theatre Company on this stunning production. She formerly worked on Straight White Men, Fences, and In the Red and Brown Water. Select works include: Off-Broadway: God Said This (Primary Stages); National Tour: A Night with Janis Joplin; Regional: Miracle on 34th Street, Our Town, Shout Sister Shout!, The Originalist, Fly, 12 Angry Men (Pasadena Playhouse); Significant Other, reasons to be pretty, Death of the Author (Geffen Playhouse); Dementia (LATC); Evita, Children of Eden (Cabrillo Music Theatre); Man of La Mancha, Hedwig & the Angry Inch (Cygnet Theatre). She is a proud member of AEA and an avid SF Giants fan. Many thanks to SA2HW-PA-HV-QH-ML-MA-JK2-F&F y mi corazón a Chris.

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  • Trevor Scott Floyd

    Trevor Scott Floyd

    Artistic Producer

    Trevor (he/him/his) started as an Artistic Direction intern with MTC in 2015 and, prior to his current role as Artistic Producer, spent two seasons as Director of Ticketing, Artistic Associate, and Company Manager. As Artistic Producer, Trevor serves as MTC's local Casting Director. Originally from the beaches of South Carolina, he graduated with a dual major in Theatre and Political Science from Clemson University before trading in the Palmetto trees for the Redwoods. In addition to his role at MTC he is a freelance director and writer. You can read his latest work on the New Play Exchange.

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  • Dori Jacob

    Dori Jacob

    Casting Director

    Dori Jacob joined Marin Theatre Company as the casting director in May 2015. For the previous four seasons, she served as the director of new play development for Magic Theatre in San Francisco, and dramaturged its world premieres of Octavio Solis’ Se Llama Cristina, Linda McLean’s Every Five Minutes, Christina Anderson’s PEN/MAN/SHIP, and John Kolvenbach’s Sister Play. As resident producer for Magic Theatre’s developmental programming, Ms. Jacob’s credits include 2011-2015 Virgin Play Series, the 2012 Asian Explosion Reading Series, and the 2013 Costume Shop Festival. Further Bay Area dramaturgy/producing/casting credits include: Assassins at Shotgun Players, Marilee Talkington’s The Creative Process at SOMArts, Laura Schellhardt’s The Comparables, and Elizabeth Hersh’s Shelter in Place at Playwrights Foundation. Ms. Jacob previously served on the executive board and literary committee for the National New Play Network, is a current member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and is a graduate of U.C. Santa Cruz and N.Y.U.’s Tisch School of the Arts.

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  • Julia Formanek

    Julia Formanek

    Production Assistant/Assistant Stage Manager

    Julia is excited to return to Marin Theatre Company where her previous productions include The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley, Oslo, Marjorie Prime, and Shakespeare in Love. Other regional credits include: EverbodyAs You Like it (California Shakespeare Theater), Widower’s Houses (Aurora), The Obligation (Potrero Stage), and Measure for Measure (Santa Cruz Shakespeare.) She is a graduate of Beloit College.

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  • Olivia Dillon

    Olivia Dillon

    Assistant Director

    Olivia Dillon (she/her/hers) is delighted to join MTC as an Artistic Direction Intern. She graduated from Ithaca College with a BA in Theatre Studies and a minor in Writing in 2017. She has dreamed of working in the Bay Area since her sophomore year, after writing a research paper on its theater scene. One of the selected students assigned a senior thesis show, she directed Paula Vogel’s The Baltimore Waltz. She has also written, directed, and acted in numerous one-act plays for Ithaca College’s biannual Playfest. Her passion for directing is driven by the desire to involved in all the aspects of creating a production. She is so happy to be working and learning at MTC at time when the power of theatre and storytelling is more valuable than ever.

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  • Whitney Stone

    Whitney Stone

    Assistant to the Choreographer

    Whitney Stone is a stage director and choreographer recently relocated from New York City. She is thoroughly enjoying her time as an Artistic Direction Intern with MTC, and she is ecstatic to be flexing her choreography muscles on Jazz. Whitney holds a BFA in Theatre Arts Performance and a Dance minor from Hofstra University. Her recent directing credits include The Lion...The Wardrobe (Nueva School for the Arts), Something’s Afoot (Maggie’s Little Theater), and the Off-Broadway premiere of Francine Pellegrino’s Molasses in January. She has directed and choreographed for numerous university programs, summer stock houses, and new and short play festivals in NYC. She is a proud alumna of Director’s Lab West, and an associate member of SDC.

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  • “JAZZ” Score Musicians

    “JAZZ” Score Musicians

    Composed and orchestrated by Marcus Shelby 

    Produced by Eric Moffat 

    Trumpet: Bill Ortiz

    Trombone: Scott Larson

    Alto Sax: Hermann Lara

    Tenor/Clarinet: Danny Brown

    Piano: Gaea Schell

    Piano: Matt Clark

    Guitar: Vic Wong

    Slide Guitar: Jon Lawton 

    Harmonica: Jamin Barton 

    Drums: Genius Wesley 

    Vocals: Jamie Zimmer 

    Acoustic Bass/Piano: Marcus Shelby 

    + Show more


* Denotes member of Actors Equity Association
+ Member, United Scenic Artists
^ Member, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers

Reviews

  • Toni Morrison novel hits the stage in MTC’s ‘Jazz’

    Like the Toni Morrison novel on which it’s based, Nambi E. Kelley’s new play “Jazz” at Marin Theatre Company is well named. It’s lyrical and nonlinear, sometimes seemingly free-form and full of repeated riffs. It also has a compellingly jazzy score composed by Marcus Shelby, resident artistic director of SFJAZZ.

    It’s a welcome return to MTC for playwright Kelley, whose adaption of Richard Wright’s “Native Son” played there in 2017, and whose Greek tragedy remix “Xtigone” premiered at San Francisco’s African-American Shakespeare Company in 2015.

    Kimie Nishikawa’s fascinating set is dominated by a huge skylight perched at an angle, suggesting the raised lid of a coffin, with a small plot of flowers below. And indeed, the play starts with a funeral and moves backward and forward from there.

    Set in Harlem in the 1920s, “Jazz” is the story of Violet (C. Kelly Wright, compellingly twitchy and haunted), who was so incensed when her husband killed his young lover that she attacked the corpse at her funeral. She becomes so obsessed with this dead teenage girl that she hangs her photo up in their house and keeps going around to visit the girl’s aunt (Margo Hall, prim and no-nonsense) to ask questions about her, resenting her all the while.

    And indeed, the deceased Dorcas does gradually become more real in Dezi Solèy’s rivetingly engaged and alive portrayal, evolving from an impassive presence sitting behind a screen in the pose of her portrait to slyly confident temptress to simply a very, very young woman with a too-long-thwarted thirst to taste life.

    Michael Gene Sullivan is a lost and broken man as Violet’s husband, Joe, almost sleepwalking through his days, and it’s striking to see how transformed the young  charismatic and sliver-tongued Joe is in flashback scenes.

    The narrative is densely poetic and free-flowing, frequently shifting perspectives and moving back and forth in time. Increasingly it keeps revisiting some of the same scenes from different people’s perspectives.

    At first those perspective shifts are disorienting and it takes a while to register that that is what’s happening, because the play as a whole is so rooted in Violet’s desperate attempts to grapple with and process what happened, and we never get as much inside anyone else’s head as we do in hers. We simply see scenes replayed as other people might have perceived them, framed by other scenes with that character to put them in context.

    Some shifts work better than others. Bits of Violet’s and Joe’s youth before they met are so fragmentary and confusing that they seem hardly worth including.

    Having a parrot as a sometime narrator and constant observer is an interesting idea, and Paige Mayes brings a lot of presence to the role in a metallically shiny particolored suit (snazzy costumes by Karen Perry), but ultimately she isn’t given much to do.

    Director Awoye Timpo handles the narrative’s fluidity gracefully and with lovely theatricality in MTC’s West Coast premiere, as if the play is a sort of dance. (And there is some wonderfully lively dancing in the play, choreographed by Joanna Haigood.)

    The ensemble shifts deftly between a number of roles, even if a lot of those characters are so hastily and roughly sketched in the play that we don’t get much of a chance to figure out who they are. Dane Troy is particularly amusing as a vain and controlling dancer. Tiffany Tenille gives Dorcas a handy sounding board as best pal Felice, and Lisa Lacy is full of knowing disapproval as a neighbor.

    Certainly some clarity is lost in translation from page to stage, and there are occasional slow patches in the show’s 100 minutes without intermission, often corresponding to how far back the flashbacks go. As dramatic as Violet’s obsession is, it takes a while for the audience’s desire to unearth what happened to come anywhere near to matching her own.

    As the picture becomes clearer, however, it also becomes more gripping, and the show’s conclusion is as rewarding as it is refreshing. Even if not everything quite seems to fit in the composition, this “Jazz” comes together into a sweet song before it’s done.


    — Sam Hurwitt, Marin IJ Read full review
  • Jazz

    As mourners audibly sob and somewhere a choir sings the gospel hymn “Steal Away,” a stunned-looking, steely-eyed woman approaches the rectangle of flowers guarding the unseen corpse of the young girl whose portrait we see near-by.  With increasing snarl, she hisses, “Look at that face ... Cream at the top of milk-pail face ... That sneaky face.”  And with that, she draws a knife and slashes downward to the horrored gasps of those gathered to mourn, slashing the dead girl’s serenity.

    From that desperate plunge of the blade in the spring of 1926 in New York’s Harlem comes pouring waves of memories that call and answer to each other like the instruments playing the background, bluesy jazz music that underscores their appearances before us.  The revengeful act of this woman, Violet, is targeted at the young lover, Dorcas, of Violet’s unfaithful husband, Joe, after he shot the girl in his own act of crazed jealousy.  We soon learn that these acts of violence have many, complicated, often-sad, intertwining events and causes behind them – some going back many years prior.  

    In Marin Theatre Company’s achingly stunning, grippingly engaging West Coast premiere of Nambi E. Kelley’s Jazz – a 2017 adaptation of Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning Toni Morrison’s 1992 historical novel by the same name – the memories and the subsequent events of Violet’s rashness proceed in a style much like that of the play’s and book’s title, Jazz.  With each  encounter of the story taking on an air of improvisation; with parallel scenes that both blend and clash in duet, and with words that musically flow alternatively in harsh staccato and in long, hypnotic extensions, Awoye Timpo directs Jazz to a beat that mirrors the new music form that was sweeping through the streets of the 1920’s Harlem that Nambi E. Kelley’s play visits. 

    C. Kelly Wright heads an all-star cast as the emotionally erratic but determinedly focused Violet who is in search for answers as to who was this girl that her husband loved and led him on a life-erupting, wanderlust venture.  Her Violet recalls the memories of her earlier times in Vesper County, Virginia where life was particularly hard for all African Americans as whites were seeking their revenge and their sickening paybacks for their losses of the Civil War and their free-labor slaves.  It was there as a girl-turning-woman she flat-out resolves to her grandmother, True Belle, (Margo Hall) to have “no babies” and to “find me a job, a man, and forget watching mama in that well” – the last a memory Violet fights to escape of her mother’s tragic death.  C. Kelly Wright commands the part of Violet with such incredible finesse and interpretation that every snippet of a Virginia memory or of a current, Harlem moment is gigantic in its powerful, oft-arresting effect.  

    Her Violet plays out more than once in a stage memory the first time she met Joe Trace – an introduction after he either fell-out or purposefully jumped out (according to whose version we believe) of a tree almost to crush his target – the beautiful, young Violet.  Joe was perched there trying to catch a glimpse of his mind-deranged mother, Wild, who had abandoned him and who now roamed like an animal the Virginia countryside.  The memories of that first encounter and the night that follows erotically come to life in a blues-filled, body-pumping dance that leaves no doubt of the love Violet and Joe once had.  

    Michael Gene Sullivan continues his Bay Area reputation for award-winning performances as he captures the rough and raw essence of his Joe Trace.  We are initially and magnetically drawn to Joe for his life-loving zeal and passion for his young wife as she recalls their hard-life but happy-together days in Virginia and their move to a heaven-sounding Harlem where he has told her there are “whole streets where Negroes own their own houses.”  But his Joe is also a man for whom we come to have strong aversion as he begins to fawn over and then paw with roaming hands the naively willing and encouraging Dorcas (Dezi Solèy) – a teen who is too caught up in Harlem’s rich and lusty music as she acquiesces too easily to a man more than twice her age.  

    Ms. Solèy’s own performance is both mesmerizing and maddening to watch as we see the young Dorcas play so sweetly and literally into the roaming hands of the near-drooling Joe.  (In a stroke of casting genius, Dezi Solèy also plays the mother, Wild, that Joe earlier has manically sought.)  Once deceased, her Dorcas becomes a living, forward-staring portrait to whom Violet continually rants and raves but from whom Violet so wants answers and understanding. 

    Besides True Belle, Margo Hall is distinctively strong-jawed and open-hearted as the aunt named Alice who raised Dorcas.  After Dorcas’s demise, Alice frequently finds herself both answering the door and the trying to escape the pounding of questions as Violet repeatedly arrives seeking answers about her victim.  But in a dose of solace and friendship that clearly surprises even her, Dorcas’ blunt, strong-willed Aunt begins to take an increasingly sympathetic turn.  Brava to Margo Hall for a superbly fine performance.

    Like a jazz number that jumps suddenly in tempo, lead instrument, and musical perspective, so does Nambi E. Kelley’s Jazz.  We hear accounted viewpoints through the titillating gossip and confidently held opinions of Malvonne, played with hands firmly on hips and eyes seeing all by Lisa Lacy.  Tiffany Tenille is Dorcas’s young friend Felice (among other roles), who – when finding time to chatter with Dorcas – adds a faster beat and snappy steps to the tale’s music-like telling.  Dane Troy steps into a variety of roles both in Virginia and in Harlem, most notably as the fast-dancing, totally jazz-jiving Acton, a teenage boy who awakens Dorcas out of her Joe-induced slumber some might call a nightmare.

    Accompanying and often comforting Violet throughout her memory search for answers of her manic questions of who, what, and why is Parrot – a once-gift from Joe who has an omnipresence in both her knowing looks and her songs of understanding as she sits perched to the side onstage.  Paige Mayes projects uncanny, birdlike ability with her slight head cocks, her bill-shaped pursing of lips, and her piercing but humor-filled eyes that see what the humans around her are mostly missing.  Her lyrical voice sings in a variety of period styles with snippets of songs that give telltale signs of her avian intuition of seeing the truth behind the love and the lust as well as the tears and the torments occurring around her.

    Director Awoye Timpo allows the dreams and realities to mix and blur on a mostly blank, raised stage designed by Kimie Nishikawa.  The wooden stage’s surrounding steps become resting spots for cast members as they pause in their parts of the story-telling to watch the scripted solos or duets occurring around them – much like players in a jazz band watch as a drummer or sax player takes off on a musical journey while the others just take it in.  Lighting by Jeff Rowlings adds its dreamy effects against a scrim-curtained backdrop and its own flairs of colorful embellishments in swirling, feathery twirls in the above, recessed ceiling.  Gregory Robinson’s sound design chimes in for effects both here-and-now and ethereal.  Joanna Haigood’s choreography brings the joy of a broom-jumping wedding in Virginia and the sexy and wild innovations of Harlem’s 1920s.  And the ongoing fusion of times, places, moods, and memories receives a pallet of clarity through the wide range of costumes deliciously designed by Karen Perry that range from the night-club wild to the Sunday, go-to-church proper.

    Underlying the play is a score composed and orchestrated by San Francisco’s jazz artist extraordinaire, Marcus Shelby.  He leads no less than twelve talented musicians (including one vocalist, Jamie Zimmer) in jazz and blues enriched background music, produced as a recording by Eric Moffat.

    Besides the fascinating, haunting storyline of Nambi E. Kelley’s adapted Jazz, there is a parallel telling of important history of both the post-war South of the early twentieth century and of the early days of African Americans changing the course of musical and American history in the 1920’s Harlem.  There is also a strong theme of the resilience, strength, trials, and triumphs (even if small and temporary) of the African American women of the period.  Each of the women portrayed on the Marin stage is a particular portrait of a girl or woman who is figuring out or has long-ago figured out how to survive, stay actively alive (even as a ghost), and in her own way thrive in the oft-messed-up (by men) world around her.  For me, those portrayals are the real beauty and will likely be my lasting memory of this must-see production of Jazz.

    Rating: 5 E, MUST-SEE

    — EDDIE REYNOLDS, THEATER EDDYS Read full review

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