EBONY REPERTORY THEATRE
RESUMES PERFORMANCES OF
PHILLIP HAYES DEAN’S
TWO-TIME EMMY AWARD-WINNER
AT THE NATE HOLDEN PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
PERFORMANCES RESUME ON FRIDAY, MARCH 21 AT 8:00 P.M.
THREE MAKE-UP PERFORMANCES ARE SCHEDULED
ON APRIL 18, 19 and 20
LOS ANGELES, CA (March 20, 2014) – Ebony Repertory Theatre (ERT – Founder/Producer Wren T. Brown) announced today that performances for Phillip Hayes Dean’s (Drama Desk-winner for The Sty of the Blind Pig) powerful and moving play PAUL ROBESON will resume performances on Friday, March 21, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. Two-time Emmy Award-winner Keith David (Fox’s new series Enlisted), who stars in this one-man play, returns to the stage after recovering from a knee injury. PAUL ROBESON, directed by Mr. Dean, also includes accompaniment by pianist/musical director Byron J. Smith (working with numerous artists including Wynton Marsalis, Barbra Streisand, BeBe Winans). The production will continue to play through Sunday, March 30, which was part of the previously announced schedule. Three additional performances are set for Friday, April 18 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, April 19 at 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m. to make up for the canceled opening weekend performances (Friday, March 14 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, March 15 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 16 at 2:00 p.m.). PAUL ROBESON plays at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center (4718 West Washington Boulevard) in Los Angeles. Members of the press are invited to review the production beginning on Saturday, March 22 at 2:00 p.m.
“Everyone at Ebony Repertory Theatre is pleased to announce that Mr. David is firmly on his road to recovery,” said Ebony Repertory Theatre Founder/Producer Wren T. Brown. “We are thankful to our loyal patrons for their outpouring of concern and support after we made the announcement about the cancellation of the PAUL ROBESON opening weekend performances due to Mr. David’s injury. In keeping with his tradition of being the consummate professional, Mr. David has arranged his schedule to give our theatre and patrons three make-up performances. We are grateful to Mr. David and our patrons for their thoughtful consideration at this time.”
A powerful chronicle of the life of Paul Robeson, Phillip Hayes Dean’s play takes us from his childhood in New Jersey to his adult life around the world. An All-American athlete and a lawyer with Columbia Law School credentials, Robeson faces the racism prevalent in society in the early part of the twentieth century. He strives to rise above, and it is his triumph in that struggle that turns Robeson into a modern day hero.
Realizing the racist system would not allow him to practice as a lawyer, Robeson turns to singing, something he had learned well in the church choir. His singing leads to acting and his acting, with all the accolades due a master, leads him around the world. But every place he visits he sees the strains of racism in its many forms. The more he sees, the more he speaks out, using his influence and stature to try and enlighten those around him. After some time in Europe, he returns to the United States to perform and speak out about the injustices in the country he loves. Confronting racism again, he sticks to his values, adhering to no party line, but is accused of being a Communist, an agitator and much more. He is blacklisted and his passport is revoked, but he goes on speaking out whenever he can.
For eight years Robeson fights to clear his name. Finally, the social climate begins to change and toward the end of his life, Robeson’s passport is reinstated along with some of the glory and respect he earned along the way. There is still far to go, but Paul Robeson remains a beacon to those struggling to make this world a better place.
In addition to director Phillip Hayes Dean, the creative team for PAUL ROBESON includes scenic design by Edward E. Haynes, Jr., costume design by Wendell C. Carmichael, lighting design by Dan Weingarten, sound design by Bob Blackburn and choreography by Keith Young. The production stage manager is David Blackwell.
Phillip Hayes Dean’s PAUL ROBESON originally opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1978, later transferring to the Booth Theatre, starring James Earl Jones and directed by Lloyd Richards with original staging by Charles Nelson Reilly. The one-man play had two revivals on Broadway – 1988 at the John Golden Theatre and in 1995 at the Longacre Theatre. Both productions starred Avery Brooks and were directed by Harold Scott.
Ebony Repertory Theatre, now in its sixth year, is the resident company and operator of the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, which is located at 4718 West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90016. PAUL ROBESON runs March 21 – 30, 2014 with three make-up performances on Friday, April 18 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, April 19 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m. The regular performance schedule is Friday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Tickets range from $30.00 – $60.00. Single tickets are available online at ebonyrep.org or by phone at 323-964-9766. Groups of 10 or more are available via email at [email protected] or 323-964-9766.
# # #
EBONY REPERTORY THEATER (Producer) Award winning Ebony Repertory Theatre (ERT), Los Angeles’ only African American professional theatre company (Actors Equity Contract) now in its sixth year, is the Resident Company and Operator of the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, located at 4718 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90016.
PHILLIP HAYES DEAN (Playwright/Director), born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and later in Pontiac, Michigan, received his initial theater opportunity apprenticing at the Will-O-Way Playhouse in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. His first assignment was pulling the curtain for the play Life with Mother. He subsequently appeared in their production of Heaven Can Wait. He later moved to New York City, where he appeared on Broadway in Wisteria Trees starring Helen Hayes and an all Black version of Waiting for Godot. He began writing plays in the 1960’s, and among the many: The Last American Dixieland Band; Moloch Blues: The Owl Killer and Dink’s Blues, The American Nightmare, Thunder In The Index, This Bird Of Dawning Singeth All Night Long, and Dream Of Passion. His plays have been produced throughout the United States, and in New York City, at the American Place Theater (This Bird Of Dawning Singeth All Night Long, Freeman, and Every Night When The Sun Goes Down), and at the Negro Ensemble Company (The Sty of the Blind Pig). The Sty of the Blind Pig won the Hull-Warriner Award and the prestigious Drama Desk Award, and was named one of the season’s ten best plays by Time magazine the year it was produced. His play, Paul Robeson, has had three Broadway productions, a London production, and has toured across the United States and Europe. He has worked extensively as a director and has taught acting and playwriting at the University of Michigan. Phillip makes his Los Angeles directing debut with this production.
KEITH DAVID (Paul Robeson), with over 150 film, television and stage credits to his name, Keith David continues to defy the odds with his ability to remain in demand across an astounding variety of entertainment mediums. Mr. David’s impressive list of on screen feature film roles include Oliver Stone’s Academy Award-winning Platoon; Clint Eastwood’s Bird; and Paul Haggis’ Academy Award-winning Crash, as well as There’s Something About Mary; Armageddon; Pitch Black; The Chronicles of Riddick; Requiem for a Dream; Mr. and Mrs. Smith; and Barbershop. Keith most recently appeared in Cloud Atlas. In television, Keith is proud to be a series regular on the new Fox comedy Enlisted, due to premiere Friday, January 10, 2014. Previously, Keith was a series regular on the sitcom Belle’s for TV One. Other credits include guest stars on ER and 7th Heaven, appearances on Law & Order and CSI, LeVar Burton’s telefilm The Tiger Woods Story, for which he received an Emmy Award nomination, and The Cape for NBC. Noted for his deep, commanding voice, another dimension of Keith’s career holds him as an Emmy-winning voice over artist. Internationally known as the voice behind Goliath from Gargoyles and the title character in the Spawn animated series, he provided the voice for “Vhailor” in the video game Planescape: Torment and “The Arbiter” for Halo 2, and the wildly popular Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Other voiceover credits include the A&E cable series City Confidential and the U.S. Navy television commercials. Keith’s strong working relationship with Ken Burns made him the only choice for the narrative voice for three of Ken’s epic documentaries. Last year the segment “A Necessary War” from Burns’ miniseries The War, earned David a second Emmy Award. His first Emmy was received for his work on Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. The miniseries Jazz also earned David an Emmy nomination. Keith’s also lent his voice to Coraline and Disney’s Princess and The Frog. A native New Yorker, Mr. David has extensive stage experience. Keith attended the famed PA (Performing Arts High School in New York City) and continued his studies in theater at the celebrated Juilliard. In 1992 he received a Tony® Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance in Jelly’s Last Jam. Additional stage credits include: Sarah Pia Anderson’s revival of Hedda Gabler, and Lloyd Richards’ original Broadway staging of the late August Wilson’s Seven Guitars. As if all of this wasn’t enough, Keith David is also an accomplished singer/songwriter with his own band. He is currently performing with symphonies and orchestras and in clubs across the country.
BYRON J. SMITH (Accompanist) is a native of Los Angeles born June 1960. He received his B.M. from California State University, Long Beach and his M.M. from California State University, Los Angeles. He is an associate professor of music at Los Angeles Harbor College where he specializes in commercial music; teaching music industry courses such as The Business of Commercial Music, Song Writers Workshop, Choir and Commercial piano and voice. Byron freelances as music director, studio musician, arranger and producer; working with numerous artist raging from Wynton Marsalis, Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow to Clifton Davis, BeBe Winans and Daryl Coley. He is the owner of Onyx Music Publishing where his choral works have sold thousands of titles throughout the country and the world. His professional ensemble, “The Spirit Chorale of Los Angeles” has received rave reviews for its work in keeping alive the Negro spiritual and other music for more than 20 years. Byron J. Smith coordinates and is the director/organist of the music ministry at the Grant A.M.E. Church of Los Angeles He currently holds the office of National President of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc.