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Event Calendar

Pullman Porter Blues

NOV 23, 2012 – JAN 6, 2013

by Cheryl L. West
directed by Lisa Peterson

a co-production with Seattle Repertory Theatre

in the Kreeger Theater

Who’s Who


E. Faye ButlerE. FAYE BUTLER (Sister Juba) is thrilled to return home to Arena Stage. Previous productions include Trouble in Mind, Oklahoma!, Crowns, Ain't Misbehavin, Polk County and Dinah Was. She performed with The Washington Ballet in The Great Gatsby and Blues until June at the Kennedy Center. National and Regional Tours include Mamma Mia, Dinah Was, Ain't Misbehavin, Nunsense and Don't Bother Me.... E. Faye has appeared at regional theatres such as Signature Theatre, Centerstage, La Jolla Playhouse,Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre,Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Lincolnshire Theatre, Dallas Theatre Company, Northlight Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Yale Repertory and Pasadena Playhouse. She is the recipient of six Jeff Awards, three Black Theatre Alliance Awards, an After Dark Award, John Barrymore Award, R.A.M.I. Award, Helen Hayes Award, Excellence in the Arts Award, Ovation Award, and 2011 Sarah Siddons Society Leading Lady Award. In 2012 she was named a Lunt-Fontaine Fellow. Back

EMILY CHISHOLM (Lutie Duggernut) is thrilled to make her Arena Stage debut. She recently completed Twelfth Night with Seattle Shakespeare Company, This Wide Night with Seattle Public Theatre (co-production with The If Project), and Torso (Gregory Award Nominee for Best New Play) with Printer’s Devil Theatre. Selected credits include: Tryst, The 13th of Paris (Seattle Public Theatre); The Servant of Two Masters (Seattle Shakespeare Company); The Secret Garden (Book-It Repertory Theatre); The Neverending Story, Peter Pan, and The Borrowers (Seattle Children’s Theatre). She appears regularly in Ian Bell’s quarterly, Seattle Confidential at ACT. Emily was a founding member of the experimental theater company, Implied Violence and a company member of Washington Ensemble Theatre for three years. She is a graduate of Cornish College of the Arts. Back

Cleavant DerricksCLEAVANT DERRICKS (Sylvester) created the role of James Thunder Early for Dreamgirls (Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, LA Drama Circle Award). He also starred in Bob Fosse's Broadway production Big Deal (Tony and Drama Desk nominations). Other Broadway credits include: Revival of Hair, Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, But Never Jam Today, and Brooklyn the Musical. Cleavant received the NAACP Theatre Award for Best Male Performance for The Full Monty national tour and was awarded the Heroes and Legends Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre. Some film credits include: Moscow on the Hudson, The Slugger's Wife, Offbeat, Carnival of Souls, Bluffing it, Miami Magma, Basilisk and World Traveler. Cleavant has been aTV series regular on Sliders, Thea, Drexell's Class, Good Sports and Woops! Some TV guest appearances include: Touched by an Angel, Charmed, The Practice, The Bernie Mac Show, Cold Case and David E. Kelly's Wedding Bells. Back

James Patrick HillJAMES PATRICK HILL (Twist/Drummer). Some artists go to school to gain the skills to master an instrument. James was born with the gift to play the drums. At the age of four, he had his first drum solo at home with his mother’s pots and pans. By age six, he was playing the drums for the church choir. His talents have reached a depth of music artistry genre from gospel, rock, folk, Latin, R&B, reggae, Brazillian, country, swing, with a host of nationally renowned artists such as Darren Motamony, Jeff Kashuwa, Sandra Couch, The Winans, Fred Hammond, Gary Oliver, Phil Curry, Steve Oliver, Crystal Murden, Greta Montasa, Michael Powers, Robi Duke, and Colorado Mass Choir to name a few. The versatility, power and passion that he illustrates for every performance has gained him the title of The Volcano. Back

JmichaelJMICHAEL (Keys/Pianist, Music Director and Conductor, Musical and Vocal Arrangements) holds a BA degree from Alabama State University and a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan. He has produced corporate shows at the Mirage and Caesars Palace hotels in Las Vegas; and was a featured performer at Disneyland and for Disney Cruises. His “Platter Tribute” concept has performed with Pueblo, Colorado Symphony, the Alabama Symphony, and ten shows with the prestigious Pittsburgh Symphony—Marvin Hamlisch, Conductor. The Jmichael “21st Century SoundFlyte Band” performs for events nationwide. The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin, Blues in the Night, Black Nativity, Gut Bucket Blues, Swimming Upstream, The Piano Lesson, Mahalia and Pullman Porter Blues are a few of the shows for which Jmichael has served as Music Director/Arranger. He won kudos for his acting performances in Mahalia and as Wining Boy in The Piano Lesson; and was co-writer and performed the title song for the movie Olive Juice. He is co-founder of SoundFlyte Productions. Back

Lamar LoftonLAMAR LOFTON (Shorty/Bassist) hails from Seattle. After attending prestigious Garfield High School, he attended Cornish College of the Arts where he received his BFA in music performance. Since then he has performed locally and around the world in various musical settings from musical theatre to collaborating with international reggae and jazz artists including Clinton Fearon, Eek-a-Mouse, John Hicks , Ernestine Anderson, The Abbysinians, Julian Priester, Hadley Caliman, Renee’ Strange, Cedric Brooks and many others. Adept at both string and electric bass, his versatility in instruments and musical settings continue to keep him in demand as an accompanist and a leader. Back

Felicia LoudFELICIA V. LOUD (u/s Sister Juba). With a voice that traverses the distance between earthy growl and angelic whisper at a moment’s notice, Felicia is the Northwest's premier soul singer. “The Northwest isn't necessarily known for its soul, but Felicia could really get Loud…she could be the next Macy Gray” (The Seattle Times, 2004). In addition to her singing career, she has added actress to her résumé. Stage roles include Yolanda in Crowns (Intiman Theatre’s Philadelphia tour), Narrator in Black Nativity (Intiman Theatre), Billy Holliday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (University of Washington Cultural Arts Theatre), Ruth in Raisin in the Sun (Oberlin Summer Theater Festival), Spirit in Sankofa (The Moore Theatre), Resa in Two Trains Running (Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center), Bessie in Native Son (Intiman Theatre) and Bessie Smith in A Night in the Life of Bessie Smith (Langston Hughes Theatre). Love 2 Adillia Scott and Lavern Loud. Back

Chic Street ManCHIC STREET MAN (Slick/Guitarist, Harmonica Coach) Regional Theatre: Composer/Guitar Man/Spunk (Public Theater, NY; Ruined (OSF, Portland); Slow Drag/Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Seattle Repertory); Peen/Lost Highway (Mark Taper Forum). Composer/performer, Native Son (Intiman, Seattle); The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Berkeley Repertory); Touch the Names (Cleveland Playhouse); A Lesson before Dying (Alabama Shakespeare Festival). Contributing author, musical arranger, performer, It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues (Arena  Stage / Denver Theatre Company). Musical director/composer, Polk County (McCarter Theatre). Composer, “Permutations” (PBS Great Performances). Music festivals: Paleo, Montreux and Bern Jazz Festivals. Albums: Seven, including Lullablues. Founder, Chic Street Man's School of Performing Arts. Featured performer, various U.N. events. Film: Triple Bogey, Hangin' with the Home Boys. Awards: 1990 Audelco Award and 1992 NAACP Theatre Arts Award (Spunk), San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critic’s Circle Award / Musical Direction (Polk County). Teaching: Heifetz International School of Music, Seattle Conservatory of Music. Education: UC Santa Cruz.

Larry MarshallLARRY MARSHALL (Monroe) recently appeared as the Mayor in Harbor Light’s production of The Music Man, and has appeared as Danny in the National Tour of Xanadu. He was last seen on Broadway in The Color Purple as Ole Mister. In the summer of 2006, he appeared with Merly Streep as The General and The Farmer in Mother Courage at the Delacourt in Central Park. Some of his other Broadway credits include Hair, Inner City, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Rock-A-Bye Hamlet, Comin’ Uptown, A Broadway Musical, Oh Brother!, Big Deal, Play On!, The Full Monty, and Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess, for which he was nominated for a Tony and a Drama Desk award. His movie credits include Jesus Christ Super Star, The Cotton Club, Showtime’s Keep The Faith, and the Showtime series “Soul Food.” Back

Warner MillerWARNER MILLER (Cephas) recently appeared in the award winning premiere of Danai Gurira’s The Convert at LA’s Kirk Douglas Theatre, Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, and the McCarter in Princeton, NJ. He also appeared in the world premieres of Dominique Morisseau’s Follow Me to Nellie’s and Tammy Ryan’s Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods at Premiere Stages. Other credits include August Wilson’s Fences at Huntington Theatre Company; The Brothers Size at Seattle Repertory Theatre; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at Syracuse Stage; The Piano Lesson at Geva Theatre and Indiana Repertory Theatre; Paradox of the Urban Cliché at The LAByrinth Theater Company; Since Africa at The Old Globe; False Creeds at The Alliance Theatre; and A Raisin in the Sun at Hartford Stage. Film and TV credits include American Gangster, Wyclef Jean in America, Everyday People, Law & Order and CSI: NY. Back

Richard ZimanRICHARD ZIMAN (Tex/Voices) just returned from Shakespeare Santa Cruz. In two seasons there: Sir John Falstaff (Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2); Baisemeaux (The Man in the Iron Mask); Richelieu (The Three Musketeers). Recent local work: Damn Yankees (5th Ave); Double Indemnity (ACT Theatre/San Jose Rep); Hamlet (SSC). Broadway: Henry IV, Not About Nightingales, Epic Proportions, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Lost in Yonkers. New York Shakespeare Festival: Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Julius Ceasar, Kit Marlowe, The Normal Heart. Off Broadway: MTC, Roundabout. Regional: Longwharf, Huntington, South Coast Rep, Hartford Stage, Intiman, Shakespeare Theater DC, Portland Stage, Alley, Wilma. Film/TV: Leverage, The Sopranos, Law & Order, Third Watch, 100 Center Street, Private Parts, Clockers, Hackers. A native New Yorker and graduate of Juilliard, Richard resides in Seattle with actress Leslie Law. Back


CHERYL L. WEST (Playwright) is the librettist for Play On! (which ran on Broadway) and the author of several plays including the adaptation, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy; Motherhood Out Loud (co-author); Addie, American Girl Story (21-ciy tour); Birdie Blue; Rejoice; Holiday Heart; Puddin 'n' Pete; Jar the Floor; and Before It Hits Home (Helen Hayes/Charles McArthur Award for outstanding new play and the Susan Smith Blackburn prize).She is a recipient of the National Endowment Playwriting Award and the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Best Playwright Award. Her plays have been produced in England, New York, and in numerous regional theatres including Minneapolis Children’s Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Rep, Arena Stage, Old Globe, The Goodman, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Bay Street Theatre Festival, Syracuse Stage, Cleveland Play House, South Coast Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Off‐Broadway's Second Stage. Cheryl adapted her play, Holiday Heart for Showtime/MGM and Robert De Niro's Tribeca Productions (GLADD nomination). She has worked in TV and film projects at Paramount, MTV Films, Showtime, TNT, HBO, and CBS. Back

LISA PETERSON (Director) is happy to return to Arena Stage, where she directed The Quality of Life and The Rainmaker.  Other recent credits include An Iliad, written with Denis O’Hare, which premiered at Seattle Rep, and then went on to an acclaimed production this spring at New York Theatre Workshop, where it won a Lortel and an OBIE award. Other credits in NY include: Motherhood Outloud, Shipwrecked, The Model Apartment (Primary Stages); The Poor Itch, Tongue of a Bird, The Square (Public Theatre);The Fourth Sister, The Batting Cage (Vineyard); Birdy, Chemistry of Change (WPP/Playwright’s Horizons); Collected Stories (MTC); Sueno (MCC);Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, Slavs!, Traps, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (Obie Award), The Waves (NYTW). Regional: Mark Taper Forum (Resident Director 1995-2005), La Jolla Playhouse (Associate Artistic Director 1992-1995), Berkeley Rep, Intiman, South Coast Rep, CalShakes, OSF, The Guthrie, Dallas Theater Center, Arena Stage, McCarter, Center Stage, Yale Rep, Hartford Stage, Long Wharf, The Huntington, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Philadelphia Theater Co, O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Midwest Playlabs, NY Stage & Film and Sundance Theatre Lab. Back

RICCARDO HERNANDEZ (Scenic Designer)Recent Productions: La Mouette for Cour D'Honneur; Jan Karski, Opera-Theatre both at the Avignon Festival France; Abigail's Party, Oslo National Theater; Die Entfuhrung As dem Serail, Opera de Nice, France. American Repertory Theatre: Close to 20 credits, including The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Prometheus Bound, The Seagull, Desire Under the Elms, Marat/Sade (all directed by Janos Szasz;) Julius Caesar, Britannicus. Broadway: The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess; The People in the Picture (Studio 54); Caroline, or Change (also National Theatre London); Topdog/Underdog (also Royal Court, London); Elaine Stritch at Liberty (also West End’s Old Vic, London and national tour); Parade (Tony and Drama Desk nominations); Bells Are Ringing; Noise/Funk (also national tours and Japan); The Tempest. Other New York credits: Over two dozen productions at New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theatre; as well as Lincoln Center, Second Stage, NYTW, MTC, MCC, Playwrights Horizons, Cherry Lane, BAM, and numerous regional theatres: Seattle Rep, Gutherie, Goodman and Mark Taper Forum. Back

CONSTANZA ROMERO (Costume Designer) Broadway: The Mountaintop, Fences (Tony nomination), Gem of the Ocean (Tony nomination), The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars. Regional theaters: Seattle Rep’s Clybourne Park, The Brothers Size, Dancing at Lughnasa, and Fences; Denver Center Theatre Company; Goodman Theatre; Huntington Theatre Company; Mark Taper Forum (Ovation Award for Gem of the Ocean); Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Crossroads Theatre Company; Indiana Repertory Theatre; Yale Repertory Theatre; Milwaukee Repertory Theater; Shakespeare Santa Cruz; Intiman and ACT theatres. She has taught costume design and scenic design at the University of Washington and University of California at Santa Cruz, designed artwork for Broadway’s The Piano Lesson and Seven Guitars, and was the associate artist for Signature Theatre’s August Wilson Series. She was the associate producer for Broadway's Fences starring Denzel Washington. Constanza holds an MFA in design from the Yale School of Drama and resides in Seattle with her, and her late husband August Wilson’s daughter, Azula Carmen Wilson. Back

ALEXANDER V. NICHOLS (Lighting Designer, Video Designer) Arena credits include Anthems, The Quality of Life, Sophisticated Ladies and Ruined. Theatre credits include the Broadway productions: Wishful Drinking, Hugh Jackman Back On Broadway, Nice Work If You Can Get It. Off-Broadway productions: In Masks Outrageous and Austere, Los Big Names, Horizon, Bridge and Tunnel, Taking Over, Through the Night, and In the Wake. Other design credits include American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Rep, Mark Taper Forum, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage, Huntington Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, and Seattle Rep. Dance credits include resident designer for Pennsylvania Ballet, Hartford Ballet, and American Repertory Ballet. He was the lighting supervisor for American Ballet Theatre and has been the resident visual designer for the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company. His designs are in the permanent repertory of San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Alvin Ailey and Hubbard Street, among others. Back

LEON ROTHENBERG (Sound Designer) is delighted to be working at Arena Stage for the first time. Other regional credits include: All Shook Up (NSMT), February House (Long Wharf/Public Theater), Jitney (2Rivers), Sleeping Beauty Wakes (McCarter/La Jolla), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (La Jolla), The Year of Magical Thinking (Intiman) and Herringbone (McCarter/La Jolla). On Broadway Leon designed The Heiress, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Tony Nomination) and Impressionism. Other recent credits: Murder Ballad (Manhattan Theater Club), Play Dead (Players Theater), Timon of Athens (Public), On The Levee (LCT3), Diagnosis of a Faun (Lamama), Encores: Anyone Can Whistle, Fall For Dance (2008-2012), and others. Recent International credits include: Diabolidad (National Theater of Cyprus), King Lear (Festival Dijon) and for Cirque du Soleil: Kooza and Wintuk.

SONIA DAWKINS (Musical Staging) is the founder and artistic director of Sonia Dawkins/Prism Dance Theatre. She is a graduate of the University of the Arts and received a masters in dance from SUNY Brockport. Sonia has been a faculty member at Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle and Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington DC. She has also been an Artist-in Residence at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and North Carolina School of the Arts. Sonia has performed extensively with choreographers and companies in the US and the Caribbean. Her national and international choreography credits include: Seattle Repertory Theatre (The Breach, Three Musketeers, Brothers Size), Pacific Northwest Ballet and School, Nevada Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre School, Seattle Theatre Group (Dance This), Bulgaria Dance Festival, Mexico International Festival and Broadway Bound (God Lives in Glass, 13 The Musical) and many other ballets. Back

CHRISTINE SUMPTION (Dramaturg) is a Seattle-based theatre artist who has served as a dramaturg for Sundance Theatre Lab, the New Harmony Project, Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival, Icicle Creek Theatre Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and Seattle Children’s Theatre. She has worked with playwrights Sarah Ruhl, Michael Louis Serafin-Wells, Kathleen Tolan, and Cheryl L. West, among many others. Her directing credits include productions at Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Tacoma Actors Guild, and DARTS/Company Subaru in Tokyo, where she served as Resident Director for three years. She was on the artistic staff of Seattle Repertory Theatre for nine seasons, where she served as dramaturg/literary manager, edited publications, and produced the annual Women Playwrights Festival in partnership with Hedgebrook, a Whidbey Island writers retreat. She is now the Resident Dramaturg at Hedgebrook; Co-Curator (with Anita Montgomery) of the Construction Zone, a new play reading series at ACT; and teaches at Cornish College of the Arts. Hedgebrook Plays, Volume 1, which she co-edited with Liz Engelman, will be published by Whit Press this fall. Back

AMBER DICKERSON (Stage Manager) is delighted to be working with Lisa Peterson again. Recent credits include The Normal Heart with George C. Wolfe, The Whipping Man with Hana Sharif, Trouble in Mind with Irene Lewis,the Dreamgirls National Tour with Robert Longbottom, and Looped with Valerie Harper in Florida and in DC.  Amber has also spent over a decade at Arena Stage and worked on many great productions. Other credits include Syracuse Stage, Ogunquit Playhouse, Berkshire Theatre Festival, and Heritage Repertory Theatre. Thanks to God and her family for their continuous love and support! Back

MARK JOHNSON (Assistant Stage Manager) is thrilled to be making his DC debut with Arena Stage.  Regionally, Mark has managed dozens of shows in the Chicago area, including extensive engagements at Porchlight Theatre and The Marriott Theatre. Mark recently wrapped up a three week run of Agatha Christie’s Witness For the Prosecution at the historic Fulton Theatre in Lancaster PA, and this winter Mark will be headed back to Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Florida to manage Les Misérables. Mark is also the resident stage manager at Maine State Music Theatre, where he will be returning in 2013 for his sixth season. Back

ALAN FILDERMAN (Casting) is pleased to be working for Arena Stage having previously cast 33 Variations. Broadway credits include: Grey Gardens, Marie Christine, Master Class and Once on This Island. Off-Broadway: Boys in the Band (2010), Langston in Harlem, Dessa Rose, Here Lies Jenny, Listen To My Heart, Miss Evers Boys, A New Brain, A Beautiful Thing, Three Tall Women, From The Mississippi Delta, Song of Singapore and The Sum of Us. He casts for many Regional Theatres across the United States and is an Artistic Associate at The Berkshire Theatre Group. His film credits include Ice Age, Broadway Damage and Anastasia. Back

SEATTLE REPERTORY THEATRE (Producing Partner) celebrates its 50th Anniversary with the 2012-2013 season. The theatre was founded in 1963 and is currently led by Artistic Director Jerry Manning and Managing Director Benjamin Moore. One of America's premier nonprofit resident theatres, Seattle Repertory Theatre has achieved international renown for its consistently high production and artistic standards, and was awarded the 1990 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. With an emphasis on entertaining plays of true dramatic and literary worth, Seattle Rep produces a season of plays along with educational programs, new play workshops and special presentations. Back