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“Thompson] is a known showman with a gift for theatricality.”
Written and Directed by Tazewell Thompson
Jubilee is generously sponsored by:
Andrew R. Ammerman; R. Lucia Riddle; Dr. Donald Wallace Jones, Dr. Betty Jean Tolbert Jones and Tracey Tolbert Jones.
The world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers shattered racial barriers in the U.S. and abroad, entertaining kings and queens. For centuries, the bold a capella African American ensemble born on the campus of Fisk University has blended their rich voices together sharing a heritage of suffering, strength and endurance. “A known showman” with a “gift for stirring theatricality” (Washington Post), playwright and director Tazewell Thompson brings an innovative and heart-stirring score to life in this world premiere. With uplifting spirituals and hymns including “Wade in the Water,” “Ain’t That Good News,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” this a capella performance with more than three dozen songs is sure to ignite audiences.
V. SAVOY MCILWAIN
AUNDI MARIE MOORE
KATHERINE ALEXIS THOMAS
SHALEAH ADKISSON (Mabel Lewis) has been seen on Broadway and on tour in Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical and Off-Broadway in Rent. Regional: Clybourne Park, Avenue Q, The Hot Mikado, Beehive: The 60’s Musical, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Grease, Nunsense and Children of Eden. When not working in the theatre she works as an administrator and teaching artist with Bridge Arts Ensemble, an organization of freelance musicians catering to school districts in upstate New York. Additionally, she performs in NYC and on tour with Soul Picnic Productions (Back to the Garden and August 1969: A Tribute to the Women of Woodstock). Instagram: @shal252k; www.shaleahadkisson.com
LISA ARRINDELL (Ella Sheppard) will be making her Arena Stage debut in Jubilee. She appeared on Broadway in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Off-Broadway in HooDoo Love and Heliotrope Bouquet at Playwrights Horizons; Mixed Babies at Manhattan Class Company; and Richard III at The Delacorte. Film credits includeThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion, Christmas Wedding Baby, A Christmas Blessing, The Sin Seer, The Wronged Man, A Lesson Before Dying, Disappearing Acts, Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters’ First One Hundred Years and Clockers. Guest appearances include Madam Secretary, Elementary, Saints and Sinners, Law & Order: SVU, The Quad and Notorious. Lisa graduated from LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts and she received her B.F.A. in Theatre from The Juilliard School. IG: @lisaarrindell
JOY JONES (Jennie Jackson) was previously seen in Arena Stage’s A Raisin in the Sun and Mary T & Lizzy K. Off-Broadway, she appeared in workshops at the Lincoln Center Festival, The Public and Playwrights Horizons. In London, Joy performed in Tantalus (Royal Shakespeare Company). Selected DC-area credits include The Hard Problem, Cloud Nine, Belleville, Invisible Man (Studio Theatre) and The Call (Theater J). Her selected regional credits include Disgraced (Virginia Stage); Invisible Man (Huntington Theatre); Ruined and Tantalus (Denver Center); The Champion (TheatreSquared);and Pericles (PlayMakers Repertory). Her recent on-camera appearances are Little America (Apple TV) and DC Noir (Pictureshow Productions). Joy has an Acting MFA from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Ensemble for Invisible Man at the Studio Theatre. Web: thejoyjones.com.
ZONYA LOVE (Georgia Gordon) is honored to be making her Arena Stage Debut in Jubilee. She was seen in the original production of The Color Purple on Broadway as Celie, Off- Broadway’s Avenue Q as Gary Coleman, The Flea Theater’s Emma and Maxx, and various regional productions. Some of her favorite roles include Effie in TUTS’ Dreamgirls, Deloris Van Cartier in Broadway Sacramento’s Sister Act, Bessie Smith in Milwaukee Repertory’s The Devil’s Music and Mayme in Nevada Conservatory’s Intimate Apparel. She has appeared on Smash, The Late Show with David Letterman, Blacklist and Blue Bloods. Twitter: @lovezonya, Instagram: @lovezonya Website: www.zonyalove.com. Proud member of Broadway Inspirational Voices. Psalms 139:14
SEAN-MAURICE LYNCH (Frederick Loudin) is delighted to be making his Arena Stage debut in Jubilee. D.C. area credits include Twelve Angry Men, Ragtime and Parade at Ford's; Ruined at Everyman Theatre; Lost in the Stars at Washington Opera; Passing Strange and Pop! at Studio Theatre; Show Boat, Sweeney Todd, Hairspray, Dreamgirls at Signature Theatre; and A Year with Frog and Toad at Adventure Theatre. Sean-Maurice is currently on staff at Arena Stage as the Training Programs Manager.
V. SAVOY MCILWAIN
V. SAVOY MCILWAIN (Thomas Rutling) is a baritone, a native of Washington, D.C. and is thrilled to make his debut at Arena Stage. Favorite credits include Sweeney Todd (Repstage); Show Boat (Signature Theatre); Jelly’s Last Jam (Signature Theatre); Caroline or Change (Roundhouse Theatre); Strega Nona (Adventure Theatre); Christmas Gift (NEWorks Productions); Camera Obscura (Urban Arias); Fortune’s Bones (C. Smith Performing Arts Center, World Premiere); Porgy and Bess (Grand Theatre de Geneve); Transformations (Maryland Opera Studio); Amahl and the Night Visitors (Ashlawn Opera); La Boheme (West Edge Opera) and many others. Savoy is a graduate of the famed Duke Ellington School of the Arts, holds a BM from the University of Northern Iowa and MM from the University of Maryland at College Park. www.vsavoymcilwain.com
AUNDI MARIE MOORE
AUNDI MARIE MOORE (Maggie Porter) American Soprano, hailed by The Washington Post for possessing a voice of “Clarion Beauty” has captured the hearts of many audiences and critics alike with her rich warm expressive tones. Career highlights include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with L'Opéra de Monte Carlo; Nedda in Pagliacci with Sarasota Opera; Soprano 2 in Facing Goya with the Spoleto Festival USA; Serena in Porgy and Bess with Atlanta Opera; Young African American Soprano in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's Rappahannock County with Virginia Opera; and Odessa Clay in the World Premier of Approaching Ali with Washington National Opera. Upcoming 19/20 season, Strawberry Woman in Porgy and Bess with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. #Livingmydreams @Aundimariemoore www.aundimariemoore.com
SIMONE PAULWELL (America Robinson) has garnered international attention for her innate ability to capture audiences with her strikingly powerful and agile voice. A Washington D.C. native, she made her national debut as a soloist with The President's Own: United States Marine Band in 2007. Ms. Paulwell has performed for audiences of all ages and cultures and has graced such prestigious stages as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in Washington, D.C., Carnegie Hall, in New York City, the Reichold Center for the Arts in the U.S. Virgin Islands, The Washington National Opera Company and The San Francisco Opera Company. Ms. Paulwell recently completed her first summer at The Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, New York. In 2015 Ms. Paulwell made her European debut as Serena in Porgy and Bess at the Rai Centre in Amsterdam and at Theatre Odyssud in Blagnac, France. Education: Morgan State University, in Baltimore, MD, and Wilberforce University, in Wilberforce, OH, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree.
TRAVIS PRATT (Isaac Dickerson) is a multitalented award-winning tenor, who has a passion for music and a gift of connecting with audiences across genres. A graduate of The University of Michigan with a MM in Vocal Performance, the Georgia native received his first taste of stardom on the NBC hit reality show America’s Got Talent. This set the stage for several partnerships with MAC Cosmetics, the American Cancer Society, FOX and NBC television networks. Travis' prodigious combination of talents and authenticity has earned him the moniker of a “Renaissance Man” with features in Rolling Stone and Huffington Post. As an accomplished vocalist, choir conductor, and pianist, his multidisciplinary experiences have taken him from the cabarets of New York to televised performances in Europe and Africa. He created the Role of Jehandre in the premier of Sousatzka the Musical in Toronto, Canada. Travis is currently performing on stages across the country and recording his debut solo project.
KATHERINE ALEXIS THOMAS
KATHERINE ALEXIS THOMAS (Minnie Tate) is making her Arena Stage debut in Jubilee and is excited to be here! Some of her regional theatre credits include Ragtime (Marriott Theatre & Griffin Theatre, recipient of the Joseph Jefferson Award). She was also recently seen in The All Night Strut! (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre) and Dreamgirls (Porchlight Musical Theatre). Many thanks to her family, friends and mentors! GO BLUE!
BUEKA UWEMEDIMO (Greene Evans) is excited to be back at Arena Stage. Regional credits include: Ford’s: Twelve Angry Men; Arena: A Raisin in the Sun; D.C.-Area: 1st Stage: The Good Counselor (Helen Hayes nom). Other: West End: Lion King, Magic of Motown; Everyman: Intimate Apparel, Ruined. TV and Film: Madam Secretary, FBI. www.BuekaUwemedimo.com @Bueka.IG
GREG WATKINS (Benjamin Holmes) is delighted to make his debut at Arena Stage. Credits include Constellation Theatre Company: Aida; Anacostia Playhouse: Happy Ending; Workhouse Arts Center: Rock of Ages; Arts Centric: Sister Act; Toby’s Dinner Theater: Dreamgirls; WSC Avant Bard: The Gospel at Colonus (Helen Hayes nomination) and King Lear; The InSeries: From U Street to the Cotton Club; and Creative Cauldron: Thunder Knocking on the Door. Greg is the recipient of two awards in honor of Dr. Quincy Jones, the ASCAP Foundation/Cherry Lane Foundation/Music Alive (2008) and the Deb Moss Project/Raney Moss Group Foundation, Inc. (2019), both for his outstanding work in production, composition, performance and musical direction and his stellar work as an educator with youth in the arts. He has also appeared in several operas including Steven M. Allen’s The Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadows, for which he originated the leading baritone role of quintessential writer and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and garnered media attention in the PBS Documentary, Beyond the Mask. Greg has musically directed numerous productions, including The Poet Warriors (2010 Capital Fringe Best Musical Award) and the nationally acclaimed staged-reading of Christina Ham’s Four Little Girls where he also served as co-music arranger alongside Broadway & Sundance film composer Kathryn Bostic and Tony Award-winner Phylicia Rashad. EDUCATION: Howard University (B.M. Music Education). INSTAGRAM: @gregwatkinsmusic www.gregwatkinsmusic.com
JAYSEN WRIGHT (Edmund Watkins) is thrilled to return to Arena Stage after previously appearing in Smart People. Theatre credits include Davy Copperfield, Anatole, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and Looking for Roberto Clemente at Imagination Stage; The Importance of Being Earnest at Everyman Theatre; Actually and Sons of the Prophet at Theater J; Macbeth at Folger Theatre; The Wiz and A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre; Wig Out, Choir Boy and The Rocky Horror Show at Studio Theatre; Now Comes the Night and Take Me Out at 1st Stage; Pinkalicious and 12 Days of Christmas at Adventure Theatre; The Carolina Layaway Grail with The Welders; Measure for Measure, Coriolanus and Wallenstein at Shakespeare Theatre. Jaysen holds an MFA in Acting from Indiana University. Instagram @thejayceface www.jaysenwright.com
DIANNE ADAMS MCDOWELL
N. THOMAS PEDERSEN
TAZEWELL THOMPSON (Playwright and Director) is an international theater and opera director, award-winning playwright, teacher and actor. He has directing credits in major opera houses and theaters across Europe, Africa, Asia, Canada and the USA. Jubilee represents Tazewell's 20th production for Arena Stage. His play Constant Star has had 16 productions in major national theaters and his play Mary T. & Lizzy K., commissioned by and produced at Arena Stage, is the recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award. His production of Porgy & Bess, broadcast live from Lincoln Center, received Emmy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Classical Production. He is currently writing the libretto for a newly commissioned opera with composer Jeanine Tesori for Glimmerglass Festival to premiere summer 2019.
DIANNE ADAMS MCDOWELL
DIANNE ADAMS MCDOWELL (Vocal Arrangements and Music Direction) had the pleasure of working at Arena Stage on Tazewell Thompson’s Constant Star, for which she received a Helen Hayes Award nomination. Dianne served as Vocal Arranger for Broadway’s A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which was the recipient of numerous Drama Desk Awards, four 2014 Tony Awards including Best Musical and a 2015 Grammy Award nomination. Composer/lyricist credits include the New Victory Theater production of The Wind in the Willows with husband/collaborator James McDowell, as well as their musical Bookends. Other credits include Radio City Music Hall’s Magnificent Christmas Spectacular, Broadway’s Tony Award nominated Starmites and Disney productions. She is the recipient of the Barrymore Award and the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Award. Dianne is thrilled to be collaborating, once again, with her dear friend Tazewell.
DONALD EASTMAN (Set Designer) is thrilled to return to Arena Stage with Jubilee by his constant collaborator, Tazewell Thompson. He designed the premieres of Thompson’s Constant Star and Mary T & Lizzie K,as well as M Butterfly, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Black No More, Yellowman and The Heidi Chronicles at Arena Stage and Molly Smith’s productions of The Book Club Play and My Fair Lady. Recent productions include Intimate Apparel and Dinner With Friends for Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre; Posessing Harriet at Syracuse Stage; and Chasing the New White Whale at La MaMa ETC. Upcoming productions include BLUE, a new American Opera by composer Jeanine Tesori with libretto and direction by Tazewell Thompson for the Glimmerglass Festival and The Washington National Opera. Donald has received numerous awards including a Village Voice OBIE for Sustained Excellence of Design and is a NEA/National Opera Institute grantee.
MERRILY MURRAY-WALSH (Costume Designer) Jubilee is her fifth show at Arena, others include Constant Star, Ma Rainey, Heidi Chronicles and Mary T. & Lizzy K. Film/TV credits include: Kingfish: A Story of Huey P. Long (Ace nomination); In Search of Dr. Seuss (Emmy nomination); The Murder of Mary Phagan (Emmy, best mini-series); The Glass Menagerie, MGM; When the Lion Roared, War Story: Vietnam and Miss Lonelyhearts. Opera designs include: Appomattox at WNO, Kennedy Center; The Pearl Fishers, Carmen (Virginia Opera); and Dialogues of the Carmelites, Patience, and Margaret Garner at Glimmerglass Opera / New York City Opera. Theater credits include: The Speed of Darkness and Brothers on Broadway and The Iceman Cometh at The Abbey Theatre, Dublin, the Goodman Theatre and at BAM. Regional theatres: Old Globe Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Berkeley Repertory, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center, Children’s Theatre of Minneapolis, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Hartford Stage, Goodman Theatre and Williamstown Festival. 2014 Helen Hayes award: Mary T & Lizzy K. Training: Mills College, Carnegie-Mellon University. www.merrilymurray-walsh.com
ROBERT WIERZEL (Lighting Designer) has designed the lighting for Arena’s productions of Sovereignty, The Pajama Game, A Raisin In The Sun, Mary T. & Lizzy K, The Heidi Chronicles, On The Verge, M Butterﬂy, Yellowman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Black No More. Broadway productions include Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, the musical FELA! (Tony Award nomination) and David Copperﬁeld’s Broadway debut Dreams and Nightmares. Robert has designed productions with opera companies throughout the country and abroad, as well as numerous productions (30 seasons) with Glimmerglass Festival. Robert’s dance work includes 33 years with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. Furthermore, Robert has worked at most regional theaters across the country, including the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Currently, Robert is a creative partner at Spark Design Collaborative and is on the faculty of NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
FABIAN OBISPO (Sound Designer) returns to Arena Stage where his credits are Raisin in the Sun, Mary T & Lizzy K, Caucasian Chalk Circle, M Butterfly, Agamemnon And His Daughters (Helen Hayes Nomination), Heidi’s Chronicle, Constant Star, Yerma, Yellowman, On the Verge and Black No More. Recent off-Broadway credits include Public Theater’s Sea Wall/A Life, Oedipus El Rey, Teenage Dick, The Flea’s Emma and Max and MaYi’s The Chinese Lady. DC-area credits include Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Comedy of Errors, Henry V, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Folger Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet and Everyman Theatre’s Intimate Apparel. He has composed and sound designed extensively for regional theatres including the Goodman Theatre, Guthrie Theater, OSF and ACT just to name a few. He is a recipient of the Berkshires Theatre Critics Award and the Barrymore.
SHAWN DUAN (Projection Designer) is a New York based Projection and Video Designer. Arena Stage: Snow Child. Broadway: Chinglish. NYC: MET Museum, The Public Theater, Abrons Art Center, Riverside Theater, Wild Project. Regional: Berkeley Rep, Dallas Theater Center, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Guthrie, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Seattle Repertory Theatre, South Coast Rep, Trinity Rep, Virginia Stage Company. Opera: New York City Opera, Symphony Space New York. Tours: An Evening with Pacino (US/International), PJ Masks Live!, Alvin and the Chipmunks Live!, Super Why! Live!, Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! (US), Hong Kong Arts Festival. Las Vegas: Frankie Moreno: Under the Influence; Paul Zerdin: Mouthing Off; Puppet Up: Uncensored.
ANNE NESMITH (Wig Designer) is pleased to return to Arena Stage following this season’s Indecent and The Heiress. Her designs have been seen locally at Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre, Signature Theatre, Wolftrap Opera, Shakespeare Theatre and Washington Ballet. Regional work includes designs with Opera Philadelphia, Opera Boston, Annapolis Opera and Kansas CIty Rep and internationally at Saito Kinen Festival and Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Japan. Anne was the resident wig/makeup designer for the Baltimore Opera and has constructed wigs for Scooby Doo! Live and 42nd Street (Asian tour). You can see her work in Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery programs, Ice Cold Killers for Investigation Discovery, the Military Channel’s Great Planes, MD Public Television and the U.S. Army’s tour Spirit of America.
RON PIRETTI (Fight Director) directed the fights for The Last Ship, West Side Story, In the Heights, The Miracle Worker, Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo (add’l Fight Direction) and The Performers On Broadway. Off-Broadway, his work has been seen at Cherry Lane Theatre among many others. Ron has worked at Goodspeed Opera, Dallas Theatre Center and Hartford Theatreworks. Ron appeared as Officer Krupke in the Broadway production of West Side Story and regionally, as one of the Clowns in 39 Steps. Ron has acted in film and TV. He has taught at the Actors Studio Drama School, Wagner College and Marymount Manhattan College. He currently teaches acting at The Barrow Group (NYC). He attended Trinity University (San Antonio) and received his MFA from the Goodman School of Drama.
N. THOMAS PEDERSEN
N. THOMAS PEDERSEN (Assistant Music Director) recently retired as Head of the Music Theatre Division of The Catholic University of America (Artistic Director of Theatre Ten Ten NYC, The Washington Savoyards, Assoc. Summer Dinner Theatre). Off Broadway credits include Beggars Opera, Pirates of Penzance and Cowardy Custard. Regional credits include Long Beach Civic Light Opera: Man of La Mancha and Night Club Confidential; Library Theatre: Gypsy, A Little Night Music, Most Happy Fella’ and She Loves Me; Michigan Opera Theatre: A Little Night Music, Mikado, Die Fledermaus and Marriage of Figaro. Baritone soloist with conductors, Bernstein, Abravanel, Dorati and Shaw with the Detroit Symphony, June Opera Festival and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Musical Supervisor/Conductor for Barbara Eden, Shari Lewis, Gary Sandy, David Canary, John McCook, Rebecca Luker, Jana Robinson, Mel Tillis and Pam Tillis.
KURT HALL (Stage Manager)’s Arena Stage credits include Indecent, The Great Society, The Pajama Game, Smart People, Watch on the Rhine, Carousel, The Year of Magical Thinking starring Kathleen Turner, Born for This, All the Way, Sweat, Destiny of Desire, The Blood Quilt, Our War, The Shoplifters, Smokey Joe’s Café, Mother Courage and Her Children starring Kathleen Turner, Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life, Good People, Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins starring Kathleen Turner, The Normal Heart, Red, Ruined, every tongue confess starring Phylicia Rashad, Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies, Looped starring Valerie Harper, Next to Normal starring Alice Ripley, Awake and Sing! and The Goat, or Who is Sylvia. Additional regional credits at the Kennedy Center, Roundabout Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage and Signature Theatre. Thanks to his family for all their support.
MARNE ANDERSON (Assistant Stage Manager) is thrilled for her 10th season at Arena Stage after starting as an Allen Lee Hughes Fellow in 2009. Some highlights include The Heiress, Indecent, Dave, Two Trains Running, The Great Society, Nina Simone: Four Women, A Raisin in the Sun, Moby Dick, All the Way, Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End, King Hedley II, Five Guys Named Moe, Mother Courage and Her Children, The Mountaintop, Metamorphoses, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Arabian Nights and Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.
A program PDF will be added when available.