Quick Silver Theater Company (QSTC) presented a staged reading of Pearl Cleage’s latest play Angry, Raucous and Shamelessly Gorgeous, featuring Crystal Fox (A Fall from Grace, “Big Little Lies,” Burden opposite Forrest Whittaker, “The Haves and Have Nots”) as Anna Campbell, Tony nominee and QSTC company member Pascale Armand (Eclipsed) as Precious Pete Watson, Tony nominee Brenda Braxton (Smokey Joe’s Café) as Kate Hughes and Two-time Audelco Award winner Marjorie L. Johnson (Coleman Domingo’s-Dot) as Betty Samson, at the National Black Theatre, 2031 125th Street & National Black Theatre Way (5th Avenue) in New York on February 20.
‘Champagne and Pearl,’ an evening in celebration of Pearl Cleage, began with a cocktail reception which featured scrumptious red velvet and pearl cupcakes by Stanley Wayne Mathis and three berry pies generously donated from The Little Pie Company.
Crystal Dickinson, who directed the first production of A Song for Coretta (which premiered at Spelman College) and who considers Ms. Cleage as one her mentors, introduced the program which included a blessing by Nafisa Sharriff; video shoutouts from Dominique Morisseau, Simone Missick and Kenny Leon; and the reading in celebration of Ms. Cleage’s work as a playwright for 25 years.
Quick Silver Theater Company Founder & Artistic Producer Tyrone Mitchell Henderson first met Pearl Cleage during the 1995 Huntington Theater Company’s production of Blues for an Alabama Sky, directed by Kenny Leon, where he played Guy Jacobs opposite Phylicia Rashad as Angel. In 2015, Henderson reprised the role opposite Crystal Fox in the Alliance Theatre’s 2015 revival, directed by Susan Booth.
Angry, Raucous and Shamelessly Gorgeous synopsis: A lifetime ago, actress Anna Campbell and director Betty Samson ignited a major theatrical controversy with a performance of scenes from August Wilson’s Fences that came to be known forever after as Naked Wilson. To escape the critics, Anna and Betty accepted what they thought would be a temporary job in Amsterdam. Twenty-five years later the women receive an invitation to return to the states where the infamous piece will open a women’s theatre festival that promises to be ‘angry, raucous, and shamelessly gorgeous.’
Pearl Cleage is an Atlanta-based writer whose works include three novels, What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day (Avon Books, 1997), I Wish I Had A Red Dress (Morrow/Avon, 2001) and Some Things I Never Thought I’d Do (Ballantine/One World, August, 2003;) a dozen plays including Flyin’ West, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Hospice and Bourbon at the Border; two books of essays, Mad at Miles: A Black Woman’s Guide to Truth and Deals With the Devil and Other Reasons to Riot; and a book of short fiction, The Brass Bed and Other Stories (Third World Press). She is also a performance artist, collaborating frequently with her husband Zaron W. Burnett, Jr. under the title Live at Club Zebra. The two have performed sold out shows at both the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and The National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia.
She is a frequent contributor to anthologies and has been featured recently in Proverbs for the People, Contemporary African American Fiction, edited by Tracy Price-Thompson and TaRessa Stovall and in Mending the World, Stories of Family by Contemporary Black Writers, edited by Rosemarie Robotham.
Pearl’s play, Blues for an Alabama Sky, is currently having its New York premiere as part of Keen Company’s 2020 season directed by La Williams.
Founded in 2014, QSTC is a collective of thirteen artists dedicated to amplifying the collective voice, individual potential, the overall presence of people of color, women and other marginalized groups within the American theatrical landscape.
For more information visit www.QuickSilverTheater.com.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the filmsWolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young which will be screened at the inaugural San Francisco Chinatown Community Film Festival at Clarion Performing Arts Center on March 22. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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