Griffin Theatre Company is pleased to launch its 32nd season with the Midwest premiere of Lynn Nottage’s drama Mlima’s Tale directed by Jerrell L. Henderson, playing February 15 – March 21, 2020 on Raven Theatre’s Schwartz Stage, 6157 N. Clark St. in Chicago. Tickets go on sale Monday, January 20 at www.griffintheatre.com or by calling (773) 338-2177. The press opening is Sunday, February 23 at 7 pm.
Mlima’s Tale features Ben Chang, David Goodloe, Sarah Lo, Lewon Johns, Colin McShane, Chris Pow and Michael Turrentine.
Taking us on a journey from the heart of Africa and around the world, MLIMA'S TALE is the story of Mlima, a magnificent elephant trapped in the clandestine international ivory market. Following a trail of greed and desire as old as trade itself, Mlima leads us through memory and fear, history and tradition, want and need, and reveals the surprising and complicated deals that connect us all. Nottage, who won the Pultizer Prize for her plays Ruined and Sweat, brings us a powerful story that makes us question whether unconditional virtue is nonexistent within the international system of economic power, culture and politics.
The production team includes Joy Ahn (scenic design), Caitlin McLeod (costume design), Jared Gooding (lighting design), L.J. Luthinger (sound design), Jacinda Ratcliffe (movement design), Ahmed Al-Hassan and Ryonn Gloster (assistant directors), Catherine Miller (casting director), Jonathan Mayo (production manager), Brian Sprague (technical director) and Sara Beaman (stage manager).
Title: Mlima’s Tale
Playwright: Lynn Nottage
Director: Jerrell L. Henderson
Cast (in alphabetical order): Ben Chang (Ensemble), David Goodloe (Mlima), Sarah Lo (Ensemble), Lewon Johns (Ensemble), Colin McShane, (Ensemble), Chris Pow (Ensemble) and Michael Turrentine (Ensemble).
Location: Raven Theatre’s Schwartz Stage, 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Saturday, February 15 at 7:30p m, Sunday, February 16 at 3 pm, Thursday, February 20 at 7:30 pm, Friday, February 21 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, February 22 at 7:30 pm
Press performance: Sunday, February 23 at 7 pm
Regular run: Thursday, February 27 – Saturday, March 21, 2020
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will be an added performance on Monday, March 16 at 7:30 pm.
Tickets: Previews $28. Regular run $38. Students, seniors & veterans $33 ($23 previews). Group discount are available for groups of ten or more. Tickets go on sale Monday, January 20 at www.griffintheatre.com or by calling (773) 338-2177.
About the Artists
Lynn Nottage (Playwright) is a playwright and a screenwriter. She is the first, and remains the only, woman to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice. Her plays have been produced widely in the United States and throughout the world. In the spring of 2017, her play Sweat (Pulitzer Prize, Obie Award, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Tony Nomination, Drama Desk Nomination) moved to Broadway after a sold-out run at The Public Theater. It premiered and was commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival American Revolutions History Cycle/Arena Stage. Inspired by her research on Sweat, Nottage developed This is Reading, a performance installation based on two years of interviews, at the Franklin Street, Reading Railroad Station in Reading, PA in July 2017. Other plays include Floyd’s (Guthrie Theater), Mlima’s Tale (Public Theater), By The Way, Meet Vera Stark (Lilly Award, Drama Desk Nomination), Ruined (Pulitzer Prize, OBIE, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Audelco, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award); Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Play); Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (OBIE Award); Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por’knockers and POOF! Nottage recently wrote the book for the world premiere musical adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd's novel The Secret Life of Bees, with music by Duncan Sheik and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead. It premiered at the Atlantic Theatre Company in May 2019, directed by Sam Gold. Upcoming work includes an opera adaptation of her play Intimate Apparel composed by Ricky Ian Gordon, commissioned by The Met/Lincoln Center Theater. It will premiere at Lincoln Center in spring 2020. She is also currently writing the book to the upcoming musical MJ, featuring the music of Michael Jackson, premiering on Broadway in summer 2020. www.lynnnottage.net
Jerrell Henderson (Director) is a director, puppeteer and an Assistant Professor of Performance Studies at Chicago State University. Recent directing credits include Thurgood with Walnut Street Theatre: Studio 3, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show with Chicago Children’s Theatre, The River with BoHo Theatre and Untitled with Inis Nua Theatre (Barrymore Award nomination for Outstanding Direction of a Play). Other credits include Something Like A War: A New Musical with 11th Hour Theatre and Salt Pepper Ketchup with Passage and InterAct Theatre. His shadow play adaptation, 3 American Myths: A Riff in Shadow & Light in 3 Rhythmic Movements was a finalist for a 2019 Jim Henson Foundation Grant. As an assistant director, Jerrell has worked with The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, and Lookingglass Theatre. He has taught and directed at several institutions including Roosevelt University, Illinois State University, Northwestern University, The University of the Arts and Actor’s Training Center. He received a BA in Theatre Arts from The Pennsylvania State University, an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University, is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab (2012) and is an Artistic Associate of Black Lives Black Words. www.jerrell-henderson.com
Premiere Production Sponsor: Barbara Kraetsch. Additional production support: Claire Conley, Linda Cunningham, James Ellis, Terry Kozlowski, Reno and Julie Novak and Anne Scholhamer.
Premiere Season Sponsors: Michael & Mona Heath and Jeff Graves @Properties Realtor. Additional season support: Don Kehne and Pamela Monaco.
The Griffin Theatre Company is a Blue Star Theater and is proud to support our military enlisted and veterans.
About Griffin Theatre Company
Established in 1988. the mission of the Griffin Theatre Company is to create extraordinary and meaningful theatrical experiences for both children and adults by building bridges of understanding between generations that instill in its audience an appreciation of the performing arts. Through artistic collaboration the Griffin Theatre Company produces literary adaptations, original work and classic plays that challenge and inspire, with wit, style and compassion for the audience.
The Griffin Theatre Company is the recipient of 115 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations for theater excellence in Chicago. The Griffin was honored with four 2018 Jeff awards for Ragtime including Best Ensemble, Best Musical, Best Director-Musical and Best Performer in a Supporting Role-Musical. Additionally, the company was the repeat winner of the 2016 Jeff Award for Best Production of a Play for London Wall having won the same award in 2015 for its production of Men Should Weep.
The Griffin Theatre Company is partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.
For additional information, visit www.griffintheatre.com.
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