(BOSTON) – Huntington Theatre Company, SpeakEasy Stage Company, and the City of Boston’s Office of Arts, Tourism, and Special Events will collaborate to present Two Plays: One House: A Raisin in the Sun & Clybourne Park at Dorchester’s Strand Theatre on Wednesday, February 20 at 7pm. Hosted by Karen Holmes Ward, WCVB-TV’s Director of Public Affairs and Community Services and host and executive producer of “CityLine,” the evening will feature performances of scenes from each of the two plays and a panel conversation moderated by Ward with directors Liesl Tommy (A Raisin in the Sun) and M. Bevin O’Gara (Clybourne Park) about the issues of racism and gentrification raised in the plays. The evening is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are encouraged at huntingtontheatre.org/StrandRSVP.
Set in Chicago in the 1950s, the landmark A Raisin in the Sun depicts an African-American family whose struggle to achieve the American Dream leads them to purchase a house in a predominantly white neighborhood. Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, Clybourne Park picks up where Raisin leaves off. In the first act, nervous community leaders try to stop the sale of the home to the family from Raisin. The second act fast-forwards the action 50 years as a white couple that plans to demolish and rebuild the house faces parallel opposition from the now African-American neighborhood association.
“A Raisin in the Sun’s incredible legacy shines on Clybourne Park,” says Boston Mayor, the Honorable Thomas M. Menino. “These powerful plays explore themes such as racism, neighborhood identity, and the search for home in complex ways that resonate in our community today. I commend the Huntington Theatre Company and SpeakEasy Stage Company on this partnership to inspire meaningful discourse, and I look forward to welcoming them to the beautiful Strand Theatre for what promises to be a terrific evening.”
Two Plays: One House is the continuation of the Huntington’s longstanding tradition of bringing its work beyond its homes on the Avenue of the Arts and in the South End to Boston’s neighborhoods and communities, including past events at the Strand Theatre (Breath, Boom; 2003) Roxbury Community College (Gem of the Ocean, 2004; Radio Golf, 2006; Fences, 2009), and Hibernian Hall (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, 2012). The event also continues SpeakEasy Stage’s series of public forums to further discourse on important cultural matters. Past SpeakEasy events include panel discussions on the challenges of readjusting to society after imprisonment in conjunction with its production of The Motherf**cker with the Hat and the effects of mental illness on both patients and caregivers during Next to Normal.
SpeakEasy Stage Company’s production of Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris plays March 1 – 30 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Tickets and more information are available at speakeasystage.com/clybournepark.
The Huntington Theatre Company’s production of A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry plays March 8 – April 7 at the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre. Tickets and more information at huntingtontheatre.org/raisin.
Find more information on the event at huntingtontheatre.org/Strand or speakeasystage.com/Strand.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
M. Bevin O’Gara (Clybourne Park director) has previously directed For You for Me For You and Love Person (Company One), Matt and Ben (Central Square Theater), The Pain and the Itch (Company One, IRNE Award nomination for Best Director and Best Ensemble), Two Wives In India and Gary (Boston Playwrights Theatre, Elliot Norton Award nomination for Best Production), 2.5 Minute Ride (Downstage @ New Rep, IRNE Award nomination for Best Solo Performance), Othello and The Crucible (New Rep On Tour), Melancholy Play (Holland Productions), Bat Boy: The Musical (Metro Stage), Tattoo Girl, Painting You, and Artifacts (Williamstown Theatre Festival Workshop), and ANTI-KISS (3 Monkey’s Theatrical Productions). Other companies include New Repertory Theatre, the Gaiety Theatre of Dublin, and the Actor’s Center of Australia. Ms. O’Gara is associate producer at the Huntington Theatre Company. She has a BFA from Boston University in Theatre Studies.
Liesl Tommy (A Raisin in the Sun director) previously directed Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for the Huntington Theatre Company and Ruined for the Huntington/Berkeley Repertory Theatre/La Jolla Playhouse. Other credits include Peggy Pickett Sees the Face of God by Roland Schimmelpfennig (world premiere, Luminato Festival/Volcano Theatre); Ruined by Lynn Nottage (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Eclipsed by Danai Gurira (world premiere, Yale Repertory Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre); and Angela’s Mixtape by Eisa Davis (world premiere, Synchronicity Performance Group, New Georges). She was awarded the NEA/TCG Directors Grant and the New York Theatre Workshop Casting/Directing Fellowship and is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. She has also been a guest director and teacher at The Juilliard School, Trinity Rep/Brown University’s MFA Directing and Acting Program, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is a graduate of Newton North High School and a native of Cape Town, South Africa.
Karen Holmes Ward (Host) is the Director of Public Affairs and Community Services as well as host and executive producer of “CityLine,” WCVB-TV’s weekly magazine program which addresses the problems, concerns, and accomplishments of people of color living in Boston and its suburbs. “CityLine" was recognized as the recipient of the Associated Press Massachusetts/Rhode Island ‘Best’ Public Affairs program in 2008. Holmes Ward also oversees WCVB’s public service and community outreach efforts including the station’s work with Habitat for Humanity and “Extreme Makeover: My Hometown” and WCVB’s first-of-its-kind web-based initiative, Commonwealth 5, nominated for a National Emmy Award for the 2004/2005. A graduate of Boston University’s School of Public Communications (now COM), Holmes Ward has received numerous awards for her work in the community including the Boston Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Leaders Award; National Association of Black Journalists Region I Journalist of the Year; Big Sister of Greater Boston Achievement Award; Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts President’s Award; Women of Courage and Conviction Award from the Greater Boston Section National Council of Negro Women, Inc. Karen is a Board member of the Roxbury Comprehensive Community Health Center and a past Board President.
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY
Since its founding in 1982, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston’s leading theatre company. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current. Led by Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington creates award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development,
and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington is in residence at Boston University. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.
ABOUT THE MAYOR’S OFFICE OF ARTS, TOURISM & SPECIAL EVENTS
The Mayor's Office of Arts, Tourism & Special Events fosters the growth of the cultural community; promotes public participation in the arts and public celebrations; and advances cultural tourism in Boston. Learn more at cityofboston.gov/ARTS.
ABOUT SPEAKEASY STAGE COMPANY
Founded in 1992 by Producing Artistic Director Paul Daigneault, SpeakEasy Stage Company is Boston’s premier theater staging Boston premieres. Its mission is to connect, inspire, and challenge its audiences with the most socially-relevant theatrical premieres featuring the most talented artists in Boston. SpeakEasy’s mainstage is the forum for the Boston premieres of new musicals and plays, showcasing works never before produced in the area. In addition, the company contributes a unique artistic perspective to the Boston theatre community and creates a nurturing environment for artists, audiences, and arts administrators. Through its programs, SpeakEasy makes Boston's South End neighborhood an artistic and cultural destination, keeps vibrant, high-quality theatre thriving in Greater Boston, and provides jobs for locally-based actors, directors, designers, technicians, and administrators. speakeasystage.org.