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FRONT PORCH ARTS COLLECTIVE AND THE HUNTINGTON COLLABORATE ON JOYFUL NEW PLAY K-I-S-S-I-N-G

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

 

CONTACT:  

Gabrielle Jaques, Publicist  

gjaques@huntingtontheatre.org 

617-273-1520 

 

PHOTOS available for download here 

 

Members of the press, RSVP here 

  

FRONT PORCH ARTS COLLECTIVE AND THE HUNTINGTON

COLLABORATE ON JOYFUL NEW PLAY K-I-S-S-I-N-G  

 This highly anticipated co-production presents a heart-opening story  centering love, coming of age, and Black joy 

 

(BOSTON) – Front Porch Arts Collective and The Huntington announce the cast and creative team of K-I-S-S-I-N-G, their co-production of the world premiere play written by Massachusetts playwright and Huntington Playwriting Fellow Lenelle Moïse and directed by The Porch’s Co-Producing Artistic Director Dawn M. Simmons. Front Porch Arts Collective is in residence at The Huntington as part of a multi-year strategic partnership. The production runs from March 3 – April 2, 2023 at The Huntington’s Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA with digital access to the filmed performance available until April 16, 2023 

 

K-I-S-S-I-N-G follows high school student Lala as she makes fine art on the back of pizza boxes. A sweet and sticky summer inspires her to romance Dani, a budding feminist – and Albert, his smooth-talking twin – in this heart-opening story for fans of David Bowie, bell hooks, and fireworks by the Charles. 

 

Award-winning poet, playwright, screenwriter, and performer Lenelle Moïse (pronounced Len-EL Moy-EEZ) grew up in Cambridge and is the former poet laureate of Northampton where she currently resides. Her writings and performances have been praised for their passion, musicality, and insight; Time Out New York says, “Moïse writes on subjects from race and class struggles to love and feminist-fueled anger, her verses tumbling out in a delivery that’s like smooth notes of jazz.” Her book of verse and prose, Haiti Glass, moves deftly between growing up as a Haitian immigrant in the suburbs of Boston, to bearing witness to brutality and catastrophe, to intellectual, playful explorations of pop culture enigmas like Michael Jackson and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The New York Times called her poetry full of “fierce passion” and The Lambda Literary Review described her words as “poetry to be savored, then devoured, then shared.” 

 

“I was inspired by rom-coms, humid summers, mixtapes, and public displays of affection,” says playwright Lenelle Moïse. “K-I-S-S-I-N-G is an intentionally romantic, funny, and tender story. Here, pleasure takes center stage… I think of [the play] as a date-night for revolutionary thinkers. Black love-lives matter, too! I became a storyteller because I am interested in empathy. With this show, I’m inviting the audience to empathize with young people as they explore romance, sexuality, and dignity. It’s a whole vibe!” 

 

“Lenelle Moïse has created a love letter to Boston, to Cambridge, to love, and to Black joy,” says director Dawn M. Simmons. “The story and its characters wear their hearts on their sleeve, and we hope people will leave the theatre caught up in the love.”  

 

Originally commissioned by the Clark University Visual and Performing Arts Department, The Huntington included K-I-S-S-I-N-G in its Summer Workshop reading series in 2016. 

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS 

 

Lenelle Moïse she/her (Playwright) was a Huntington Theatre Company Playwriting Fellow, a Next Voices Fellow at New Repertory Theatre, and a 2018 Playwright-in-Residence at Ithaca College Theatre Arts. Her Ruby Prize winning comedy, Merit, was featured on the 2016 Kilroys List. In 2008, the Culture Project launched an Off Broadway production of Expatriate, Lenelle’s critically acclaimed two-woman show with all-vocal music. Her other plays include The Many Faces of Nia, Matermorphosis, Little Griot, Spilling Venus,Cornered in the Dark, and Purple. Lenelle earned an MFA in playwriting from Smith College. As an actor, she co-starred with Karla Mosley in Expatriate, and appeared in the Off Broadway production of Rebel Voices, a play based on Howard Zinn’s Voices of a People’s History of the United States. 

 

Dawn M. Simmons she/her (Director) is a director, playwright, administrator, cultural consultant, and co-founder of Front Porch Arts Collective. She has worked regionally with JAG Productions, Play on Shakespeare, The Hangar Theatre, and WAM Theatre. Locally she has worked with Central Square Theater, New Repertory Theatre, Gloucester Stage Company, Lyric Stage Company, Greater Boston Stage Company, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, SpeakEasy Stage, New Repertory Theatre, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Bad Habit Productions, New Exhibition Room, Boston Public Works, Fresh Ink Theatre, The Theater Offensive, Our Place Theatre Project, and Fort Point Theatre Channel. Dawn also a co-founder of New Exhibition Room with A. Nora Long, a co-director with Arts Connect International, and proud member of StageSource. 

The cast of K-I-S-S-I-N-G includes: 

Regan Sims (she/her) as Lala, a budding teen artist with a talent for drawing who looks after her little brother. Credits include Bitter Greens (59E59) and Three Sisters (Two River Theatre). 

 Sharmarke Yusuf (he/him) as Dani, a sensitive and smart high school senior referred to as “a walking Wikipedia” and who is interested in Lala. Credits include The Three Musketeers (Front Porch Arts Collective) and Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine (Lyric Stage Company). 

 Ivan Cecil Walks (he/him) as Albert, Dani’s smooth-talking twin brother who is also interested in Lala and can dance. Credits include Passing Strange (Moonbox Productions) and Winter’s Tale (Actors’ Shakespeare Project). 

 Patrese D. McClain (she/her) as Dot, Lala’s mother, a person you’d want to paint. Credits include Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (The Huntington) and the Broadway tour of Jitney. 

TBD as Jack, Lala’s hardworking father. Credits include TBD.

Bobby Cius (he/him) as Neighbor (and u/s Dani & Albert), a local eavesdropper with a green thumb. Credits include Pass Over (SpeakEasy Stage) and The Three Musketeers (Greater Boston Stage Company). 

 Understudies include Sandra Seoane-Serí and Thomika Bridwell. 

The creative team for K-I-S-S-I-N-G includes scenic design by Jason Ardizzone-West (The Bluest Eye at The Huntington), costume design by Dominique Fawn Hill (Fat Ham on Broadway), lighting design by Jorge Arroyo (Whisper House at The Civilians), sound design by Anna Drummond (“Dream Boston: 3 Miles” at The Huntington), and projections design by Yee Eun Nam (The Fall of the House of Usher at Boston Lyric Opera) and Hannah Tran (Long Day’s Journey into Night on Audible). The dramaturg is Charles Haugland. The production stage manager is Lauren J. Burke, and the stage manager is Kevin Schlagle. 

WHEN 

In-person performances: March 3 – April 2, 2023 

Select Evenings: Tues. – Thurs. at 7:30pm; Fri. – Sat. at 8pm; select Sun. at 7pm 

Matinees: Select Wed., Sat., and Sun. at 2pm 

Days and times vary; see complete schedule above. 

Digital: Available March 27 – April 16, 2023 

 Anticipated running time: 2 hours including one intermission  

Press Opening: Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at 7pm (RSVP here) 

 

WHERE 

The Huntington/Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 

527 Tremont Street, South End, Boston. 

 

 TICKETS 

Tickets to in-person performances and to a digital recording of the performance start at $25. Season ticket packages and FlexPasses are also now on sale: 

  • online at huntingtontheatre.org 
  • by phone at 617-266-0800;  
  • or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, South End, Boston 

Select discounts apply: 

  • $10 off: season ticket holders 
  • $30 “35 Below” tickets for patrons 35 years old and younger (valid ID required) 
  • $20 student and military tickets (valid ID required) 

 

ACCESS PERFORMANCES FOR K-I-S-S-I-N-G 

Tickets are $20 for each patron and their guests. To reserve tickets please email access@huntingtontheatre.org, call ticketing services at 617-266-0800, or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, South End, Boston. Accessible performances are supported in part by the Liberty Mutual Foundation. 

 

OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Tuesday, March 28 at 7:30pm. The Huntington offers open captioning at designated performances for any patron who benefits from having the text of spoken dialogue visible in time with the play. 

 

ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE: Friday, March 31 at 8pm. The Huntington offers American Sign Language interpretation at designated performances for patrons who are Deaf or hard of hearing. 

 

AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday, April 1 at 2pm. The Huntington offers audio description for patrons who are blind or low-vision at designated performances. Please visit huntingtontheatre.org/visit/accessibility for information. 

 

Large Print and Braille Programs will also be available for patrons at performances. 

 

DIGITAL INSURANCE 

If patrons ever feel as if they would rather not see K-I-S-S-I-N-G in person – for any reason – they can easily exchange their in-person tickets for a home viewing opportunity of a specially recorded version of this play. OR, they can purchase tickets to the digital version of K-I-S-S-I-N-G in advance. 

 

The digital recording of K-I-S-S-I-N-G will be available March 27 – April 16, 2023. 

 

K-I-S-S-I-N-G COVID POLICY 

Patrons are encouraged to wear masks at the Calderwood Pavilion, though mask wearing may not be required. COVID protocols will be announced to ticket holders in advance of the performance. 

 The Huntington asks that any patron experiencing COVID symptoms stay home and contact ticketing services for more information about exchanges. 

  

MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA 

Any members of the media who are interested in speaking with the artists of K-I-S-S-I-N-G, please contact Publicist Gabrielle Jaques at gjaques@huntingtontheatre.org or 617-273-1520. 

Press night for critics is Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at 7pm. PleaseRSVP here for press night or other available performances. 

Production photos will be available for download online, and b-roll footage can be requested. 

 

PHOTOS available for download here 

 

ABOUT FRONT PORCH ARTS COLLECTIVE 

Front Porch Arts Collective is a Black theatre company committed to advancing racial equity in Boston through theatre. Now in residence with The Huntington, Front Porch Arts Collective seeks to create a place where perspectives and experiences of Black people are no longer novelty, but an integral part of the global conversation, and to build programs that make the entire theatrical landscape more reflect the diversity of the city. By creating an atmosphere where people see the world through differing experiences, we hope to foster greater understanding of the human condition that ultimately contributes to tolerance and empathy in our world. Our namesake signifies a communal spirit, inspiring us to serve communities of color and produce art that is inclusive of all communities and welcoming to all audiences, to inspire a more tolerant and inclusive Boston. Our core values are cultural inclusion, community advancement, and impactful legacy. To learn more about The Porch, visit frontporcharts.org. 

 

  

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON  

Celebrating 40 years of outstanding theatre, The Huntington is Boston’s theatrical commons and leading professional theatre company. On our stages and throughout our city, we share enduring and untold stories that spark the imagination of audiences and artists and amplify the wide range of voices in our community. Committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, The Huntington provides life-changing opportunities for students through its robust education and community programs, is a national leader in the development of playwrights and new plays, acts as the host organization for a multi-year residency of Front Porch Arts Collective, a Black theatre company based in Boston, and serves the local arts community through our operation of The Huntington Calderwood/BCA. Under the leadership of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Managing Director Michael Maso, The Huntington reopened the historic Huntington Theatre this fall after its transformational renovation. A storied venue with a bold vision for the future, the renovation and building project will allow us to innovatively expand our services to audiences, artists, and the community for generations to come. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org. 

 

 

 

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