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CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM ANNOUNCED FOR THE WORLD PREMIERE OF THE PURISTS AT HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY

(BOSTON) – Huntington Theatre Company announced today the cast and creative team for the world premiere production of The Purists. Written by new voice Dan McCabe and directed by the recently Emmy Award-nominated, Tony and Grammy Award winner Billy Porter (Kinky Boots, “Pose” on FX), The Purists will begin performances at the South End/Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA (527 Tremont St., Boston) on Friday, August 30, 2019 and will run through Sunday, September 29, 2019. The press opening will be Wednesday, September 11.  Tickets are now on sale to the general public and can be purchased by visiting huntingtontheatre.org.

A thrilling world premiere, The Purists brings Tony and Grammy Award winner Billy Porter (director of Topdog/Underdog and The Colored Museum at the Huntington) back to the Huntington to direct this soaring new play by Dan McCabe. A former rapper, a DJ, and a showtunes-loving telesales director have become an unlikely group who hang out and spar about music on a stoop in Queens. But, when an impromptu rap battle erupts between two younger female emcees, everything gets questioned. With raw emotion and uproarious humor, The Purists asks, what is friendship? How can we embrace new ideas? And what does it mean to be wholly yourself?

Broadway’s J. Bernard Calloway (Tony Award-winning Memphis and All the Way with Bryan Cranston) makes his Huntington Theatre Company debut as “Mr. Bugz,” a popular New York City radio personality and DJ with a complicated past. Also making his Huntington debut, Morocco Omari (FOX’s “Empire,” Showtime’s “Homeland”) has been cast as “Lamont,” an MC just beyond his glory days. Rounding out this dubious trio is recent SAG Award winner John Scurti (Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” FX’s “Rescue Me”) as the showtune-loving, theatre telesales director “Gerry,” making not only  his Huntington Theatre Company debut, but also his professional stage debut. This September, Scurti can be seen in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman on Netflix which will debut at this year’s New York Film Festival, and Bad Education with Hugh Jackman which will debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. Also joining the cast is Izzie Steele (Atlantic Theater Company’s Cloud Nine, BBC’s “Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency”) as “Nancy” and Analisa Velez (Atlantic Theater Company’s Tell Hector I Miss Him) as “Val.”

The creative team includes Tony Award-winning scenic designer Clint Ramos (Once on This Island, Six Degrees of Separation with Allison Janney, and Sunday in the Park with George with Jake Gyllenhaal on Broadway) and sound design by internationally acclaimed Tony Award-winning designer Leon Rothenberg (The Nance, Hillary and Clinton, The Waverly Gallery, The Boys in the Band on Broadway) whose Huntington credits include Choice and Topdog/Underdog.

The Purists will also include costume design by award-winning designer Kara Harmon (The Niceties and A Guide for the Homesick at the Huntington) and lighting design by Driscoll Otto (The Colored Museum and Topdog/Underdog at the Huntington).  Music is by Michael “Lofey” Sandlofer who in addition to producing and arranging Billy Porter’s 2017 album Billy Porter Presents: The Soul of Richard Rodgers, has written music for hip hop artists Foxy Brown, Memphis Bleek, Scarface, and others. The stage manager is Kevin Schlagle, and the assistant stage manager is Sam Layco.

"The Purists will mark our third collaboration with my friend Billy Porter, who brings as much intelligence, verve, and point of view to direction as he does to all his work,” says Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois. “I am thrilled that he will team with playwright Dan McCabe, who performed as an actor in my production of Sons of the Prophet, and is now making his professional debut as a writer. Dan has a unique, brilliant ear for comedy, and has created a cast of characters who you will want to get to know."

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:  

Dan McCabe (Playwright) is a recent graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellowship at The Juilliard School. His plays have been produced and developed at The New Group, LAByrinth Theatre Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, The Flea Theater, The Juilliard School, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Laguardia College, Twilight Theater Company, and more. His plays include The Purists, Christina Martinez, and The Magic Kingdom, among others. He wrote eight episodes of the hit serial Me, My Girl, and My Grandpa Shmulee for #serials at The Flea Theater and seven short plays for Rule of 7x7 at The Tank. He previously appeared at the Huntington in the cast of Sons of the Prophet, by Stephen Karam and directed by Peter DuBois.

Billy Porter (Director) is a Tony and Grammy Award-winning, Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated, actor, singer, director, composer, and playwright from Pittsburgh, PA.

His electric portrayal of Pray Tell in FX’s breakthrough series Pose,” earned him Emmy Award,  Golden Globe, and Critics’ Choice Award nominations. On screen, Porter recently appeared on “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” and Baz Luhrman’s “The Get Down” on Netflix. Under the direction of Barry Levinson, Porter starred in The Humbling alongside Al Pacino and Greta Gerwig. His other film credits include Noel, The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy, Intern, Anastasia, and Twisted.

A veteran of the theatre, Porter recently reprised his role as Lola in the smash hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots, for which he won the 2013 Drama Desk and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. His other Broadway acting credits include the Tony nominated Broadway musical, Shuffle Along, directed by George C. Wolfe, Miss SaigonFive Guys Named MoeGreaseSmokey Joe’s Café, and Dreamgirls (20th anniversary Broadway concert and LA Ovation Award). His Off Broadway and regional credits include Angels in America (Signature Theater), Romance in Hard TimesThe Merchant of VeniceHouse of Lear, and Radiant Baby (The Public Theater), Birdie Blue (Second Stage), Angels in America (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Going Native (The Long Wharf), Jelly’s Last Jam (Alliance), Topdog/Underdog (City Theatre), King Lear (Exit, Pursued By A Bear), Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World (original cast), Jesus Christ SuperstarAntigoneA Chorus Line, and Chicago. His one-man show Ghetto Superstar: The Man That I Am, debuted at The Public Theater in conjunction with City Theatre of Pittsburgh and was nominated for a 2005 GLAAD Media Award. Porter was also named “Pittsburgh’s Performer of the Year 2003-2004” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

As a director, Porter’s work includes the revivals of George C. Wolfe’s play The Colored Museum and Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog / Underdog at the Huntington Theatre Company. Porter also has directed a critically acclaimed recreation of The Wiz and conceived a musical revue entitled Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Music of Stevie Wonder, which starred Chaka Khan and ran at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas in the spring of 2002. Additionally, Porter conceived and directed Being Alive, which made its world premiere in the summer of 2007 at The Westport Country Playhouse and immediately transferred to The Philadelphia Theatre Company, inaugurating their new Suzanne Roberts Theatre. His additional directing credits include Twilight in Manchego, Once on this Island (NAACP Theatre Award Winner), The Soul of Richard Rodgers, Five Guys Named Moe, Altar BoyzRent (Associate Director, Off Broadway revival) and Wicked Summer Nights Concert Series. Porter made his London directorial debut in the fall of 2009 with Olivier Award nominee Patina Miller at Live in the Delfont Room. Primary Stages presented the highly successful world premiere of his play While I Yet Live Off Broadway at the Duke on 42nd Street. 

 

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY

The Huntington Theatre Company is Boston’s leading professional theatre and one of the region’s premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Huntington brings together superb local and national talent and produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions. The Huntington 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 has long been an anchor cultural institution of Huntington Avenue, the Avenue of the Arts, and will remain so on a permanent basis with plans to convert the Huntington Avenue Theatre into a first-rate, modern venue with expanded services to audiences, artists, and the community. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org

 

WHEN

August 30 – September 29, 2019

              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 below.

Press Opening: Wednesday, September 11 @ 7pm; RSVP online.

 

WHERE

South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, Boston

 

TICKETS

 Single tickets starting at $25 and FlexPasses are on sale:

  • online at huntingtontheatre.org;
  • by phone at 617 266 0800; or
  • in person at Huntington Avenue Theatre Ticketing Services, 264 Huntington Ave. and the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Box Office, 527 Tremont St. in Boston’s South End.

Select discounts apply:

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

 

SPECIAL EVENTS IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE PURISTS:


POST-SHOW AUDIENCE CONVERSATIONS
After select Fri. – Sun. evening, Wed. matinee, Sat. matinee, and Sun. matinee performances throughout the season
An opportunity for audience members to discuss what they have just seen. Led by members of the Huntington staff.

COMMUNITY MEMBERSHIP RECEPTION  
Thursday, September 5 before the 7:30PM performance

A pre-show reception with refreshments for members of the Huntington Community Membership Initiative. Community Membership is an initiative designed to reduce the cost barrier of attending live theatre for those with limited income and to diversify the Huntington's audience so it looks more like the city of Boston. Members can purchase best-available tickets to any performance without restriction for just $20. Membership is free and available through partnerships with agencies and organizations that serve limited-income populations. 

35 BELOW FALL CRAWL

Saturday, September 7 at 4:30pm

Join Huntington Theatre Company 35 Below members for a Fall Crawl through the South End on Saturday, September 7, from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. The group meets around 4:30pm at the Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont Street, following the 2pm performance of The Purists, then heads to 3 different bars/restaurants to sample the best of what the South End has to offer. Participants can attend the 2pm or 8pm performance of The Purists, or are welcome to join for any portion of the crawl. It’s a fun networking opportunity to meet up with people who are interested in the arts (and restaurants!)

HUMANITIES FORUM
Sunday, September 15 after the 2pm performance. 

Explore the context and significance of The Purists with a leading expert following the 2pm performance on September 15.

 

ACTORS FORUMS
Thursday, September 19 after the 7:30pm performance

Wednesday, September 25 after the 2pm performance
Friday, September 27 after the 10am performance (student matinee)

Meet participating members of the cast of The Purists and ask them your questions at the Actors Forum, following the performance.

STUDENT MATINEE
Friday, September 27 at 10am

Recommended for students in grades 7–12. Tickets: $15. Includes pre-show in-school visit, curriculum guide, post-show Actors Forum, and Dramatic Returns card for each student. Call 617 273 1558 for reservations and more information.

AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE-INTERPRETED (ASL) PERFORMANCES
Friday, September 27 at 10am (student matinee)
Friday, September 27 at 8pm

The Huntington Theatre Company offers ASL interpretation for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing at designated performances.

Seating for each ASL-interpreted performance is located in the orchestra, house left. Tickets are $20 for each deaf patron and an additional $20 ticket can be purchased for a guest. To reserve tickets, please contact the Director of Education Meg O’Brien at mobrien@huntingtontheatre.org.

AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCES
Friday, September 27 at 10am (student matinee)
Saturday, September 28 at 2pm

The Huntington Theatre Company offers audio description for patrons who are blind or low-vision at designated performances. Tickets are $20 for each blind or low-vision patron and an additional $20 ticket can be purchased for a guest. To reserve tickets, please contact the Director of Education, Meg O’ Brien at mobrien@huntingtontheatre.org.

 

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