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Cast Announced for August Wilson Rep at Cygnet Theatre

By   /  August 18, 2016  /  No Comments


San Diego, CA – This fall, Cygnet Theatre will present the San Diego artistic debut of Washington D.C. Director Jennifer L. Nelson. Nelson, who will direct the upcoming Season XIV productions of August Wilson’s Seven Guitars and King Hedley II was in San Diego recently to audition and cast the actors – each playing two roles.

These two San Diego Premiere productions, presented in rotating repertory, continue Cygnet’s commitment to staging all ten plays in Wilson’s Century Cycle that examines African American life in the United States decade by decade, during the twentieth century.

Photo by Fern Seiden
Jennifer L. Nelson
Photo by Fern Seiden.
“In casting, I look for actors with enough readily available versatility to be able to be adept at switching characters expeditiously,” explained Nelson, who has worked for more than 40 years as an actor, playwright, administrator, professor and director. “These two plays give a unique view of two generations of the same family. It’s an exciting challenge to think of how to mine the characters and contexts for continuity of familial traits,” she added. Nelson will be heading back to DC on September 16 and freelance director Lydia Fort will take the helm as Associate Director.
Not only do the actors have to embrace two roles, they need to be adept at switching eras. Seven Guitars takes place in the 1940s while King Hedley II is set in the 1980s. The cast of seven versatile actors includes several Cygnet Theatre and August Wilson veterans, as well as some new to the Cygnet stage.
Ro Boddie, whose powerful performance in Stupid F**king Bird last season had critics raving, will return to the stage in Old Town to portray Floyd/Mister. He received a San Diego Critics Circle Award for his stirring portrayal of Martin Luther King in Blueprints to Freedom(La Jolla Playhouse). Joining him are several veterans of Cygnet Theatre and past stagings of Wilson’s Century Cycle. San Diego native Laurence Brown (Piano Lesson, Gem of the Ocean, A Raisin in the Sun, Motherf**ker with the Hat), Grandison Phelps III (Piano Lesson, Fences, Gem of the Ocean) and Antonio TJ Johnson (Piano Lesson, Gem of the Ocean, Fences) appeared together several times. In addition, Johnson has appeared locally in his self-penned one-man show, Walking in the Shadow of August Wilson. This Cygnet Theatre outreach presentation has toured area schools, museums and military bases. 
After a successful Off-Broadway run, Critics Circle Award Winner Yolanda Franklin (Our Town), returns to San Diego and Cygnet Theatre to play Vera/Tonya. Making her Cygnet Theatre debut is author and actress Milena Phillips. Rounding out the cast is Yvonne as Young Ruby.

The production team features costume design by Veronica Murphy, set design by Sean Fanning, lighting design by R. Craig Wolf, sound design by Melanie Chen and properties design by Syd Stevens. Craig Campbell will stage manage.

Performances are September 28 – November 6. Show times are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays at 8:00pm, Saturdays at 3:00pm, and 8:00pm, and Sundays at 2:00pm and 7:00pm.                  
For more information regarding tickets, please contact the box office at 619-337-1525 or visit www.cygnettheatre.com. Tickets may be purchased in person at the box office located at 4040 Twiggs Street. Discounts are available for students, active-duty military, seniors and groups of ten or more.

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  • Published: 2 years ago on August 18, 2016
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