Full Company Announced in West Coast Premiere of Seattle Rep’s
NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN
by Christina Ham
directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton
west coast premiere
directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton
west coast premiere
“Simmering and imperious” –The Washington Post
Seattle Rep today announced the complete casting for its highly anticipated west coast premiere production of Christina Ham’s Nina Simone: Four Women, a celebration of the life and journey of one of America’s most iconic singers and civil rights activists. When “The High Priestess of Soul” Nina Simone heard about the tragic bombing deaths of four young girls in an Alabama church in 1963, the songstress turned to her music as a means of expressing the country’s agony. In Nina Simone: Four Women, Ham uses Simone’s “Four Women” as the framework to explore Simone’s shift from artist to artist-activist through storytelling, debate, and music, immersing audiences in the complex harmony of protest. Nina Simone: Four Women is directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton and runs April 26 – June 2, 2019 (opening night is May 1) on the Bagley Wright stage. Single tickets are on sale now (starting at $17) and are available through the Seattle Rep Box Office at 206.443.2222 or online at SeattleRep.org.
Seattle-based theatre artist, filmmaker, and musician Shontina Vernon (ACT Theatre; Intiman Theatre) joins the cast in the title role of Nina Simone alongside Gregory and Footlight Award-winner Shaunyce Omaaar (The 5th Avenue Theatre, Village Theatre) as Sarah, Britney Simpson (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival; Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse) as Sephronia, and Porscha Shaw (Seattle Shakespeare Company) as Sweet Thing.
“It is a joy to be in the room with these artists,” director Valerie Curtis-Newton states. “We are all experiencing in its making exactly what we hope the audience will experience in viewing it – the discovery and celebration of the complexity and beauty of black women in the world. It is also a play about healing. Healing in order to join together to make a difference to confront the hostile world we face every day. It is a call to recognize those who came before us and to honor them by taking action.”
The creative team for Nina Simone: Four Women includes Jennifer Zeyl (Scenic Designer), Stephen Michael Newby (Music Director/Composer) L.B. Morse (Projection Designer), Matt Starritt (Sound Designer), Melanie Burgess (Costume Designer), and Dani Tirrell (Choreographer).
ABOUT CHRISTINA HAM (PLAYWRIGHT)
Christina Ham was named one of “The Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights of the 2018-19 Season” by American Theatre magazine. She is a two-time recipient of a McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting and a Jerome Fellowship from the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, She has received commissions from The Guthrie Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Kennedy Center, among many others. Her plays are published by Dramatic Publishing, PlayScripts, Inc., and Oberon Books. A graduate of the University of Southern California with a M.F.A. in Playwriting from The UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, she is a member of The Kilroys, an advocacy group fighting for gender balance on the American stage. She is currently a Playwright-in-Residence at Pillsbury House Theatre and writes on the new Amazon horror anthology series Them: Covenant. www.christinaham.com
ABOUT VALERIE CURTIS-NEWTON (DIRECTOR)
Currently the Head of Performance – Directing at the University of Washington School of Drama, Valerie also serves as the Founding Artistic Director for The Hansberry Project, a professional African American theatre lab. She has worked with theatre’s across the country including: The Guthrie Theatre, Playmakers Repertory Comany, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Intiman Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, The Mark Taper Forum, New York Theatre Workshop, Tacoma Actors’ Guild, Southern Repertory Theatre, Capitol Repertory Theatre among others.
Awards: 2016: Seattle Times Footlight Award (Best in Show) 2014: Stranger Genius Awards in Performance and the Crosscut Courage Award for Culture; 2012: Gypsy Award for Excellence in Direction 2001: Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s (SDCF) Gielgud Directing Fellowship 1997-1999: NEA/TCG Career Development Fellowship for Directors.
April 26 – June 2, 2019
Performance times: Tuesday-Sunday
Select Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday matinees at 2:00 p.m. and evening performances at 7:30 p.m. (no matinees during previews)
Opening Night: Wednesday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Seattle Repertory Theatre’s Bagley Wright Theatre, located at Seattle Center at the corner of Second Ave. and Mercer St., Seattle, Washington
Start at $17 – ON SALE NOW
Discounted tickets for groups of 10+ may be purchased by calling 206.443.2224.
For ticket reservations, call the Seattle Repertory Theatre Box Office at 206.443.2222 or toll-free at 877.900.9285, or go online at seattlerep.org
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About Seattle Repertory Theatre
Seattle Rep was founded in 1963 and is currently led by Artistic Director Braden Abraham and Managing Director Jeffrey Herrmann. One of America’s premier not-for-profit resident theatres, Seattle Repertory Theatre has achieved international renown for its consistently high production and artistic standards, and was awarded the 1990 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. With an emphasis on entertaining plays of true dramatic and literary worth, Seattle Rep produces a season of plays along with educational programs, new play workshops, and special presentations.
Producing Sponsors for Nina Simone: Four Women are the National Endowment for the Arts, the Nesholm Family Foundation, The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, Matthew Bergman & Kimberly Burnett, Leslie & Dale Chihuly, Joan Cremin, Maryanne Tagney & David Jones, and Alida and Christopher Latham. The Producing Associate for the production is Clark Nuber. Seattle Repertory Theatre’s 2018/2019 Season is sponsored in part by ArtsFund.