Tag: George C. Wolfe

“The HeLa Project” Exhibition Travels to NY, ATL to Honor Mortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Before Premiere of HBO Film

(image via wn.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Exhibition to Feature Artist Kadir Nelson and Poet Saul Williams.

HBO recently announced the official launch of “The HeLa Project,” a culturally-grounded, multi-media exhibition inspired by the highly-anticipated HBO film, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne, which will premiere on April 22. Directed by George C. Wolfethe film is based on Rebecca Skloot’s critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller of the same name.

The film tells the true story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line that ultimately led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs, changing countless lives and the face of medicine forever.

“The HeLa Project” is designed to celebrate Henrietta Lacks, the woman – to give her a voice and to humanize and recognize her. The exhibition features an original portrait by two-time Caldecott Honor Award winning artist Kadir Nelson and an original poem by Saul Williams. Additional art, curated by Lewis Long of Long Gallery Harlem, includes works by Derrick Adams, Zoe Buckman, Madeleine Hunt Ehrlich, Doreen Garner, and Tomashi Jackson.  The product of these elements, plus an educational, sculptural installation about the HeLa cells, all converge in this engaging experience.

(image vialewis museum.org)

The  exhibition debuted last week in Baltimore at the Reginald Lewis Museum, and  will run April 7th – April 9th in SoHo, New York (465 W. Broadway, Fri – Sat, 11am – 7pm, Sun 12pm – 5pm).

“The HeLa Project” will be making additional stops in Atlanta, GA on April 13th – April 16th at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Oprah Winfrey to Executive Produce and Star in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” for HBO Films

Oprah Winfrey (i) and Henrietta Lacks (r)
Oprah Winfrey (i) and Henrietta Lacks (r)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.comOprah Winfrey will star in the adaptation of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” for HBOFilms. Winfrey’s Harpo Films optioned Rebecca Skloot‘s 2010 best-seller years ago, and it with her commitment to star as well as executive produce, it will finally be produced this summer.  Skloot will serve as a co-executive producer. George C. Wolfe, who adapted the memoir, will also direct.

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” tells the true story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cells (HeLa cells) were used to create the first immortal human cell line, which helped scientists make unprecedented medical breakthroughs, including Jonas Salk’s development of the polio vaccine.

Told through the eyes of her daughter, Deborah Lacks, played by Winfrey, the film chronicles her search to learn about the mother she never knew and to understand how the unauthorized harvesting of Lacks’ cancerous cells in 1951 changed countless lives and the face of medicine forever.

Henrietta Lacks’ sons  Zakariyya Rahman and David Lacks, Jr. and granddaughter Jeri Lacksare will serve as consultants on the HBO project.

Tony Winner Audra McDonald Announces Broadway Return Alongside George C. Wolfe and Savion Glover for 2016 Musical “Shuffle Along”

Audra McDonald will return to Broadway in 2016, in collaboration with George C. Wolfe and Savion Glover.
Audra McDonald will return to Broadway in 2016, in collaboration with George C. Wolfe and Savion Glover. (© David Gordon)

Six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald will return to Broadway in spring 2016 in a new collaboration with Tony-winning director George C. Wolfe and Tony-winning choreographer Savion Glover. The collaboration is called Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Follows. The production begins previews March 14, 2016, at the Music Box Theatre, with opening night set for April 21.

McDonald will play Lottie Gee, the 1920s performer who appeared in the cast of Shuffle Along. This 1921 musical by Flournoy Miller, Aubrey Lyles, Eubie Blake, and Noble Sissle altered the face of Broadway in giving several black performers their first Broadway credits. The show helped launch the careers of Josephine Baker, Florence Mills, and Paul Robeson, among many others.

Ninety-five years later, this backstage musical will explore the creation of this now-forgotten show. Wolfe directs and pens the book, while Glover choreographs. It marks their first collaboration since their 1996 hit Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk. The production will have music supervision, arrangements, and orchestrations by Daryl Waters, scenic design by Santo Loquasto, costume design by Ann Roth, and lighting design by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer. Scott Rudin serves as producer.

Additional information about the production will be revealed in the coming months.

article by David Gordon via theatermania.com

Civil and Human Rights Museum to Open in Atlanta

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Portraits of rights activists at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. (Credit: Dustin Chambers for The New York Times)

ATLANTA — Far from his typical Broadway haunts, the director George C. Wolfe was walking through a construction site here this spring when, amid a cacophony of saws and drills, he stopped and stood before what was to become a replica of a lunch counter that he said would claw visitors back into history.

The display at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Mr. Wolfe said, would allow people to don headphones, rest their hands on the counter and hear a volley of heckles similar to what demonstrators heard during the civil rights movement.

“You’re in the moment,” Mr. Wolfe, the center’s chief creative officer, said, his voice rising. “You’re in the times. You’re experiencing the euphoria and the danger that was existing at the time.”

For Mr. Wolfe and the museum’s supporters, summoning the South’s past in a dramatic way is an unequaled opportunity for Atlanta to showcase a present well beyond CNN, Coca-Cola and a vast international airport. Civic boosters contend that the museum will fuel tourism, broaden the city’s reputation and become a place that could host international human rights events.

Whether the $80 million complex — backed by a mix of public and private funding, with the land donated by Coca-Cola — will fulfill the entirety of that lofty vision is a question that could take decades to answer. But Doug Shipman, the center’s chief executive, said it would be both a vivid link to the city’s rich civil rights history and a prod toward social change.

“This isn’t about specialists,” Mr. Shipman said. “This isn’t about academics. This is trying to take a 15-year-old and move them to interest and inspiration.”

The center, set along the northern edge of Pemberton Place, an area honoring the pharmacist who created Coca-Cola, is scheduled to open on Monday and will be the latest Southern museum to honor the region’s civil rights heritage. Birmingham, Ala., and Memphis are among the cities that host popular museums, and another is planned in Jackson, Miss.

Continue reading “Civil and Human Rights Museum to Open in Atlanta”

Oprah Winfrey Eyes “’Night, Mother” for Broadway Debut

Oprah WInfreyOprah Winfrey is in talks to make her Broadway debut in a revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play ’Night, Mother, starring opposite Tony-Award winner Audra McDonald as a mother struggling to stop her daughter from killing herself, according to two theater executives familiar with the plans.  Tony winner George C. Wolfe (Lucky Guy) would direct the production, which is being aimed for the 2015-16 Broadway season. The two theater executives spoke on condition of anonymity to share details about a production that is currently confidential.

The lead producer of the project, Scott Sanders, confirmed on Thursday that he was in discussions with Ms. Winfrey to make her Broadway debut, but he declined to identify the play or discuss other details.

“Oprah has had a longstanding desire to act on Broadway,” Mr. Sanders said. “She understands how unique and challenging performing live on stage will be as an actress. She and I have been looking at a number of plays and roles in order to find material and a character that truly resonate with her. We’ve recently read something that we’re both excited about but are not yet ready to officially announce the specifics.”

Ms. Winfrey and Ms. McDonald read ’Night Mother together last year with Mr. Wolfe in Mr. Sanders’s apartment, according to the two theater executives, and all involved were happy with the results. The 2015-16 timing is driven by scheduling availability, according to the theater executives.  Ms. Winfrey, who delivered an acclaimed film performance in Lee Daniels’ The Butler last year, and Mr. Sanders are currently working together on a Broadway revival of the musical The Color Purple, possibly for the 2014-15 theater season. They produced the original Color Purple production on Broadway in 2005; the new version would be the stripped-down production that the Tony winner John Doyle directed to much praise in London last summer.

Ms. McDonald, a five-time Tony winner who was last on Broadway in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, and whose last Broadway play was A Raisin in the Sun in 2004 (for which she won a Tony), has theater projects and other work planned for the 2014-15 season. ‘Night, Mother was written by Marsha Norman, who worked with Ms. Winfrey and Mr. Sanders as the book writer on The Color Purple.

The two-character drama originally opened on Broadway in 1983 and ran for a year, earning Tony nominations for best play and best actress for both stars, Anne Pitoniak and Kathy Bates. There was a short-lived revival on Broadway in the 2004-5 season starring Brenda Blethyn and Edie Falco.  Representatives for Ms. Winfrey did not return requests for comment; a spokesman for Ms. McDonald declined comment.

article by Patrick Healy via nytimes.com

List Of Black 2013 Tony Award Nominees Ahead Of Tonight’s Broadcast on CBS

“The Trip To Bountiful”‘s Condola Rashad
The 2013 Tony Awards will be broadcast on CBS tonight, starting at 8pm, with Neil Patrick Harris hosting. Here’s a list of the African-Americans up for awards tonight:

– Cicely Tyson, nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play (A Trip To Bountiful)

– Billy Porter, nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Kinky Boots)

– Valisia LeKae, nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Motown The Musical),

– Patina Miller, nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Pippin)

– Courtney B. Vance, nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (Lucky Guy)

– Shalita Grant, nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike)

– Condola Rashad, nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (The Trip to Bountiful)

– Charl Brown, nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical (Motown, The Musical)

 Keala Settle, nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Hands on a Hardbody)

– George C. Wolfe, nominated for Best Direction of a Play (Lucky Guy)

For the full list of all the nominees, see below: Continue reading “List Of Black 2013 Tony Award Nominees Ahead Of Tonight’s Broadcast on CBS”