UofL Theatre Arts announces 2019-20 “Season of Black Plays”

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    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University of Louisville Department of Theatre Arts announces “A Season of Black Plays,” in collaboration with the African American Theatre Program.

    The season’s five main stage shows, along with a Repertory Company production, were either written by black playwrights, feature black characters or address race as a central theme.

    “Our season is a rare opportunity for the community to grapple with broad, wide-ranging African American experiences,” said department chair Kevin Gawley. “With few exceptions, regional theaters usually present only one minority play a season. Our season brings the African American experience to the forefront, delving deeply into crucial questions surrounding race, past and present.”

    The season kicks off Sept. 19-29 with “King Hedley II,” the ninth play in August Wilson’s 10-play cycle that examines African American life in the 20th century. Directed by Baron Kelly, the play tells the story of an ex-con trying to rebuild his life in 1985.

    UofL’s Repertory Company, a troupe of graduate students who annually perform for dozens of schools, will present “Zomo the Rabbit,” a hip-hop take on the classic African tale. The show, by Psalmayene 24, is Oct. 19-20. Sidney Monroe Williams directs. 

    “Fires in the Mirror” by Anna Deavere Smith runs Nov. 7-17. Directed by Ariadne Calvano, the play explores black and Hasidic Jewish people’s perspectives on 1991 riots in Brooklyn.       

    Johnny Jones directs “Detroit ’67” by Dominique Morisseau, Jan. 23-Feb. 2, 2020. Set to a Motown soundtrack, the play unpacks the 1967 race riots that ravaged Detroit. 

    “Six Degrees of Separation” by John Guare runs Feb. 20-March 1. Directed by Geoffrey Nelson, the show follows the life of a young, black con man who inserts himself into the lives of New York aristocracy.

    The season concludes April 8-19 with “Milk Like Sugar” by Kirsten Greenidge. The show follows a trio of teen girls who make a pact to get pregnant together. Sidney Monroe Williams directs.

    All plays are at Thrust Theatre, 2314 S. Floyd St., except for “King Hedley II” and “Six Degrees of Separation,” which will run at The Playhouse, 1911 S. Third St. Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinees are at 3 p.m.

    Purchase season tickets, which are $50, here. Tickets for individual performances also are available here or call 502-852-6814. Additional events occur throughout the year. For the most up-to-date scheduling, see louisville.edu/theatrearts, call 502-852-7682 or email uofltheatrearts@gmail.com.

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    Niki King
    Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.