JAG Productions and ArtisTree Collaborate on Choir Boy
Jarvis Antonio Green is leading a cast of Broadway veterans and emerging New York theater artists in the Vermont Premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s timely play Choir Boy. A joint presentation between ArtisTree and Green’s new theatre company, JAG Productions, Choir Boy is an “exceptionally beautiful, heart-pummeling piece of theater” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) about two young black men competing over the lead spot in their elite prep school’s choir, and will run from November 3 - 20 at Briggs Opera House in White River Junction.
Featuring soaring a capella gospel arrangements and an expressive book, Choir Boy offers new perspective on the traditional coming-of-age story. The Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys is celebrating its 50th year of creating strong, ethical black men. The pressure is high for the school’s famed chorus, led by senior Pharus Young. Pharus struggles to carve his own path as a young gay black man on scholarship, and clashes with Bobby, a legacy student and nephew of the Headmaster. Their battle for control of the choir leads to discoveries of faith, identity, sexuality, and friendship. This “vivid, magnetic and moving” (The New York Times) play “genuinely sizzles” (The Guardian) and “sings a stirring tune” (The Washington Post).
“When I founded JAG Productions last year, I knew I wanted to use this platform to bring new, previously unheard African-American stories to our area,” says Director Jarvis Green. “There is an incredible community of artists and patrons here, who are hungry to hear new stories. I came to this play early this year, and working on it has been an experience that I haven’t felt in the theatre before, and I am so excited to bring it to the Upper Valley theatre community.”
Choir Boy features Bill Carmichael from Vergennes, VT (Broadway: Mama Mia, Les Miserables, Cats, and Peter Pan), Erick Pinnick (Broadway: A Christmas Carol), and newcomers Alex Grayson, Claxton Rabb, Wesley Barnes, Will T. Travis and John Henry Carter.
Joining the creative team is Music Director Darius Smith, who received rave reviews on productions of Choir Boy at Studio Theatre in Washington D.C. (“Vigorous and tuneful” - The Washington Post) and Marin Theatre Company in the San Francisco Bay Area (“The songs…are the best part of the play” - San Francisco Examiner). Scenic Designer Dan Daly has worked with the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Hangar Theatre, and other regional houses, and Brian J. Lilienthal is an award-winning Lighting Designer on the faculty of Tufts University. Rounding out the creative team are Costume Designer Holly Levison from Woodstock, VT (The 39 Steps, Little Shop of Horrors, Seussical: The Musical), and Sound Designer Tim Mikovitz of Thetford, VT (faculty, Lyndon State College). Our Production Team is helmed by Production Stage Manager Adrienne Wells, last seen this summer at St. Michael’s Playhouse in Colchester, VT, and they’re happy to welcome back Assistant Stage Manager Monica Derr.
November 3-20, Thursday through Sunday:
Thursday-Saturday: 7:30 pm
Saturday Matinee at 2:00 pm
Sunday: 5:00 pm
Previews: November 3 & 4
Student Matinees: November 9 & 16
November 5: Opening Night Reception following the performance.
November 11: Post-Show Discussion on “Black Masculinity and the Intersection of Religion and Sexuality”, led by Director Jarvis Antonio Green and featuring J. Michael Kinsey (Cornell University) and Rev. Bertram Johnson (The Riverside Church in the City of New York).
November 18: Talk Back with the Cast following the performance
WHERE Briggs Opera House, 5 S. Main Street, White River Junction, VT
General Admission $18 Students $30 Adults $20 Previews
This production contains strong language and adult content. Please contact our Box Office with any questions you have about the suitability of this show for young audiences.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Tarell Alvin McCraney (playwright) is best known for his acclaimed trilogy "The Brother/Sister Plays": In the Red and Brown Water, which MTC previously staged in 2010, The Brothers Size, and Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet. The trilogy has been performed at McCarter Theater in Princeton, the Public Theater in New York, Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, at a trio of theaters in the Bay Area that included A.C.T. and Magic Theatre (as well as MTC), the Young Vic in London (Olivier Award nomination) and other theaters around the world. McCraney’s other plays include The Breach (Southern Rep, Seattle Rep), Wig Out! (Sundance Theatre Institute, Royal Court, and Vineyard Theatre - GLAAD Award for Outstanding Play), American Trade (Royal Shakespeare Company/Hampstead Theatre) and Head of Passes (Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Berkeley Rep – commissioned by Steppenwolf). He was the Royal Shakespeare Company’s International Playwright in Residence in 2009-2011, where he co-edited and directed the Young People's Shakespeare production of Hamlet, which toured throughout the UK and was presented at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. He is the recipient of the prestigious Whiting Award and Steinberg Playwright Award, as well as London’s Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright, the inaugural New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, and the inaugural Paula Vogel Playwriting Award. McCraney is a graduate from the New World School of the Arts High School, the Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago and the Yale School of Drama. He is a resident playwright at New Dramatists, a member of Teo Castellanos/D-Projects in Miami and an ensemble member of Steppenwolf.
ABOUT JAG PRODUCTIONS
JAG Productions’ mission is to produce bold theater that reflects the times. The company's goal is for the community to come to the theater to hear new stories and leave inspired. The company aims for its patrons to move through the world with more love, greater kindness, and greater compassion for one another after seeing a production.
JAG Productions is proud to be working with the Vermont Arts Council on their Vermont Arts 2016 initiative, a year-long celebration highlighting the stunning array of arts events, concerts, festivals, exhibits, and openings that take place all across the state.