Tarell Alvin McCraney, Executive Producer of Moonlight (2017 Golden Globe Award winner for Best Picture), directs Play Reading of his world-acclaimed play “The Brother/Sister Plays" at New World School of the Arts.

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Alana Arenas and Tarell McCraney sitting next to each other on stage.Tarell McCraney at the Make Art Work event.

MIAMI – Hailed as one of the most influential playwrights of our time, Tarell Alvin McCraney, a 1999 graduate of the New World School of the Arts High School Theater program, welcomes the New Year with a Play Reading, in celebration of NWSA’s 30th Anniversary. The Play Reading sessions bring to the New World Dance Theater stage McCraney’s award-winning play – The Brother/Sister Plays, with an early afternoon reading of In the Red and Brown Water and an early evening reading of The Brothers Size, followed by a Bonus Scene of McCraney’s Choir Boy. The three play readings will be presented by New World School of the Arts alumni*, many who are returning to Miami from all over the nation to partake in this unprecedented celebratory event. The cast includes, the original cast of Manhattan Theatre production of Choir Boy and Nic Ashe, starring in Queen Sugar on the OWN network and Jeremy Pope. Award winning actress Alana Arenas, who is a Steppenwolf Company member, will also be joining the cast.

“It was an honor and privilege to attend New World School of the Arts as a High School student; and now as an alumni and an artist it is a special responsibility to help deepen the legacy and ensure the longevity of one of this country's great Art Schools. Happy 30th to the entire NWSA family,” said Tarell McCraney who graduated from the high school theater program of New World School of the Arts in 1999.
 
“Having Tarell come back to New World School of the Arts every year is such a treat for us and such an inspiration for our students,” said Patrice Bailey, Dean of Theater at New World School of the Arts. “He tirelessly shares his craft and passion with the students in such a way that there is an immediate connection with them. Tarell’s gentle and focused demeanor and the manner in which he selflessly explains his own life story offers invaluable lessons not only for our students, but also for ourfaculty who have been part of his life for so many years. This Play Reading is the culmination of Tarell’s collaboration with NWSA thus far, and having this number of NWSA theater alumni join him on stage is exhilarating! Learning about the professional life of these young actors and seeing all that they have accomplished and contributed to the craft since graduating from NWSA allows us to reflect on our own academic/theater program and inspires us to continue fostering their passion and artistic skills.”
 
Guests who attend both Play Reading sessionswill also have the opportunity to meet and speak with Tarell A. McCraney and the full cast of performers during a special NWSA 30th Anniversary Meet & Greet session and reception, to be held in between reading sessions at New World School of the Arts.
 
Meanwhile, students from the NWSA Theater program will be invited to attend a rehearsal session and Master Class by Tarell A. McCraney prior to the Reading as part of the school’s Make Art Work [MAW] ongoing lecture series.
 

SCHEDULE: TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY’S PLAY READING AT NEW WORLD SCHOOL OF THE ARTS:
 
FRIDAY, January 13, 2017
Rehearsal and Master Class – open to NWSA Theater students.
·       12 Noon – 1:30 PM: Make Art Work Series [MAW] rehearsal Session of McCraney’s Play Reading and master class
 
SATURDAY, January 14, 2017
Play Reading – open to the general public with purchase of admission tickets. Directed by Tarell A. McCraney and performed by New World School of the Arts alumni
The Brother/Sister Plays:
·       2:00 PM: In the Red and Brown Water
·       5:30 PM: Special Meet & Greet session with Tarell A. McCraney and NWSA alumni
·       7:00 PM: The Brothers Size, followed by a scene of Choir Boy
 
**General admission is $30 for one Reading / $50 for both Readings, Choir Boy and Meet & Greet session.
New World Dance Theater. 25 NE 2nd Street, 8th Floor, downtown Miami, Florida 33132
Information at 305-237-3541. Tickets at http://nwsa.mdc.edu/
 
**Proceeds from the Play Reading sessions will benefit the Tarell Alvin McCraney Audition Fund. Established by McCraney in2010, the Fund allows NWSA to fund the College Audition process of a NWSA High School student. Funding may include College application fees as well as travel, hotel, transportation and meal expense.
 
ABOUT TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY:
·       Tarell Alvin McCraney* (NWSA 1999): Critically acclaimed as executive producer of the 2017 Golden-Globe Award winning “Best Picture” film Moonlight (2016), written and directed by Barry Jenkins, based on McCraney’s play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. Moonlight is a timeless story of human self-discovery and connection, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up Liberty City, in a rough neighborhood of Miami. http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/04/movies/moonlight-barry-jenkins-tarell-alvin-mccraney-interview.html?emc=eta1&_r=0
 
Tarell is also known for his widely recognized trilogy, The Brother/Sister Plays: The Brothers Size, In the Red and Brown Water, and Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet. They have 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: Marin Theatre Company, ACT, and Magic Theatre, as well as the Young Vic in London(Olivier Award nomination) and around the world. http://www.mccarter.org/tarell/
 
Originally written in 2012 Choir Boy, another play by Tarell A. McCraney, was commissioned by Manhattan Theater Club in 2013. The play explores The Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys – an institution dedicated to the creation of strong, ethical black men where protagonist (Pharus) wants nothing more than to take his rightful place as leader of the school’s legendary gospel choir while reconciling his own feelings as a gay young man.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/03/theater/reviews/in-tarell-mccraneys-choir-boy-spirituals-are-solace.html
 
Other plays include The Breach (Southern Rep, Seattle Rep), Wig Out! (Sundance Theatre Institute, Royal Court, and Vineyard Theatre - GLAAD Award for Outstanding Play) and American Trade (Royal Shakespeare Company/Hampstead Theatre). Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where he is an ensemble member, produced the world premiere of his commissioned play, Head of Passes in 2013. Tarell 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 NewYork.
 
Tarell Alvin McCraney is a 2013 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellow, receiving the McCrarthur Genius Grant. He is also 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 1999 graduate from the New World School of the Arts High School Theater program, the Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago, and the Yale School of Drama. He is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and a member of Teo Castellanos/D-Projects in Miami. Tarell Alvin McCraney was recently appointed as the incoming chair of playwriting at the Yale School of Drama.
 
ABOUT THE NWSA ALUMNI & FRIENDS CAST: IN THE RED AND BROWN WATER
·       Alana Arenas* (Oya) (NWSA 1998): Received the 2016 Clarence Derwent Award from Actors' Equity Association and a 2016 Lucille Lortel Award for her work in the Tarell Alvin McCraney drama, Head of Passes which ran last spring at the Public Theater. She joined the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble in 2007 and created the role of PecolaBreedlove for the Steppenwolf for Young Adults production of The Bluest Eye, which also played at the New Victory Theater off Broadway. She recently appeared in Belleville, Head of Passes, Good People, Three Sisters, The March, Man in Love, Middletown, The Hot L Baltimore, The Etiquette of Vigilance, The Brother/Sister Plays (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Disgraced (American Theater Company); and The Arabian Nights (Lookingglass Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Kansas City Repertory Theatre). Other theater credits include The Tempest, The Crucible, Spare Change, The Sparrow Project (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Black Diamond (Lookingglass Theatre Company); Eyes (eta Creative Arts); SOST (MPAACT); WVON (Black Ensemble Theater); and Hecuba (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). Television and film credits include Boss, The Beast, Kabuku Rides and Lioness of Lisabi. She is originally from Miami, Florida where she began her training at New World School of the Arts and graduated in 1998. Alana holds a BFA from The Theatre De Paul University.
 
·       Nic Ashe (Elegba): On OWN’s drama Queen Sugar, Nicholas L. Ashe plays Micah West, Charley and Davis West’s teenage son. Originally from Freeport, New York, Nicholas made his acting debut at age 10 as the young Simba in The Lion King on Broadway. Most recently, he co-starred with Viola Davis in the feature film Custody, released in 2016. He has guest-starred in episodes of the TV series Are We There Yet?, The Divide and Songbyrd.
 
·       Joshua Baptiste* (Ogun): Joshua Jean-Baptiste is a Miami native and graduate of New World School of The Arts. He holds a BFA in acting and began his writing career shortly after finishing school. Recent plays include Plenty of Shrimp at Micro Theater, Them Beaux at The Miami Theater Center. He and his partner Edson Jean were recent winners of the Project Greenlight Digital Studio competition, for their digital series #JOSH (inspired by events in Joshua’s life). Their work primarily focuses on cultural satire, technology, and coming of age.
 
·       Amanda Warren (Mama Moja, The Woman Who Reminds You): Well known for playing Lucy Warburton on HBO's/Peabody Awarded The Leftovers, was born and raised in New York and received her BFA from New York University and her MFA from Yale School of Drama.  She began her professional career on stage receiving rave reviews for her work in Three Sisters (Classical Theatre of Harlem), Golden Age (world premiere/Kennedy Center) and When I Come to Die (Lincoln Center Theatre receiving an AUDELCO nomination). In film she was seen as the fifth psychopath, Maggie, opposite Tom Waits in Martin McDonah’s Seven Psychopaths and recently completed her second picture with Mr. McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri opposite Woody Harrelson and Frances McDormand.  She will be seen in Barry Levinson’s The Wizard of Lies, The Super starring Val Kilmer and Darren Aronofsky’s Untitled new picture. Additional appearances in television include: Gossip Girl, The Good Wife, Royal Pains, Detroit 1-8-7, Rubicon, Michael Patrick King's A Mann's World (pilot) and a recurring role on the final season of The Closer.  She recently completed filming a recurring role on NBC's upcoming series Taken and will appear in the fifth season of House of Cards.  


·       Lela Elam* (Aunt Elegua) (NWSA 1999): Since graduating from the NWSA High School Theater program, Elam attended SUNY/Purchase, but has kept Miami as her home. She has been nominated for seven Carbonell awards and has won the award twice in The Best Actress category. Right now, Lela stars as Diane from Toledo on the TBS comedy Wrecked.  


·       Brianne Cidel* (Nia) (NWSA 2017): NWSA current high school senior in the Music Theater program.  Brianna recently appeared in NWSA’s mainstage production of the musical Bye Bye Birdie.


·       Anissa Comonte* (Shun) (NWSA 2016): During her time in the NWSA music theater program, she was seen in various roles including: A Streetcar Named Desire (Blanche DuBois), A Little Night Music (Desiree Armfeldt), Tom Stoppards's Rock N' Roll (Esme), Evita (Principal Dancer), and her original one-person show, When Sparks Fly. Since leaving NWSA, she was last seen in Miami's original production of The Legend of the Pink Elephant, featuring aerial silk and stilt work. Anissa now lives in New York City and is continuing her pursuit of the career that she loves and is immeasurably thankful to be working with such a talented group of New World School of the Arts alumni.


·       Edson Jean* (Shango) (NWSA 2011): Born in West Palm Beach Florida and raised inDelray Beach, Florida. Upon graduating High school, he moved to Miami to study theatre at New World School of the Arts, where he received his Bachelors ofFine Arts degree. Edson went on to write, direct and star in The Adventures of Edson Jean (2012), which scored an ABFF/HBO official selection.


·       David Kwait (O Li Roon, The Man From State) (NWSA Theater faculty member): Professor in the Theater Division at the New World School of the Arts since 1989. He is the recipient of an Endowed Teaching Chair and his many performances in South Florida have earned him two Carbonell Awards; “Best Actor” for his performance in QED and “Best Supporting Actor” for his work in Dirty Blonde, both at GableStage. He is also the recipient of the New Times Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor awards as well as the 2016 Outstanding Contribution to Florida Colleges and Universities Award from the Florida Theatre Conference. However, David’s proudest distinction is being Tarell’s 11th grade Acting teacher as well as having taught all of the other talented alumni participating in the Play Reading.


·       Tyrone Davis* (The Egungun, A Dj, A Boy From Around The Way) (NWSA 2003 HS, 2007 BFA):  Off-Broadway: Invisible Thread (Second Stage; dir. Diane Paulus); Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe (Classical Theatre of Harlem); The Rape of the Lock; The Loves of Mr. Lincoln, The Drunken City. National Tours: Shrek: The Musical (1st Nat'l, dir. Jason Moore, Rob Ashford), The Mystery of King Tut. Regional: Witness Uganda (A.R.T.); How The Grinch Stole Christmas (The Old Globe); A Civil War Christmas (Baltimore CenterStage); Amazing Grace (Goodspeed); Stagger Lee (Dallas Theater Center; dir. Patricia McGregor); Lost Boy Found In Whole Foods (Portland Stage); Pure Confidence (Vineyard Playhouse); Ain't Misbehavin' (Crossroads Theater Company; dir. André DeShields); King Lear (Classical Theatre of Harlem). NY Workshops/Labs: Whorl Inside a Loop (with Christina Hendricks) Shuffle Along, Witness Uganda, Amazing Grace, Before Midnight.
 
ABOUT THE NWSA ALUMNI CAST: BROTHERS SIZE
·       Eddie R. Brown* (Elegba) (NWSA 1998): Graduating from New World School of the Arts as a Young Arts Awardee in Theater. Upon graduating Eddie furthered his studies at The Theater School - DePaul University. After graduating from The Theater School in 2002 Eddie was seen in Bombitty of Errors and Julius Caesar (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) and the Kiwi Black (Victory Gardens). In 2003 Eddie was invited to the Sundance Theater Lab, where he had the honor of workshopping Passing Strange by STEW and After the War by Philip Kotanda. In 2006 Eddie was accepted into the Yale School of Dramawhere he earned his MFA in 2009. While at Yale Eddie’s most notable performances were Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, George Walker in Dancing in the Dark, Shua/Ooshoosi/ The Law/Terrell in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Marcus, and Uriah in Man is Man. In 2013 he was invited again to the Sundance Theater Lab to workshop Colman Domingo’s Wild With Happy, and Mrisho Mpoto’s Africa Kills Her Sun.  His theater credits include The Brother Size (Seattle Repertory Theater), The Total Bent (The Public Theater), Bloodazzler (Harlem Stage), and FLY (Cincinnati Playhouse and St. Louis Repertory Theater). On television he has appeared on Rescue Me, NYC 22, and Ironside; film credits include Home:___ and The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete.
 
·       Jon Michael Hill (Oshoosi Size): Member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble member (2007). Previous play credits include Head of Passes, The Hot L Baltimore, The Tempest, Kafka on the Shore, Superior Donuts (also Broadway; Outer Critic’s Circle Award; Tony and Drama League Award nominations) and The Unmentionables. Other theater credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Public Theatre, Shakespeare in the Park); In the Red and Brown Water (Alliance Theatre); and The Cure at Troy(Seattle Repertory Theatre). Jon made his opera debut as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Houston Grand Opera. Television and film credits include Elementary, Detroit 1-8-7, Eastbound and Down, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Person of Interest and Guiding Light.
 
·       Tarell Alvin Mccraney* (Ogun Size) (NWSA 1999): (See Above).
 
ABOUT THE NWSA ALUMNI CAST: CHOIR BOY
·       Tyrone Davis* (Bobby) (NWSA 2003 HS, 2007 BFA): (See Above).
 
·       Atravis McCulloug* (Jr.) (NWSA 2017): NWSA current high school senior in the Music Theater program. Atravis recently appeared in NWSA’s mainstage production of the musical Bye Bye Birdie.
 
·       James Randolph  (Head Master Marrow) (NWSA Theater faculty member). Associate Professor in the Theater Division at New World School of The Arts. As an actor, he has appeared in over 100 plays, commercials, television shows and feature films. James is a member of Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. He has performed in many Professional theaters in the region. He won a Carbonell Award in the dual roles of Belize and Mr. Lies in Angels in America at New Theatre. He appeared in a film short entitled Night and Day written by NWSA alum Tarell McCraney which was shown at Cannes’s Film Festival’s Short Film Corner showcase in 2010. James played Martin Dysart in EQUUS at New Theatre and was named Best Supporting Actor of the Year by the New Times. He has appeared in various productions of the works of William Shakespeare, including Marcus Brutus in Julius Caesar, Feste in Twelfth Night and the title roles in Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. He has directed over 90 plays and musicals. Some of his directorial credits include I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady from Rwanda at New Theatre, Miss Saigon at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts and several seasons directing for City Theatre’s Summer Shorts. He has directed a wide variety of plays and musicals at New World School, including the musical Into The Woods, Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Beaux Stratagem, Spring Awakening, Macbeth, and most recently the musical Evita. He has attended seminars and conferences in theater including the International Conference on Arts and Humanities annually held in Hawaii. James also attended an intensive on Shakespeare at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He has taught at The University of Miami, The University of Florida, and Barry University. James has trained professional actors as a consultant for the Theatre League of South Florida. He was last seen on stage last season appearing in Choir Boy also by Tarell McCraney at GablesStage. James also appeared in a short film made in Miami based on a true story called Freddie of Wynwood, which premiered at the Miami International Film Festival in which he played the title role.
 
·       Fergie Philippe* (David) (NWSA 2013): Born in Brooklyn, New York and quickly relocated to Miami, Florida. Raised primarily in Miami Lakes, Fergie attended New World School of The Arts in Downtown Miami, where he received an abundance of opportunities and classical training in Acting. In 2013, he received an Honorable Mention Award from the National YoungArts Foundation. He now studies in North Carolina, at Elon University. He is working towards a BFA in MusicTheatre.
 
·       Jeremy Pope (Pharus): New York City actor, musician, and photographer. He performed in the New York production of Choir Boy at The Manhattan Theatre Club and later at the Alliance Theatre. He is a graduate from The American Musical & Dramatic Academy.
 
·       Nic Ashe (AJ): (See Above).
 
·       McCoy Stewart (Choir) (NWSA 2018): NWSA current high school junior in the Music Theater program.  Brianna recently appeared in NWSA’s mainstage production of the musical Bye Bye Birdie.
 
·       Edward Leonard (Choir) (NWSA 2017): NWSA current high school senior in the Actingprogram.  Edward last appeared in NWSA’s 2016 Playwright’s Festival in the play The Savage.
 
About the NWSA Theater program: Theater and music theater students at NWSA hone their craft through acting technique, movement and speech classes, focusing on fundamentals of physical and emotional preparation. With performance at its core, training is based on the classical texts and the principles of drama as well as practical incursions into the contemporary and experimental edges of theater. Consequently, alumni are found performing onstage nationally and internationally and their talent and vision are recognized and highly regarded in the industry.
 
New World School of the Arts was created by the Florida Legislature as a center of excellence in the performing and visual arts. It is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools,Miami Dade College and the University of Florida.
 
Information about the NWSA Theater program is available by calling 305-237-3541 or visiting http://nwsa.mdc.edu/
 
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