SAN DIEGO (March 2, 2017)—The Old Globe today announced the complete cast and creative team of Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti. In-demand director Stafford Arima (Broadway’s Allegiance, Off Broadway’s Altar Boyz, West End’s Ragtime) returns to the Globe, following Allegiance and Ace, to helm the award-winning drama, which runs March 25 – April 30, 2017 on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage of the Old Globe Theatre, part of the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Opening night is Thursday, March 30 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets start at $29, on sale now, and can be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE, or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. 

Red Velvet is a stirring drama that transports audiences to the turbulent backstage world of London’s Theatre Royal in the early 1800s. Edmund Kean, the greatest actor of his generation, can’t go on tonight as Othello, and his company is in disarray. A young American actor named Ira Aldridge arrives to step into the role—but no black man has ever played Othello on the English stage. His groundbreaking performance upends stage tradition and changes the lives of everyone involved. Lolita Chakrabarti’s multi-award-winning play uncovers the fascinating true story of a pivotal figure in theatre history. Stafford Arima returns to The Old Globe with a stunningly theatrical production of a play that the London Telegraph called “informative, entertaining, and thought-provoking.”

Albert Jones leads the cast as Ira Aldridge. His extensive credits include Lincoln Center’s acclaimed Henry IV on Broadway and the Off Broadway productions of Macbeth, Pericles, and Richard III. His television and film credits include “House of Cards,” “The Night Of,” American Gangster, and Cadillac Records. Joining him are Michael Aurelio (The Merry Wives of Windsor and Richard III at Theatricum Botanicum) as Casimir and Henry Forrester; Sean Dugan (The Four of Us at the Globe, Next Fall on Broadway, “Smash,” “Oz”) as Pierre Laporte; San Diego actress Monique Gaffney (Craig Noel Award winner, Globe for All’s Much Ado About Nothing and All’s Well That Ends Well) as Connie; John Lavelle (Macbeth, The Royale, 2013 Shakespeare Festival at the Globe, The Graduate on Broadway) as Charles Kean; Allison Mack (10 seasons of WB/CW’s hit series “Smallville,” “Wilfred”) as Ellen Tree; Amelia Pedlow (Globe’s The Metromaniacs, Off Broadway’s The Liar and The Heir Apparent) as Halina Wozniak, Betty Lovell, and Margaret Aldridge; and Mark Pinter (Macbeth, Othello, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Globe, Rothschild & Sons Off Broadway) as Terence and Bernard Warde.

The creative team includes Jason Sherwood (Scenic Design), David Israel Reynoso (Costume Design), Jason Lyons (Lighting Design), Jonathan Deans (Sound Design), Lynne Shankel (Original Music), Jenn Rapp (Movement, Associate Director), David Huber (Vocal Coach), Caparelliotis Casting (Casting), and Jess Slocum (Production Stage Manager).

“Theatre is very good at bringing neglected pieces of history to life, and Red Velvet does that with uncommon vividness and power,” said Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “Ira Aldridge’s story is remarkable on its own terms for the impact he had on theatrical history and the obstacles of racism and exclusion he struggled through. But in Lolita Chakrabarti’s hands, Aldridge’s life is transformed into metaphor. She takes us on a journey to a place we didn’t know existed, and then shows us ourselves in the figures dwelling there. I’m thrilled to bring this play to San Diego and excited to see the theatrical magic that the talented Stafford Arima and his colleagues will work on our stage.”

Lolita Chakrabarti (Playwright) is an award-winning actress and writer. Her debut play, Red Velvet, premiered in 2012 at Tricycle Theatre in London, where it returned in 2014 before transferring to St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York. In 2016 the play opened at the prestigious Garrick Theatre on London’s West End as part of Kenneth Branagh’s season of plays. Red Velvet garnered for Ms. Chakrabarti the 2012 Evening Standard Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright; 2012 Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright; 2013 Asian Women of Achievement Award for Arts & Culture; 2012 WhatsOnStage Award nominations for London Newcomer of the Year and Best New Play; and a 2012 Olivier Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. Red Velvet earned further rave reviews in its New York transfer. Ms. Chakrabarti also wrote Joy for Last Seen at Almeida Theatre and a five-part adaptation of The Goddessfor BBC Radio 4. She runs Lesata Productions with Rosa Maggiora and Adrian Lester. They produced Of Mary, a short film directed by Mr. Lester, which won the Best Short Film Award at the 2012 Pan African Film Festival and was officially selected for the Raindance, Underwire, London Short, Montreal Black International, Independent Black Women’s, and Toronto Black Film Festival.

Stafford Arima (Director) previously directed the Globe productions of Allegiance and Ace. His selected work includes Allegiance (Broadway), Ragtime (West End, eight Olivier Awards nominations including Best Director and Best Musical), A.R. Gurney’s Two Class Acts (The Flea Theater), The Tin Pan Alley Rag (Roundabout Theatre Company), Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (Stratford Shakespeare Festival), Candide (San Francisco Symphony), Altar Boyz(Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical, seven Drama Desk Award nominations), Poster Boy (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The Secret Garden (Lincoln Center), Total Eclipse (Toronto), Carrie (MCC Theater, five Drama Desk nominations including Outstanding Revival of a Musical), bare (2012 Off Broadway revival), Abyssinia (Goodspeed Musicals), Spring Awakening (University of California, Davis), Bright Lights, Big City (Prince Music Theater), and Marry Me a Little (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park). Mr. Arima was the associate director for the Broadway productions of Seussical and A Class Act. He graduated from York University, where he was the recipient of the Dean’s Prize for Excellence in Creative Work. He is Artistic Advisor for the Broadway Dreams Foundation, an adjunct professor at UC Davis, and a proud member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Red Velvet is supported in part through gifts from Dow Divas, HM Electronics, Inc., and The Estate of Madelon McGowan.

Additional events taking place during the run of Red Velvet include:

  • INSIGHTS SEMINAR: Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at 5:30 p.m.
    An opportunity to closely connect with productions both onstage and backstage. A panel selected from the artistic company of each show (playwrights, actors, directors, designers, and/or technicians) engages patrons in an informal and illuminating presentation of ideas and insights to enhance the theatregoing experience. Reception at 5:00 p.m. FREE.
  • SUBJECT MATTERS: Saturday, April 1, 2017, following the 2:00 p.m. matinee.
    Explore the ideas and issues raised by a production through brief, illuminating post-show discussions with local experts, such as scientists, artists, historians, and scholars. Subject Matters will ignite discussion, bring the play’s concerns into sharp focus, and encourage you to think beyond the stage! FREE.
  • POST-SHOW FORUMS: Tuesdays, April 4 and 11, and Wednesday, April 19, 2017.
    Join us after the show for an informal and enlightening question-and-answer session with cast, crew, and/or Globe staff members. Get the inside story on creating a character and putting together a professional production. FREE.

SINGLE TICKETS to Red Velvet start at $29 and go on sale to the general public on Friday, February 24 at 12:00 noon. Tickets can be purchased online at www.TheOldGlobe.org, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE [234-5623], or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 29 years of age and under, seniors, military members, and groups of 10 or more. Performances begin on March 25 and continue through April 30, 2017. Performance times: Previews: Saturday, March 25 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, March 26 at 7:00 p.m.; Tuesday, March 28 at 7:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, March 29 at 7:00 p.m. Opening night is Thursday, March 30 at 8:00 p.m. Regular Performances: Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. There will be an additional matinee performance on Wednesday, April 19 at 2:00 p.m. and no matinee performance on Saturday, April 22.

 

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