The Till Trilogy Tickets Now on Sale at Mosaic Theatre Company

Hear Mosaic Artistic Director Reginald L. Douglas, Till Trilogy director Talvin Wilks and playwright Ifa Bayeza, and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton talk about our season-opening production.

The first production of our 2022-2023 season is on the horizon! The Till Trilogy will be on stage OCT 4 – NOV 20. This gripping start to the season features three epic plays by Ifa Bayeza staged simultaneously, in rotating repertory, for the very first time. Tickets to The Till Trilogy are now on sale! Purchase by AUG 12 to save 50% on tickets with code SAVE50. The Till Trilogy honors the legacy of Emmett Till and the ongoing fight for racial justice in America told through three plays—The Ballad of Emmett Till, Benevolence, and the world premiere of That Summer in Sumner. Directed by the renowned Talvin Wilks, Emmett Till’s story is told through music, poetry, and imagination.

Buy tickets here.

Jeffrey Lo Nominated by the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle

The San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle is pleased to announce the nominees for  their 45th Excellence in Theatre Awards for 2020/2021. Live productions that opened in the first quarter of 2020 and the last half of 2021 were eligible to be nominated. An (*) next to the title indicates it was a 2020 production. Below is the complete list of nominees by category.

Excellence in Theatre Award recipients will be announced in mid-April.

Jeffrey Lo

Jeffrey Lo nominated for Stage Direction on a production of larger than 300 seats for A DOLL’S HOUSE, PT. 2 at the alo Alto Players.

Read the full list of nominees here.

Psalmayene 24’s beautiful ‘Dear Mapel’ at Mosaic contains worlds of feeling

In his willingness to be vulnerable there is strength, and in his multifaceted storytelling, each and every emotion strikes a chord.

Psalmayene 24 in ‘Dear Mapel.’ Photo by Chris Banks.

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then a single song contains worlds. Psalmayene 24’s astonishing Dear Mapel feels just like that. Psalmayene 24 plays himself as he relays his coming of age story, traveling through worlds of feeling, worlds in words, and worlds he’s lived: Park Slope, Howard University, a woman’s basement bedroom, a house in Queens in two different decades. It contains worlds of Blackness, masculinity, childhood, adolescence, sexuality. Absence, presence, change, and movement. In truth, we only get to see a sliver of Psalm’s world, but it’s a privilege that he’s decided to share with us.

Dear Mapel is structured as a series of letters to Psalm’s absent father, Mapel. It is inherently musical, as the dialogue is poetry, often set to the percussive rhythms of JabariDC (musician and various roles). But the form itself also feels like an album, or even one long song. Each story, each snapshot of life that Psalm shares builds on the next with interludes and reprises. Recurring themes are reflected in his words, or the lighting, or the musical pattern of JabariDC’s drums. It creates a picture that’s inseparable from the content, which itself is so interwoven and attached to its musical form, to the drums of West Africa, to hip hop. This musical, song-like form evokes, honestly and authentically, the abstract qualities shared by both dreams and memories. The structure of the show brings us into a world that is grounded equally in the reality of past experiences and dreams of connection, of closure.  

JabariDC and Psalmayene 24 in ‘Dear Mapel.’ Photo by Chris Banks.

The technical elements are instruments providing the backing track for the song-like qualities evoked by Dear Mapel. They feel familiar, even recognizable, yet create something slightly different each time they work together. Alberto Segarra’s beautiful lighting makes big changes subtly, fading in and out, helping the audience to recollect earlier moments in the show. Sound design (Nick “tha 1da” Hernandez) perfectly captures different eras of life, emphasizing new scenes, and sometimes a different Psalm, in each cue. There are projections (Kelly Colburn) that I did not have the privilege to see incorporated, due to some technical difficulties. Although the show did not feel empty without them, I do wish I could have seen the work that went in, and the sensory value they add. Finally, JabariDC brings humor and ease to the show, always the final piece of the puzzle that allows a word, emotion, or thought to rise to its fullest potential. His presence is versatile as he expertly punctuates with sadness, wisdom, laughter, and, most of all, percussion.

Psalmayene 24 leads this epic of a two-man production, encompassing actor, writer, visionary, dancer, and singer. But what is remarkable is that these roles are not used just as individual skillsets. Working together with Natsu Onoda Power (director and production designer), Psalm brings a storytelling through-line to each role, so that they weave together to create a basket that gently holds his experience, which he then holds up and generously offers to the audience. There is so much strength in this willingness to be vulnerable, and it helps each and every emotion Psalm conveys to strike a chord. The humor is real — vulnerable. The sadness, wistfulness, feeling of grieving things you’re not even sure of — vulnerable. Firsts, failures, tries — vulnerable. And that vulnerability creates a song of masculinity, Jamaicanness, Blackness, artistry, generational trauma, grief, honest connection, joy — all inseparable from one another. 

Psalmayene 24 in ‘Dear Mapel.’ Photo by Chris Banks.

It is through this lens of abundance that I see the remarkable song that is Dear Mapel. The play itself holds as many parts, as many stories, as Psalm does himself. It is grounded in contradictory ideas of presence and absence, as it is an act of unconditional love toward the missing Mapel, but an act of unconditional self-love as well. It is about community and individualism because it is Psalm’s self-expression, but it includes everyone in the room. It is a beautiful, multifaceted story of how to create closure, or even oneself, in the face of unaccepting circumstances and hegemonic white American forces. It is an individual story of creation, but Psalm weaves it into the lives of countless others, so that Dear Mapel becomes a personal anthem that is remembered and passed on. A legacy born out of absence, with a name it gave itself, ready to be sung again and again.  

Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission.

Dear Mapel — written and performed by Psalmayene 24, directed by Natsu Onoda Power, with percussion by JabariDC — runs in-person to February 13, 2022, presented by Mosaic Theater Company at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, H Street NE, Washington DC. Tickets for general admission are $50 each and can be purchased online or by calling 202-738-9491. Open-captioned performances are February 5 at 8 PM, February 10 at 11 AM, and February 10 at 8 PM (includes ASL postshow).

Dear Mapel also streams February 14 to 27, 2022. Tickets for the virtual option are $40 for individuals and $70 for groups, available online. Viewers have 72 hours in which to watch the performance. Closed captions are available.

The Dear Mapel program is online here.

Article by Gwyneth Sholar for the DC Metro Theatre Arts available here.

Sarah Bierstock Serving as Script Coordinator for SDCF Awards Ceremony


The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF), the not-for profit foundation of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), has announced that the Breakout Award will be awarded to Jon Rua. The SDCF Awards, which will feature the presentation of the Breakout Award along with the previously announced Gordon Davidson Award and Zelda Fichandler Award, will be hosted by Anne Kauffman virtually on Monday January 24, 2022 at 8pm ET.

This year, the Breakout Award is given to a director or choreographer for a production or selection of work that signals a shift in a career and the beginning of critical recognition – a “rising star” moment. The winner of the Breakout Award, Jon Rua, is being recognized amongst his colleagues for his innovate work as a choreographer for the stage. The finalists for this Award are Billy Bustamante & Alex Sanchez. The Breakout Award committee included Darren Lee, Maria Torres, and Christopher Windom.

Sarah Bierstock

The SDCF Awards will take place virtually on Monday January 24, 2022 at 8pm EST and will include the presentation of the Breakout Award, the Zelda Fichandler Award and the Gordon Davidson Award. Anne Kauffman will host the event for the evening. Maria Torres will present the Breakout Award to Jon Rua. Jack Reuler will present the Zelda Fichandler Award to Mark Valdez, and Oskar Eustis will present the Gordon Davidson Award to Emily Mann. The Awards will also feature Christopher Acebo, Mark Brokaw, Donald Byrd, Neel Keller, Casey Stangl, and Tony Taccone. Sarah Bierstock will serve as the script coordinator for the event. The SDCF Awards ceremony is free and open to the public. More information about all the winners and finalists can be found on the SDCF website and tickets for the event can found through Eventbrite.

Article by Marissa Tomeo for Broadway World.