With BEST OF ENEMIES, New Stage Theatre in Jackson, Miss., confronted its audience with an unexpectedly timely tale of racial reconciliation.

When the Klansman and the Civil Rights Activist Could Be Friends

With ‘Best of Enemies,’ New Stage Theatre in Jackson, Miss., confronted its audience with an unexpectedly timely tale of racial reconciliation.

Rus Blackwell and Marci J. Duncan in “Best of Enemies” at New Stage. (Photo by Greg Campbell)

Reynolds, artistic director of New Stage Theatre in Jackson, Miss., wasn’t even thinking about the then-upcoming 2016 election season, and, like many Americans, she couldn’t have imagined the outcome. In the ensuing climate of sharp political and social divides, Mark St. Germain’s 2011 play—based on the true story of a Ku Klux Klan leader and a Civil Rights activist who clashed over the desegregation of public schools in Durham, N.C., in 1971—took on a whole new meaning.

“I was thinking we’d celebrate how far we’ve come,” said Reynolds, who directed Best of Enemies at New Stage Feb. 28-March 12. “I still think that’s something to do—to look at what has occurred since the early ’70s and celebrate the progress that has been made. But I also think, realistically, it brings up how some things have not changed, how some things were maybe buried, how we weren’t paying attention to what was going on in people’s minds.”

In the past year, a number of events have put the issue of desegregation back in the spotlight. Last spring, 62 years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that segregation in schools is getting worse, not better: As of 2014 the number of U.S. schools with majority black or Hispanic students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches has almost doubled, from 9 percent to 16 percent, since 2001.

Read the riveting article by Brad Rhines from American Theatre here.

Jeffrey Tambor Promotes CITIZEN

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JANUARY 11: Jeffrey Tambor poses for a portrait for People.com during the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Maarten de Boer/Getty Images)

DRAW THE CIRCLE by and starring Mashuq Mushtaq Deen will be presented at InterAct Theatre in June 2018

InterAct Announces 2017-18 Season of New Plays Including DRAW THE CIRCLE by Mashuq Mushtaq Deen

PHILADELPHIA: InterAct Theatre Company has announced its 2017-18 season, which will feature four plays, including world premieres by A. Rey Pamatmat and Fin Kennedy.

“InterAct’s mission of fostering civic discourse around the social, political, and cultural issues of our time holds a particular imperative as we celebrate this milestone 30th year,” said producing artistic director Seth Rozin in a statement. “Our goal of forwarding thought-provoking work that challenges audiences is more important than ever, and in this anniversary year we are excited to be presenting two world premieres, including a cinematic thriller about the integrity of truth and the importance of controlling narrative that is the largest show InterAct has ever produced. Our season will grapple with some of the most topical current themes, such as the darkly comedic side of LGBTQ mainstream ‘acceptance’ in the age of marriage equality, and the intensely personal and political journey of gender transition.”

The season will close with Mashuq Mushtaq Deen’s Draw the Circle (June 1-24, 2018). Deen will star in the one-person show that chronicles his gender transition and its effects on his traditional Muslim family.

Founded in 1988, InterAct produces new and contemporary plays explore the social, political, and cultural issues of our time.

Link to the article from American Theatre here.

With by Carter W. Lewis, Selected for 2017 Play Penn Conference

Clifford and Minnie devolve into a world of often hysterical but ultimately heartbreaking minutiae as they navigate a blizzard, a dead son, a rat in the kitchen and a half decorated Christmas tree, to find dignity in their final days.

Carter W. Lewis is currently Playwright-in-Residence at Washington University. Previously, he was Literary Manager & Playwright-in-Residence for The Geva Theatre Center (NY), and was co-founder and Resident Playwright for Upstart Stage in Berkeley, California. He has won several national awards including The Julie Harris – Playwriting Award, The State Theatre – Best New American Play, The Cincinnati Playhouse Rosenthal New Play Prize (1996 & 2001), New Dramatist Playwriting Award, Playwright’s Center Jerome Residency, and is a two-time nominee for the American Theatre Critics Award.  He has had close to 200 productions of his plays nationwide. Carter lives in St. Louis with his dog, Bucket.

Works by Mashuq Deen, and More Slated for International Human Rights Art Festival

Playwright Mashuq Deen (New Dramatists Fellow 2022) brings the story of his own transgender journey as a member of a traditional South Asian family and Playwright Catherine Filloux, winner of more than 40 awards for playwriting, activism and peace work, brings her latest work to the stage at New York City’s first arts-advocacy festival of its kind, the International Human Rights Art Festival.

Presented by The Institute of Prophetic Activist Art, co-sponsored and housed at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie St, NYC), the Festival will take place March 3-5, 2017. Tickets are Free-$25 and are now available online with full schedule and participant information at www.dixonplace.org.

All works are advocacy-based, and treat a specific issue of concern — of even more concern now, with the recent political transfer of power!

Deen and Filloux are joined by the award-winning collective Superhero Clubhouse, Grammy-nominated Alika Hope and the Ray of Hope Project, long-time NYC spoken word collective Poetic People Power, Ari Gold, America’s first openly gay popstar and winner of numerous national awards.

The International Human Rights Art Festival unites over 70 artists in Arts Advocacy producing more than 40 events. The Festival will use passionate, tough, unforgiving beauty to create social energy to catalyze collective action on social concerns, promote equality for racial, ethnic and religious groups, advocate for specific policy change in issues such as climate change, LGBT and disability laws, religious tolerance and other issues. Additionally, it will use workshops, discussions and other hands-on activities to inspire nearly 2000 audience members (including child participants in the “kidsfest”) to learn how to use their own creative agency to advocate for positive policy changes and realize their power and capacity for greater civic engagement.

Draw the Circle by Mashuq Deen

New Dramatists Fellow (2022) Mashuq Deen presents his hilarious and deeply moving story of conservative Muslim mother at her wits end, a Muslim father who likes to tell jokes, and a queer American woman trying to make a good impression on her Indian in-laws. One immigrant family must come to terms with a child who defies their most basic expectations of what it means to have a daughter… and one woman will redefine the limits of unconditional love. This unique show compassionately brings to life the often ignored struggle that a family goes through when their child transitions from one gender to another.

Saturday, March 4, at 7:00 pm

Read the full article from Broadway World here.