Theater Alliance Presents THE BLACKEST BATTLE Beginning This Month

The Blackest Battle premieres on July 31, 2021 and will be available for scheduled online streams through the month of August. 

Theater Alliance Presents THE BLACKEST BATTLE Beginning This Month

As the final digital film of the theater season, Theater Alliance presents a world premiere production of acclaimed artist Psalmayene 24‘s The Blackest Battle. A love story that calls attention to Black-on-Black gun violence, the film is set in the future, when reparations have been made and youth get high on a drug called Hope.

With songs composed by Nick tha 1da and visual art from Wesley Clark, Camilla King, Maliah Stokes, and Rodney “Buck” Herring, the film is half music video, half graphic-novel-come-to-life, and utterly unlike any other work of digital theater that has come out of the past year.

“Working with Psalmayene 24 on this commission has been a tremendous gift,” says Raymond O. Caldwell, who directed the film. “Theater Alliance committed to this play four years ago – we knew then that it would be a powerful, dynamic, and significant work of theater, and it has become even stronger with every draft. Theater Alliance is proud to support and produce local playwrights like Psalm.”

The Blackest Battle was commissioned from Psalmayene 24 and Nick tha 1da in 2017. In the years since, it has been written, developed, workshopped, and revised through Theater Alliance’s Hothouse New Play Development program – with performances at the John F. Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival, as well as the Word Becomes Action Festival. Originally slated for live performance in summer of 2020, the production has been reimagined for the screen.

“Our digital production team has grown in leaps and bounds over this season’s work,” says Caldwell. “It is thrilling to bring this film to audiences, knowing we are at the forefront of innovative storytelling – pushing the boundaries of what theater is and can do.”

The Blackest Battle premieres on July 31, 2021 and will be available for scheduled online streams through the month of August.

Under the guidance and expertise of photography director Kelly Colburn, as well as art director Jonathan Dahm Robertson, Theater Alliance has again recreated the intimate theatrical nature of its work for the camera. The production has been pre-recorded, utilizing stringent safety precautions.

This production is made possible through the support of the National Foundation for the Arts, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Revada Foundation, and the Arts Forward Fund. Season 18 at Theater Alliance is generously sponsored by David and Jean Heilman Grier.

Purchase tickets at or call 202-241-2539.

Full article by Stephi Wild for BroadwayWorld D.C. available here.

‘Age of Bees’ written by Tira Palmquist, Directed by Eddie DeHais, to be staged in Monmouth

Theater at Monmouth plans to presents the Maine Premiere of Tira Palmquist’s “Age of Bees,” an eerily prescient drama written in 2008 about a world-wide pandemic and its aftermath on people, the planet, and, most importantly, the bees.

The play opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 22, other performances are set for 7:30 p.m. July 23, 31, Aug. 4, 10, 14, 15 and 19; and at 1 p.m. Aug. 18.

Mel finds safe haven on an isolated farm, tending to the last blooming apple orchards as primary pollinator. Enter Jonathan, an independent field researcher collecting samples of plants to start anew. Mel sees possibility and purpose in Jonathan, and in Mel, Jonathan discovers a secret that could save the world.

Palmquist’s coming-of-age drama, imagines a world where environmental disaster, and a rapidly spreading plague, has reduced civilization and decimated hope. Still a group of orphaned and abandoned girls find shelter and possibility in the rebirth of an apple orchard. The key to saving humanity is just a drop of blood away.

Director Eddie DeHais asks, “What do we do in the wake of a global pandemic? This is not just a question we are all wrestling with in this moment, but one that is alive in Age of Bees by Tira Palmquist. A global pandemic has devastated the human race and ten years later there are only small pockets of survivors barely scraping by. On an apple orchard in Ohio, we meet two young women, Mel and Deborah, struggling with the painful transition from childhood to adulthood when all the rules have changed. Age of Bees shows us a world that has spiraled much further down the well than our own, and provides a blueprint of how to not just survive but a way to find hope in building anew.

Playwright, Tira Palmquist, is known for plays that merge the personal, the political, and the poetic. Her most produced play, Two Degrees, premiered at the Denver Center, and was subsequently produced by Tesseract Theater in St. Louis and Prime Productions at the Guthrie (among others). Her play The Way North was a Finalist for the O’Neill, an Honorable Mention for the 2019 Kilroy’s List, and was featured in the 2019 Ashland New Plays Festival.

Age of Bees features Charence Higgins as Sarah, Amber McNew as Mel, Michael Rosas as Jonathan, and Tori Thompson as Deborah. Directed by Eddie DeHais; Set design by German Cardenas-Alaminos, Costume Design by Elizabeth Rocha, Lighting Design by SeifAllah Salotto-Cristobal, Properties and Scenic Art by Emma Kielty, Stage Management by Kailey Pelletier, and Sound Design by Rew Tippin.

Post-performance discussions will be pre-recorded and audiences can stream the content before or after their selected dates. Discussions with the cast and creative team will cover the critical historical, artistic, and cultural perspectives of the worlds of each individual play.

Tickets cost $36 for adults, $31 for senior citizens, and $22 for students (18 and younger). Family Show tickets cost $17 for adults, $12 for children.

For reservations or more information, call the TAM Box Office at 207-933-9999 or visit

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‘The Office’ Reunion: Kate Flannery Reunites With Warehouse Star Ameenah Kaplan

Kate Flannery and Ammenah Kaplan had an impromptu Office reunion this week, and fans are losing it. Flannery posted photos of herself with Kaplan on Instagram and Twitter, noting that they haven’t seen each other since the show wrapped. The reunion had fans feeling nostalgic.

Office reunion!” Flannery wrote. “Hey to the warehouse superstar, Val! [Ameenah Kaplan] directing the tour of [Disney’s Lion King] WOAH! Last time I saw her was Dwight and Angela’s wedding.”…

“This is awesome!!” commented Fischer on Instagram, while Kinsey added: “Love it!!” Some fans tagged Kaplan in the post, as well, and sang her praises beyond The Office itself. One wrote: “Literally everyone should go learn about how bad ass Ameenah Kaplan (Val) is!! Drummer, choreographer, director, producer, actress and more. Hers should be a household name!”

Kaplan has a prolific theater and performance background, with a strong emphasis on drumming. She was in the original cast of the American STOMP, and was a drum coach for the Blue Man Group. She went on to play percussion for acts like Ty Taylor of Vintage Trouble, Adam Lambert, Alisan Porter, Macy Gray, Rihanna, Taylor Hicks, Lisa Haley and the Zydecats, Drake, Leslie Odom Jr., Scarlett Cherry and the Twinz.

On The Office, Kaplan played a warehouse worker named Val whom Darryl (Craig Robinson) developed a crush on. Her other TV credits include Grey’s Anatomy, Veronica Mars, Heroes and Cold Case, among others. In movies, she is most recognizable for playing Gamora’s mom in flashback sequences in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

Read the full article by Micael Hein for HERE.

An Interview with Daryl Lisa Fazio

Stephanie Vickers interviewed playwright Daryl Lisa Fazio ahead of TVAA’s upcoming production of Fazio’s play Split in Three. Vickers, the Arts Integration Program Director at TVAA, is directing the local production of the play.

Split in Three will be performed May 15, 16, 22, & 23, 2021 at 2 pm on The Commons in Tuscumbia, AL. Get Tickets

Read the full interview at theTennessee Valley Art Association here.