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2022 PEN America Literary Awards Held at Town Hall February 28

The event honoring Elaine May, Jackie Sibblies Drury, and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o will include performances from Jenn Colella, Bobby Conte, and Kyle Taylor Parker.

Seth Meyers hosts the 2022 PEN America Literary Awards at New York City’s Town Hall February 28. As previously announced, the event honors the year’s most resonant works of literature across several genres, including career achievement honors for Elaine May, Jackie Sibblies Drury, and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o.

Emmy-winning actress Candice Bergen will present will present May with the honorary PEN/Mike Nichols Writing for Performance Award. Bergen made her Broadway debut in 1984 in the Mike Nichols-directed production of Hurlyburly. May began her career with Nichols, for whom the award is named, as the comedy duo Nichols and May.

Drury, this year’s winner of the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award, will be honored by directors Sarah Benson (Fairview) and Lileana Blain-Cruz (Marys Seacole)Quincy Tyler Bernstine, who appeared in the world premiere production of Marys Seacole, will perform an excerpt from the work.

Mukoma wa Ngugi—acclaimed writer of works including The Rise of the African Novel: Politics of Language, Identity, and Ownership and Mrs. Shaw, and son of Kenyan author, playwright, and scholar Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o—will recognize his father with the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. 

In addition to the awards presentations, the evening will include performances from The Ulysses Owens Jr. Band, joined by guest vocalists Jenn Colella, Bobby Conte, and Kyle Taylor Parker, who will pay tribute to Broadway’s return and the late Stephen Sondheim, recipient of the 2017 PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award.

For more information or for tickets to the ceremony, visit PEN.org.

Dave Harris’ Tambo & Bones Plays Final Performance Off-Broadway February 27

Taylor Reynolds directed the shape-shifting satire, which will subsequently play Los Angeles’ Center Theatre Group.

Dave HarrisTambo & Bones plays its final performance in Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage Theater February 27. The production officially opened February 7 following previews that began January 19. 

Read the reviews here.

The world premiere, directed by Taylor Reynolds and co-presented with Center Theatre Group, will subsequently play CTG’s Kirk Douglas Theatre May 1-29 with an official opening May 8.

Tambo & Bones_Playwrights Horizons_Cast Portraits_2021_HR
Dave Harris

W. Tré Davis (Seared, Zooman and the Sign) and Tyler Fauntleroy (Tempest, Succession) play the title characters and are joined by Brendan Dalton (Plano, Blue Man Group) and Dean Linnard (Time Temple, The Winter’s Tale).

Tambo and Bones are two characters trapped in a minstrel show, and their escape plan is to get out, get bank, and get even. A rags-to-riches hip-hop journey, the new comedy roasts America’s racist past, wrestles America’s racist present, and explodes America’s post-racial future, where what’s at stake, for those deemed less-than-human, is the fate of humanity itself.

The play was conceived as Harris considered his artistic origins doing poetry slams, and how he often found an expectation for Black artists to revisit and present trauma, often for largely white audiences.

The playwright said in an earlier statement, “I was working through this and thinking through minstrelsy as the beginning of Black fictive imaginations and Black performative capitalism. Minstrelsy is so demonized in society, but it was also a pathway to freedom for so many performers. So much of this play is about individual agency and upwards mobility within these given systems. And once you have the freedom to create your own world, what then are you reaching for? In my play, the characters’ relationship to the playwright is: ‘You had the possibility to dream up any world you could have and the extent of your imagination was to put us in a minstrel show? You’re doing this, why?’”

The creative team also includes scenic designer Stephanie Osin Cohen, costume designer Dominique Fawn Hill, co-lighting designers Amith Chandrashaker and Mextly Couzin, sound designer Mikhail Fiksel, composer Justin Ellington, stage manager John C. Moore, and assistant stage manager Bryan Bauer.

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Meet the Cast and Creative Team for Davis Harris’ Tambo & Bones

Stars in the House Celebrates Anyone Can Whistle With Vanessa Williams, Santino Fontana, Elizabeth Stanley February 26

Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley host the live-streamed series.

Stars in the House—the live-streamed concert series created by Playbill correspondent and SiriusXM Broadway host Seth Rudetsky and producer James Wesley—spotlights the upcoming MasterVoices Carnegie Hall concert presentation of Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents‘ Anyone Can Whistle February 26.

Guests include Tony nominee Vanessa Williams, Tony winner Santino Fontana, and Tony nominee Elizabeth Stanley, who will star in the March 10 concert, and Tony winner Ted Sperling, who is the artistic director and conductor of MasterVoices. Watch the stream above beginning at 8 PM ET.

Santino Fontana, Elizabeth Stanley, and Vanessa Williams

With a score by Sondheim and a book by Laurents, Anyone Can Whistle opened at the Majestic Theatre April 4, 1964, with a cast led by multi-Tony winner Angela Lansbury, Lee Remick, Harry Guardino, Gabriel Dell, Arnold Soboloff, James Frawley, Peg Murray, Don Doherty, Sterling Clark, Harvey Evans, Larry Roquemore, and Tucker Smith. Although the political satire played but 21 performances, the Sondheim score contained several exceptional songs, including “Me and My Town,” “There Won’t Be Trumpets,” “Anyone Can Whistle,” “Everybody Says Don’t,” and “With So Little to Be Sure Of.”

Stars in the House launched March 16, 2020, and has raised more than $1 million to support The Actors Fund and its services in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. It has also raised funds for the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund in support of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

New shows feature performances by stars of stage and screen, in conversation and song with Rudetsky and Wesley. Peter Flynn serves as streaming director.

Click here to watch previous episodes.

To make a tax-deductible donation to The Actors Fund visit StarsintheHouse.com/Donate.

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Look Back at Anyone Can Whistle Starring Angela Lansbury

Pooya Mohseni Will Host Boundless Theater’s Inaugural Gala, Featuring Jenn Colella and More

The evening will also include a performance from singer-songwriter Hadiza Dockeray and an excerpt from Eleanor Rigby Is Waiting.

Boundless Theater (A Stage Without Borders)’s inaugural gala will be held March 21 at LUXUNY Atelier at Bryant Park Studios.

Actor, writer, filmmaker, transgender activist, and Boundless Theater Ambassador Pooya Mohseni will host the evening, which will also feature Boundless Theater Ambassadors Tony nominee Jenn Colella and screen star Jacopo Rampini. 

Attendees can expect performances by singer-songwriter Hadiza Dockeray and an excerpt from David James Parr’s anthology Eleanor Rigby Is Waiting, featuring Robert Driemeyer, Helen Farmer, Jamie Johnson, Jacqueline Sydney, and Ashley Kristeen Vega. Marco Gallotta will also unveil the art he conceived and created for Boundless Theater.

Boundless Theater (A Stage Without Borders) is a theatrical installation series that spotlights the underground performing arts scene through curated, boutique performances from indie playwrights, actors, musicians, and dancers in unconventional spaces.

The company will launch this spring at The Duplex with the inaugural installation series Boundless Tuesdays, featuring performances by Dockeray and excerpts from Eleanor Rigby Is Waiting. Visit BoundlessTheater.com.