La MaMa e.t.c. presents the World Premiere of The Book of Lambert, written by Tony Award nominated and Obie/Audelco Award winning playwright Leslie Lee. The play, directed by Cyndy A. Marion, features Lucille Lortel and Obie Award winning actor Arthur French, who recently performed on Broadway in Horton Foote's Dividing The Estate. The Book of Lambert opened on February 14 and continues through March 1, 2009 in a limited engagement at the historic La MaMa e.t.c. as part of their Black History Month celebration.
Founded by the venerable Ellen Stewart, La MaMa e.t.c. is located at 74A East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue & Bowery in NYC. Performances take place in the First Floor Theatre and run Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $18 for adults and $13 for students and seniors and can be purchased by calling 212-475-7710 or visiting http://www.LaMaMa.org.
The Book of Lambert depicts the lives of six lost souls hiding from society in the subterranean depths of an abandoned NYC subway tunnel. Their leader is Lambert, an African-American man who has been hurt - possibly beyond repair - by his former love, a beautiful Caucasian woman. A bright but disillusioned ex-college professor, Lambert begins writing a prophetic book on life. In an effort to guide and re-focus this wayward flock, Lambert unleashes his own identity issues while coming face to face with the demons of his past. The Book of Lambert is a telling story of how our histories can haunt us, and how we may or may not recover from them.
Playwright Leslie Lee is a founding artist of La MaMa e.t.c., where his plays have been produced regularly. His acclaimed play, The First Breeze of Summer, starring Leslie Uggams, enjoyed a successful revival in 2008 with the Signature Theatre Company. The First Breeze of Summer, originally produced by the Negro Ensemble Company, went on to win an Obie Award for Best New American Play and the Outer Critics Circle Award. Subsequently, the play moved to the Palace Theatre on Broadway, where it received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play. Lee was the 2008 Audelco Playwright Award Winner and has been nominated for eleven Audelco Awards. Many of his plays have been produced by the Negro Ensemble Company, the Black Rep in St. Louis and Crossroads Theatre Company in New Jersey. Lee currently teaches playwriting and screenwriting at NYU and heads the Negro Ensemble Company's Playwrights' Unit. His play, Sundown Names and Night-gone Things, will have its NY Premiere at The Actor's Playhouse in NYC in May 2009, under the direction of Woodie King, Jr., in a co-production between the Negro Ensemble Company and the New Federal Theatre.
Director Cyndy A. Marion is the Producing Artistic Director of The White Horse Theater Company and was named one of NYTheatre.com's 2007 People Of The Year. The New York Times praised her for "A very good revival of The Late Henry Moss" and Newsday celebrated her revival of Buried Child saying, "Marion and her cast deliver a deeply compelling staging of a great play." She directed the world premiere of Leslie Lee's Mina at La MaMa in 2007 and her directing credits with White Horse include In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, Small Craft Warnings, The Late Henry Moss, Buried Child, A Lie of The Mind, States of Shock and True West.
The cast includes Arthur French (Broadway - Dividing The Estate, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, The Iceman Cometh, Lucille Lortel Award winner for Two Trains Running, Obie Award winner for Sustained Excellence of Performance), Gloria Sauve (Broadway/Comin Uptown), Joresa Blount, Clinton Faulkner (Manchild in the Promiseland/Abingdon Theater & American Place Theater), Sadrina Johnson (Southern Promises/PS122, WASPS; or Buzz Buzz in your eardrum/Target Margin), Heather Massie (Mina/La MaMa), Omrae D. Smith and Howard L. Wieder (Yellow Face/Queens Theatre in the Park).
The design/production team consists of Andis Gjoni (Set Design), Russel Phillip Drapkin (Lighting Design), David B. Thompson (Costume Design), Joe Gianono (Sound Design), Michael Chin (Fight Choreography), Maxine Kern (Dramaturgy), Elliot Lanes (Stage Manager), Leigh Hile (Assistant Director) and Jen Wiener (Assistant Stage Manager).
Group sales: 212-254-6468. Trains: F, V to 2 Ave. or 6 to Bleecker St.
All photos courtesy of David Gibbs/DARR Publicity.
Lucille Lortel and Obie Award winning actor Arthur French
Director Cyndy A. Marion and Tony Award nominated and Obie Award winning playwright Leslie Lee
Cast members of The Book of Lambert