The Public Theater announced complete casting for NEIGHBORS, written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and directed by Niegel Smith, the second show of the 2009-2010 Public LAB season. NEIGHBORS begins performances on Tuesday, February 16 and runs through Sunday, March 7. Tickets go on-sale on Wednesday, January 20.
The complete cast for NEIGHBORS will feature Jocelyn Bioh as Topsy; Danielle Davenport as Melody; Brandon Gill as Jim; Birgit Huppuch as Jean; Chris McKinney as Richard; Okieriete Onaodowan as Sambo; Tonye Patano as Mammy; and Eric Jordan Young as Zip.
Have you seen the new neighbors? Richard Patterson is not happy. The family of black actors that has moved in next door is rowdy, tacky, shameless, and uncouth. And they are not just invading his neighborhood-they're infiltrating his family, his sanity, and his entirely post-racial lifestyle. This wildly theatrical, explosive play on race marks the major debut of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, member of the Public's Emerging Writers Group.
"Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a thrilling, bold new voice exploring issues of race with searing intelligence and explosive theatricality," said Public Theater Associate Artistic Director Mandy Hackett. "We are very happy to share this provocative and meaningful play in Public LAB."
Now in its third year, Public LAB allows audiences to see important new plays for only $10, cheaper than the price of a movie ticket. Public LAB, conceived in association with LAByrinth Theater Company, is an annual series of new plays that lets New Yorkers see more of the work they love from The Public in scaled-down productions. Public LAB allows The Public to support more artists, and gives audiences immediate access to new plays in development. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supported Public LAB with one of the largest grants ever received by the Public Theater.
BRANDEN JACOBS-JENKINS (Playwright)'s full-length plays include The Change, Neighbors, Zoo, and Heart!!!. He is an alumnus of The Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group. His work has been seen and/or developed at The Public Theater, the New York Theatre Workshop, Soho Rep, PS122, the 2008 and 2009 Prelude Festivals, Princeton University/McCarter Theatre, and Links Hall in Chicago. He is a former playwriting fellow at the New York Theatre Workshop, an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and a proud member of the ArsNova Playgroup. He is the recipient of the Mary Quaintance Prize for Creative Arts, the Frances LeMoyne Page Award, a 2008 Astral Grant, the 2009 Princess Grace Award for Playwriting and a Fullbright scholar.
Niegel Smith (Director) recently completed a TCG New Generations Fellowship as Artistic Leadership Associate at The Public Theater, and is a founding member of 425D, a director's lab. His New York directing credits include Ether Steeds (Fringe Award - Best Ensemble), We Declare You a Terrorist, Rainy Days & Mondays, Maud- The Madness, One For The Road and LIMBS: A Pageant. He is Associate Director to Bill T. Jones on the new musical FELA! and has assisted directors Jo Bonney, James Lapine, Kristin Marting, Richard Nelson and George C. Wolfe. Smith has received grants and fellowships from Theater Communications Group, the Van Lier Fund, and the Tucker Foundation. As PERMISO with Co-Artistic Director Todd Shalom, Niegel has co-conceived and staged so you're one of them now?, this was the only place i knew to go, December 31, Procession and Fallout, mass rituals in public settings.
JOCELYN BIOH (Topsy) is a playwright and actress who co-wrote and starred in the play Lightskin/Darkskin. Her acting credits include The Lion King and For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf.
DANIELLE DAVENPORT (Melody) was a creator/performer of the critically acclaimed What You Need, cited by the Kennedy Center as one of the ten best short plays of the year. She appeared at The Public in Suzan-Lori Parks's 365 Days/365 Plays.