The Public Theater (Artistic Director Oskar Eustis; Executive Director Andrew D. Hamingson) announced today that it would extend the world premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' NEIGHBORS an additional week through Sunday, March 14. Directed by Niegel Smith, NEIGHBORS began previews Tuesday, February 16 and was originally scheduled to close on Sunday, March 7. NEIGHBORS, the second play in the Public LAB season, will have an official press opening on Sunday, March 7.
The complete cast for NEIGHBORS features 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.
Public LAB, a vital new play series conceived in association with LAByrinth Theater Company, is designed to respond to new work immediately, and present fresh, raw, and relevant plays that embrace The Public's history as a theater receptive to the big issues, the public issues of our time. In so doing, this innovative program creates a new model for the ways in which The Public engages with our artists and audience. With minimally designed productions and short rehearsal periods, Public LAB gives writers the essential opportunity to develop new work with a director, designers, and actors and to see their work in front of an audience. Public LAB also provides our audience with access to new plays in development at affordable ticket prices. 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 Fulbright 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.