The Kansas City Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse have announced the cast for their co-production of the world premiere of “Blueprints to Freedom: An Ode to Bayard Rustin” by Michael Benjamin Washington.
Washington, who has performed on- and off-Broadway, will play the title role in his play, which tells the story of a major strategist in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and later a vocal proponent for gay rights.
Phylicia Rashad, who had previously been named as the director, has withdrawn due to what the theater companies called scheduling conflicts. The director will be Lucie Tiberghien, who has directed previously at La Jolla but never before for Kansas City Rep.
Also in the cast are Ro Boddie as Martin Luther King Jr.; Mandi Masden as Mirwell; Jonathan Peck as A. Philip Randolph; and Matt Hostetler as Davis Platt Jr.
The show opens Sept. 8 in La Jolla, Calif. In Kansas City the show runs Oct. 16-Nov. 15 at Copaken Stage, the Rep’s downtown venue at 13th and Walnut streets.
InPlay, founded in 1999, was one of the city’s pioneering alternative theater companies but in recent years has been heard from only occasionally. Now the company has, according to a recent press release, “re-emerged with a new commitment to its mission to create and maintain a climate of diversity in Kansas City’s theater community.”
One of InPlay’s initiatives is a By the Book series of professionally staged readings. The first one is William Shakespeare’s “Othello,” which begins performances Thursday in the Penn Valley Room at Just Off Broadway Theatre, 3051 Central Ave. The show runs through Sunday. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. each night through Saturday. Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m.
Frances E. Farah is directing. George Forbes plays the title role with Lynn King as Iago and Laura Jacobs as Desdemona. Also in the cast are Claudia Copping, Brian Spurlock, Jacqee Gafford, Tim Burks and Laura Irwin.
Tickets are $15 at the door and can be purchased in advance by calling 816-784-5020.
InPlay plans a second By the Book reading Nov. 18-22 of “Missing You, Metropolis,” adapted from the poetry of Gary Jackson, by Tom Averill, Eric McHenry, Israel Wasserstein and Penny Weiner in collaboration with John Hunter and Lynn Wilson.
Also in the works: A co-production with KC MeltingPot Theatre of Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Soldier’s Play.”
Actress/playwright Sabrina Henderson will reprise the one-woman show she premiered at the Kansas City Fringe Festival, “Poops: I Did It Again.”
Henderson’s autobiographical piece about dealing with ulcerative colitis became the best-attended Fringe show at the Fishtank Performance Studio. “I promise a fun, awkward, and exciting time will be had by all,” Henderson wrote in her original description of the show for the Fringe.
Henderson will perform the piece at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Buffalo Room, the performance space at the rear of the Westport Flea Market. She’s offering the show as a “pay what you can” event and hopes to cover the cost of making a video of the performance. She said she’s been in talks with British actor/playwright/producer Guy Masterson about the possibility of taking the show to the international fringe festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Henderson, a native of Independence who majored in psychology and French at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, has been accepted to a Los Angeles training program by the Groundlings, the prestigious improv group whose alumni include Cheryl Hines, Lisa Kudrow, Will Ferrell and Kathy Griffin, among others.