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kitchen_front120Civic Ensemble and the Kitchen Theatre Company Tuesday announced the casting of the world premiere of SLASHES OF LIGHT by Judy Tate. SLASHES OF LIGHT tells the story of an African American girl’s coming-of-age in Chicago’s South Side during the turbulent 1960s.  This production connects Civic Ensemble’s focus on community-based work by women and people of color with the Kitchen's two decades of producing bold, intimate work that starts important conversations.

Civic Ensemble is a theatre company known for civic engagement work and new play development in both Ithaca and New York City. The New York Times called Civic Ensemble’s September 2013 Brooklyn, NY production of Eugene O’Neill’s rare classic ALL GOD’S CHILLUN GOT WINGS (directed by Civic Ensemble artistic director Godfrey Simmons) provocative and harrowing.

Playwright Judy Tate is also a director, actress, and educator.  A 20-year member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, Tate is co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of The American Slavery Project, a theatrical response to revisionism in our nation’s discourse around slavery, the Civil War and Jim Crow.  She has won four Emmys and a Writers’ Guild of America award.  SLASHES OF LIGHT was developed at Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Going to the River, CAP21, The Black and Latino Playwrights festival, and a reading by Civic Ensemble last year.

“I've been working with Judy as a theatre artist for nearly 20 years – personally, this is a dream come true to be part of a major production of Slashes of Light," says Civic Ensemble Artistic Director Godfrey Simmons. "Her plays are almost Shavian in their intellect while teeming with passionate characters and bold imagery.”

Kitchen Theatre Artistic Director Rachel Lampert adds, “The Kitchen Theatre is pleased to be supporting this exciting play and first-time collaboration. And the cast and creative team are terrific!”

The production is directed by Melissa Maxwell, a NYC-based director specializing in new play development.  Often collaborating with Judy Tate, Melissa has been with SLASHES since its inception.

Leading the cast as the effervescent Sunny is Judi Jackson, a rising senior at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She will be sharing the stage with Civic Ensemble’s Director of Civic Engagement, accomplished actor Sarah K. Chalmers as Mrs. Hedges. Rounding out the cast is Jelani Pitcher as Kaleb, Robert McKay as The Conductor and Ryan Travis as Steven.

Lighting Design is by Tyler M. Perry, Scene Design by Ravi Rakkulchon, Costume Design by Lisa Boquist, Sound Design by Scott O’Brien, and the Production Stage Manager is Jen Schilansky.

Previews are June 11, 12 and 13, opening night is June 14, and the play closes on June 29.

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