BOX OFFICE 610.644.3500

Seven Guitars

By August Wilson

Directed by Jade King Carroll

September 12 - October 7, 2012

Main Stage

It's Pittsburgh, 1948, and the laughter of friends mingles with the sound of blues and the crow of a rooster. The play opens with a small group of friends who gather in the dirt backyard of an apartment house after the untimely death of guitarist Floyd “Schoolboy” Barton. Part bawdy comedy, part dark elegy, part mystery, August Wilson’s Seven Guitars is a sultry riff on the American Dream.

“A play whose epic proportions and abundant spirit remind us of what the American theater once was… As funny as it is moving and lyrical.” —The New York Times

This production runs 3 hours, including one 15-minute intermission.

Scoop on Sunday: History, Context, and Gossip
Join us for Scoop on Sunday, a lively discussion before every Sunday 7pm performance of Seven Guitars. A member of the cast and a People’s Light artistic staff member will fill you in on the world of the play, how and why we chose it, as well as how we cast it, designed it, and rehearsed it. The program will start at 5:30 in The Farmhouse Bistro. Only $15, which includes light fare! Cash bar will be open. Call the Box Office at 610.644.3500 to reserve.

Actors, prices, productions, performance dates and times are subject to change. Additional fees or upgrades will apply. Contact the Box Office for details.

Vera: Maechi Aharanwa*
Louise: Melanye Finister*
Hedley: Lou Ferguson*
Canewell: Francois Battiste*
Red Carter: Brian Anthony Wilson*
Floyd Barton: Morocco Omari*
Ruby: Nyahale Allie*
Director: Jade King Carroll
Set Design: Alexis Distler
Costume Designer: David Murin
Lighting Designer: Dennis Parichy*
Production Stage Manager: Kelly O'Rourke*
Sound Designer: Karin Graybash
Dramaturg: Gina Pisasale
Casting: Calleri Casting


* Member, Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers.

BIOS

Maechi Aharanwa
Vera
Credits include OFF BROADWAY: Mother Courage, Macbeth, The Blacks, Trojan Women (Classical Theatre of Harlem), The Beyonce Effect (The Fire This Time Festival); REGIONAL: Antigone (Quintessence Theatre Group), Miss Julie (New Day Repertory), A Women Called Truth (Open Eye Theater); JUILLIARD: Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Cherry Orchard, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, Farragut North, Julius Caesar. TELEVISION/FILM: 30 Rock, Mercy, Silver Sling.  Maechi co-writes and produces the web series Shi*ty Fabulous Lives.  TRAINING: Juilliard. www.maechi.net
Nyahale Allie                                                       
Ruby
Most recently appeared in Dominique Morisseau's Follow Me to Nellie's.  Developmental works include: Pussy Valley (Lark Theater Lab) Saturday Night/Sunday Morning (McCarter Theater Lab) and Blacken the Bubble. Television credits include Law and Order and TNT’s Rizzoli and Isles.  A proud native of Detroit, MI, and Howard University Alumni (BFA), Nyahale is delighted to work on her first August Wilson play and would especially like to thank Micah Stathis for his love and support! 
Francois Battiste
Canewell
Broadway: Magic/Bird, Prelude to a Kiss.  Off Broadway: Brokeology, The Good Negro (Obie Award) Ten Things to Do Before I Die, Merchant of Venice and The Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare in The Park).  Regional: Williamstown, Sundance, Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens, Lookingglass.  TV: Person of Interest, Are We There Yet?, The Good Wife. Film: Delivering the Goods, One Week.  In 2012:  Men In Black III, You Bury Your Own. Training: BADA at Oxford, Juilliard.
Lou Ferguson
Hedley
Last seen at PLTC in Of Mice and Men and at The Wilma in Coming Home. Broadway credits include Seven Guitars, Two Trains Running, and Playboy of the West Indies.  Regional credits include Everyman, Les Blancs, Night of the Iguana, The Hasty Heart, and Oedipus the King.  TV credits include Law & Order, Another World, and General Hospital.  Film credits include Attica, The Interpreter, Maid in Manhattan, I Like It Like That, and No Place to Hide.     
Melanye Finister
Louise
Melanye was last seen at PLTC playing Aldonza Dulcinea in Don Quixote. She is a Teaching Artist and resident company member at People’s Light since 1991.  She has also worked for Arden Theatre Company, Flashpoint Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Venture Theatre and The Walnut Street Theatre.  Melanye is a board member at Stockton Rush Bartol and holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University.  For Mama Ruby.
Morocco Omari      
Floyd Barton
Broadway: A Streetcar Named Desire. Regional: Race at St. LouisRep, Space and Intimate Apparel at Steppenwolf Theatre, Blues for An Alabama Sky and The Ballad of Emmett Till atGoodman Theatre, Trust and Fedra atLookingglass Theatre, Elmina’s Kitchen atCongo Square, Radio Golf at Pittsburgh Public, and Virginia Stage Company, T.V.credits include: Prison Break, Judging Amy, 24, Frasier, recurring roles on N.C.I.S, Joan of Arcadia, L.A. Dragnet, and Girlfriends.
Brian Anthony Wilson
Red Carter
Brian feels fortunate to be returning to PLTC. Seven Guitars is his seventh production from August Wilson’s 20th Century Cycle. He has portrayed Gabriel, Lyons, Boy Willie, Avery, Herald Loomis, Hambone, King Hedley II & Becker at various regional & local theatres. Film: Limitless, Law Abiding Citizen, Six Degrees of Hell, Keeping The Faith, The Postman. TV: Unforgettable, Law & Order: S.V.U., Outlaw, The Sopranos and The Wire. Coming up: Assassin at InterAct and Act II Playhouse in 2013. For my family.
  August Wilson
Playwright
August Wilson is one of our preeminent American playwrights. He is best known for his Pittsburgh Cycle – 10 plays that explore the African American experience with a play set in each decade of the 20th century. He has garnered numerous awards, including 2 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama, a Tony Award for Best Play, 7 New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, 2 Drama Desk Awards, 2 Outer Critics Circle Awards, Great Britain’s Oliver Award, and the National Humanities Medal. His plays are known for their lyrical richness and for providing the marginalized with a ground on which to stand.
  Charles T. Brastow
Production Manager
Chaz is in his fifth season as Production Manager, but has also been an Equity Stage Manager for 25 years and Sound Designer for 125 productions, most recently PLTC’s The Master Builder.  Other theaters, other projects: PlayPenn, Arden Theatre, Philadelphia Shakespeare Co., Delaware Theatre, Arena Stage, Primary Stages, Nickelodeon, Carnival Cruise Lines, Greg Thompson Productions, Miller-Reich Productions, Zap Productions, MLR Theatrical, and Scenery First.  Chaz also has an M.A. in History.
  Alexis Distler   
Scenic Designer
Recent credits include In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (2011 Barrymore Award) directed by Blanka Zizka at The Wilma Theater, For a Barbarian Woman directed by Niegel Smith at Fordham University, Post Office directed by Josie Whittlesey at The New Ohio Theatre, Clybourne Park directed by Hal Brooks at The Juilliard School, Boston Marriage directed by Lucie Tiberghien at The Juilliard School, Lucy directed by David Stradley at Delaware Theatre Company. MFA: NYU. www.alexisdistler.com
  Karin Graybash
Sound Designer
Regional: Arena Stage, Berkeley Repertory, Dallas Theater Center, Yale Repertory, McCarter Theatre, and Two River Theater Company. Local designs include the Walnut Street Theatre, Arden Theatre Company and 1812 Productions.  Karin was the original live sound consultant for the award-winning production Freedom Rising at the National Constitution Center. Nominated for numerous Helen Hayes Awards and the recipient of the Bay Area Theatre Critics Award. Karin is pleased to be working at PLTC for the first time.
  Joilet Harris
Music Director
Joilet F. Harris is an award-winning actress and vocalist whose work is known by many around the USA and the globe.  Last seen onstage at People’s Light in the 2011/2012 season's Panto, Treasure Island. Thanks to People's Light for this opportunity. "To God Be The Glory!"
  Jade King Carroll   
Director 
People's Light & Theatre, Joe’s Pub, Juilliard, Perseverance, 59E59, Intar, Urban Stages, Barrow Group, CitiParks Summer Stages, Theatre Row, Penn State, Passage Theatre, The Lark, Primary Stages, Time Warner New Play Festival, PlayPenn, Dramatist's Guild, and many others.  Awards:  TCG New Generations Future Leader, Paul Green Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Professional from The August Wilson Estate, New York Theatre Workshop Fellow. Recently, she was the Associate Director for A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway.
  David Murin
Costume Designer
Broadway:  Steel Magnolias, Mixed Emotions, A Change in Heir, Ned & Jack, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Blues In The Night, Devour The Snow, A Talent For Murder, and Gorey Stories.  Off Broadway: Crimes Of The Heart, The Foreigner, The Holy Terror, The Middle Ages, among many others.  Regional theatres include work at McCarter Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre.  Emmy award winner for designs on long-running soap opera Ryan’s Hope.  Mr. Murin recently designed the 137th edition of Ringling Brothers & Barnum Bailey Circus.
  Kelly O’Rourke
Production Stage Manager
Kelly is excited to be here for her third show, after working on Fallow and Legacy of Light. Since last season, Kelly has worked with Arden Theatre (Cyrano), with American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin, for her 14th season (Twelfth Night), and continues to work with the Cultural Affairs Department at Montgomery County Community College. Love and Thanks to Matt, Annie, Mom-Mom, Gran’Da and the Ryan family.
  Gina Pisasale
Dramaturg
Gina Pisasale has been a freelance Dramaturg based in the Philadelphia area. Recent projects include the world premiere of Ping Chong’s Throne of Blood and the Grammy-nominated production of Hamlet at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She has also worked with companies such as the Arden Theatre Company, A&E Biographies, GoKash Productions, and the Harrisburg Shakespeare Festival. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on Asian American theater and performance.
  Calleri Casting
(James Calleri, Paul Davis, Erica Jensen)
Theater: Most recent, Venus in Fur on Broadway and the long-running Fuerza Bruta. Past Broadway credits include: 33 Variations, A Raisin in the Sun, and Chicago. Numerous seasons for CSC include: Cherry Orchard, School for Lies, and Three Sisters. Other theater: Rattlestick, Long Wharf, Playwrights Horizons, including Betty’s Summer Vacation, Lobby Hero, and Violet.  TV: Army Wives, Hope & Faith, Monk.  Film: Heights, The White Countess, and Armless. Awarded 8 Artios Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Casting.  Member CSA.

Get to know August Wilson

Seven Guitars is the first August Wilson play to be done here at People's Light, so we learned all we could about this multiple award-winning playwright! Here are some facts about him that you might not have known:

  • Wilson is a PA native, born and raised in the Hill District in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Awards: Nominated for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the 1996 Drama Desk Award for Best Play, and the 1996 Tony Award for Best Play. Won the 1996 Drama Desk Award for Best Play
  • Wilson was the most produced playwright in American in the 1990s. With his plays of almost all black casts, the profusion of Wilson productions literally changed the face of American theatre.
  • Romare Bearden was one of the major influences on August Wilson’s work. Click here to some of Bearden’s work.

My Mother's Kitchen

"Despite my interest in history, I have always been more concerned with culture, and while my plays have an overall historical feel, their settings are fictions, and they are peopled with invented characters whose personal histories fit within the historical context in which they live.

I have tried to extract some measure of truth from their lives as they struggle to remain whole in the face of so many things that threaten to pull them asunder. I am not a historian. I happen to think that the content of my mother’s life—her myths, her superstitions, her prayers, the contents of her pantry, the smell of her kitchen, the song that escaped from her sometimes parched lips, her thoughtful repose and pregnant laughter—are all worthy of art.

Hence, Seven Guitars."
—August Wilson, 1995

WRTI Interview with the Cast

Click here to listen to WRTI's Susan Lewis interviewing some of the cast of Seven Guitars!

WCHE Interview with Francois Battiste

Click here to listen to an interview with Francois Battiste, who plays Canewell!

Reviews
"Wilson’s SEVEN GUITARS at People’s Light"

By Bill Murphy, Broad Street Review

"SEVEN GUITARS"

By Jim Rutter, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"SEVEN GUITARS Makes For Terrific, Old-Fashioned Theater"

By Frank Burd, Montgomery Media

"A soulful SEVEN GUITARS at People's Light & Theatre Company"

By Deb Miller, Stage Magazine

Articles
"People's Light Tunes Up SEVEN GUITARS to Open Season"

By Adam Crugnale, Montgomery News

Scoop on Sunday, SEVEN GUITARS

Scoop on Sunday: History, Context, and Gossip

Join us for Scoop on Sunday, a lively discussion before every Sunday 7pm performance of Seven Guitars. A member of the cast and a People’s Light artistic staff member will fill you in on the world of the play, how and why we chose it, as well as how we cast it, designed it, and rehearsed it. The program will start at 5:30pm in The Farmhouse Bistro. Only $15, which includes light fare! Cash bar will be open.

Call the Box Office at 610.644.3500 to reserve.

Date: 
Sun, 09/16/2012 - 5:30pm - Sun, 10/07/2012 - 5:30pm
Location: 
The Farmhouse Bistro