S. Epatha Merkerson
(© Joseph Marzullo/WENN)
S. Epatha Merkerson
(© Joseph Marzullo/WENN)
The Public Theater has announced preliminary casting for the plays that will be presented during the second week of its New Work Now reading series, running September 12 - 18.

The company for Danai Gurira's The Convert (September 12), will include Christoph Abeil, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, William Jackson Harper, Zainab Jah, Russell G. Jones, and Kevin Mambo. Emily Mann will direct this play, set amid the scramble for sovereignty in south Africa (now Zimbabwe) in 1895, that looks at a young woman who escapes a forced marriage.

For the series' special "New Work Then" presentation of The Trial of the Catonsville Nine on September 13, the cast will include Gwen Arner, Veanne Cox, Michael Cristofer, Quincy Dunn-Baker, Kevin Geer, Bill Heck, Korey Jackson, Peter Francis James, Joanna Merlin, Donald Moffat, Matt Servitto, and Richard Thomas. The play is by Daniel Berrigan from text prepared by Saul Levitt and will be directed by Gordon Davidson, who helmed the original 1971 production. It centers on a much-publicized anti-Vietnam War protest in 1968.

Sarah Nina Hayon, Ana Noguiera, Emma Ramos, and Socorro Santiago are set to appear in Tanya Saracho's Mala Hierba (September 14), which looks at the trophy wife of a border magnate in Texas, who must choose between her wifely duty and the love of her life. Jerry Ruiz will direct the performance.

Directed by Delroy Lindo, S.M. Shephard-Massat's Starving (September 16) will feature Alena Arenas, Rosalyn Coleman, Barry Shabaka Henry, S. Epatha Merkerson, Tiffany Michelle Thompson, and Craig Wallace. The play looks at a couple who, just after the end of World War II, move from rural Florida to urban Atlanta to join a small but up-and-coming black community.

Colman Domingo's look at a young man's attempts to scatter his deceased mother's ashes at the place she loved most, DisneyWorld, Wild With Happy will feature the author along with Maurice McRae and Sharon Washington under Robert O'Hara's direction.

Casting will be announced in the near future for two additional offerings in the New Work Now reading of Itamar Moses' Yellowjackets on September 15 and Dawn Jamieson's Mangled Beams on September 18.

For more information and tickets, click here.