The Downtown Urban Theater Festival (DUTF) is back for a much-anticipated sixth season at the legendary Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village June 18 through 29. This year's festival features 12 cutting-edge productions from a vibrant, diverse collection of new and emerging playwrights on topics ranging from songstress Billie Holiday to the 1985 fire on Osage Avenue in Philadelphia and the death of a gay Mormon to women soldiers in Iraq. The DUTF performance schedule:
Wednesday, June 18--Cherry Lane Theatre, 7PM
Osage Avenue by Jamal Williams
This fast moving drama recreates the 1985 bombing in Philadelphia that shocked the world! Can a "burnt" city be revitalized after turmoil, racial divide and police brutality? Author of the novel, Where Dark Things Hide, Williams is the founder of the Uptown Playwrights Workshop in Harlem.
Thursday, June 19--Cherry Lane Theatre, 7PM
The Mummy and the Bodhisattva by Jai Chun and Mike Cipra
A Buddhist Bar-Napkin Poet Laureate rekindling a relationship with his wildly creative, trash-artist wife explores how human beings express love while the home they have built together burns down around them. Chun is an actor living in NYC whose work has been seen on film, television and stage. Cipra is the editor and publisher of The Stone Magazine.
Friday, June 20--Cherry Lane Theatre, 7PM
Missa Solemnis or The Play About Henry by Roman Feeser
On the morning of February 25, 2000, a young Mormon man named Henry Stuart Matis drove to the LDS Ward House in Los Altos, California, placed a gun to his head and ended his life. Why? Playwright/actor Feeser studied theatre at Lee Strasburg Conservatory.
Saturday, June 21--Cherry Lane Theatre, 7PM
On The Rocks by Dina Laura and Mina Radhakrishnan
Sometimes laughter is the best medicine. This funny and touching story explores the humor of heartache and the quest for love and self-understanding as seen through the lives of two friends and two strangers. Laura is an actress/singer whose eclectic background includes work as a music publicist for rock bands. Radhakrishnan is an emerging playwright in San Francisco.
Tuesday, June 24--DOUBLE FEATURE, Cherry Lane Theatre, 7PM
Honor & Fidelity by Tanya Perez
Almost missing the plane to San Juan, one woman's story unravels a lot more than an upgrade to a window seat in this musical journey across generations of forgotten history. Actress Perez's credits include Sonia Flow at the Laguna Playhouse and Anna in the Tropics at Seattle Rep.
Ballad of Sad Young Men by Jerome Augustus Parker
Joe, a soldier without direction, revisits a childhood haunt on the eve of his return to war. On the verge of Joe's personal destruction, his childhood friends do the best they can to save his life before he's shipped off to combat. Bronx native, Parker, is currently pursuing his MFA in playwriting from UCLA.
Wednesday, June 25--Cherry Lane Theatre, 7PM
Couple of The Century by William Fowkes
Looking for love, marriage and therapy on Central Park West? When old friends don't help matters any, what happens when people can't even discuss what's wrong with their relationship? DUTF alumnus, Fowkes, has written numerous plays including The Session and The German Lesson.
Thursday, June 26--DOUBLE FEATURE, Cherry Lane Theatre, 7PM
W.A.C. Iraq by Mel Nieves
In W.A.C. Iraq mothers, daughters, sisters, and soldiers their voices filled with loss, confusion, loneliness, anger and sometimes hope, try to make sense of the ever changing world around them during a questionable time of war. Nieves is a member of the award-winning LAByrinth Theatre Company and recipient of a Best Short Play Award in DUTF 2005.
Thursday, June 26--Cherry Lane Theatre, 7PM
This Train is Bound For Glory by Ione Lloyd (Starring Franklin Ojeda Smith of The Wire)
The dark chocolate dreams of a white woman and her love affair with a black man are unveiled in This Train is Bound for Glory. Sex, love, chocolate, betrayal, war and racism do not a happy marriage make. Lloyd studied theatre at DePaul University Conservatory and received a New Professional Theatre's National Emerging Playwright Award.
Friday, June 27--DOUBLE FEATURE, Cherry Lane Theatre, 7PM
Manchild Machismo by A. B. Lugo
Manchild Machismo explores Tito's search for masculinity and what it means to be Latino through unlikely sources--the men in his family. Lugo is an actor, playwright, poet and director whose theatre credits include Hamlet, Auto-Destruct and Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?
El Building by Jane Lippman
Bitchy, over-therapized, self-centered--pretty standard population for a gentrified apartment building--so busy bickering and whining, they don't even notice their own impending ruin. (Yes, it's a comedy.) Lippman, a DUTF alumna, has done films for TV as well as theatrical distribution that have garnered 25 awards, including several Emmy nominations (plus lots of fabulous reviews).
Saturday, June 28--Cherry Lane Theatre, 7PM
Billie's Blues by Hershell Norwood (Starring Michael Wright of The Five Heartbeats)
Billie's Blues tells about a woman's struggle against a world that is controlled by men. A young Billie Holiday suffers usury and physical abuse to survive. Undergoing transformation, she realizes the value of her own life and art. Norwood received an MFA in acting from Brandeis and his interests lie in feature playwriting and developing a Black Aesthetic Theory for theatre.
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