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Phylicia Rashad to Direct Blues for an Alabama Sky at Mark Taper Forum

Rashad starred in the original production of Pearl Cleage's drama in 1995.

Greg Alverez Reid, Joe Holt, Dennis Pearson, Kim Steele, Nija Okoro, and Phylicia Rashad
(© Craig Schwartz Photography)

Phylicia Rashad will direct a new production of Pearl Cleage's Blues for an Alabama Sky at Center Theatre Group's Mark Taper Forum, running April 6-May 8.

Rashad starred in the world premiere of the play more than 25 years ago at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. She will pass the torch to Nija Okoro, who will take on the leading role of Angel. Rounding out the cast are Joe Holt (Sam Thomas), Dennis Pearson (Leland Cunningham), Greg Alverez Reid (Guy Jacobs), and Kim Steele (Delia Patterson).

The creative team includes John Iacovelli (scenic design), Wendell C. Carmichael (costume, wig and hair design), Elizabeth Harper (lighting design) and Jeff Gardner (sound design), with original composition by Dontae Winslow. Casting is by Kim Coleman, CSA, and Michelle Blair is the production stage manager.

In Blues for an Alabama Sky, Angel is a free-spirited Cotton Club singer who's out of luck but never out of dreams. Guy is a costume designer waiting for Josephine Baker to invite him to join her in Paris. Delia, a young activist, is trying to give the women of Harlem a choice about their future. Sam, a prominent physician, is either delivering babies or out at the club letting the good times roll. And Leland, who recently arrived in Harlem from Alabama, is haunted by the wide-open skies and lost love he left behind. The lives and dreams of these men and women converge with passion and politics as the art and celebration of the Harlem Renaissance give way to the harsh realities of the Great Depression.