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Theatermaker Mikéah Ernest Jennings Has Died

The star of Shipwreck and Master died last week.

Mikéah Ernest Jennings has died.
(© Allison Stock)

Writer, performer, and educator Mikéah Ernest Jennings died last Tuesday, November 22. His exact age and cause of death are unknown.

Jennings grew up in California's Mojave Desert and participated in high school theater. He graduated from the University of California San Diego and moved to New York in 2001 to pursue a career on the stage.

Off-Broadway, he played Jesus in Adrienne Kennedy's Funnyhouse of a Negro and Pea in María Irene Fornés' Drowning, with TheaterMania's critic singling out his "endearing pathos." Both one-act revivals were presented in 2016 under the banner Signature Plays.

In 2017, he starred in the world premiere of W. David Hancock's immersive gallery showing Master, delivering a fiery performance as the son of an artist who spent much of his life on an elaborate and radical retelling of Huckleberry Finn. In 2018, Jennings appeared as Claxton in the New York Theatre Workshop production of Caryl Churchill's Light Shining in Buckinghamshire.

His passion for experimental and boundary-pushing work took him all over the world, performing in Rome, Paris, Berlin, Seville, Budapest, Vienna, Sydney, and London in productions like Young Jean Lee's The Shipment. In 2020, just before the Covid shutdown, he appeared at Washington, DC's Woolly Mammoth Theatre in the American premiere of Anne Washburn's Shipwreck, playing a Kenyan man adopted into a white family, as well as George W. Bush.

Jennings was also a teacher, leading classes at the New School, SUNY Purchase, and Stanford University. He had recently taken a position as a lecturer at MIT.

A memorial has been planned for Friday, December 9, at Joshua Mortuary in Lancaster, California. Those wishing to donate to offset the cost of the memorial can do so here.

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