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Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye’ hits theatre

The late acclaimed author Toni Morrison. Prolific author Toni Morrison's Pulitzer-winning novel, 'The Bluest Eye' hits the theatre circuit this month [caption id="attachment_17097" align="alignright" width="252"] The late acclaimed author Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye, will play

The late acclaimed author Toni Morrison.

Prolific author Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer-winning novel, ‘The Bluest Eye’ hits the theatre circuit this month

The late acclaimed author Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye, will play out of stage this month. Theatre adaptation of ‘Bluest Eye’ coincides 50th anniversary and Toni Morrison tribute.

LOS ANGELES (MNS) —All the Way West Productions, Inc., brings its Black History Month Production of The Bluest Eye, an adapted play by Lydia Diamond and the Los Angeles tribute and 50th Anniversary celebration of the Pulitzer and Noble Prize-winning author Toni Morrison.

A haunting and tragic portrait of a Black girl’s coming of age in the racially turbulent 1940s. With rich language and bold vision, this powerful adaptation of an American classic explores the crippling toll that a legacy of racism has taken on a community, a family, and an innocent girl.

The Bluest Eye production is also a tribute and 50th anniversary celebration to the African American Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison’s acclaimed debut novel. Lydia Diamond’s dramatization of the novel has appeared at distinguished regional theatres around the country and won the AATE Distinguished award.

“I want to make a statement about the damage that internalized racism can do to the most vulnerable member of a community—a young girl,” said Morrison. “At the same time, I do not want to dehumanize the people who wound this girl, because that would simply repeat their mistake.

“Also, I want to protect this girl from the weight of the novel’s inquiry, and thus decided to tell the story from multiple perspectives. In this way, I shape a silence while breaking it, keeping the girl’s dignity intact,” Morrison added.

Los Angeles based director, Bernadette Speakes, helms the Hollywood production, featuring All The Way West Productions veterans Marcus Clark-Oliver (The Watsons Go To Birmingham) as Cholly Breedlove/Daddy, Ken Ivy (The Watsons Go To Birmingham) as Soaphead Church, and Victoria-Elizabeth Newman (The Watsons Go To Birmingham) as Maureen Peal/White Girl. Newcomers Briana Price as Claudia MacTeer, ReSheda Terry as Frieda MacTeer, Rodnesha Green as Pecola Breedlove, Yolanda Ross as Mama/Woman 1, Nicole Watts as Mrs. Breedlove, Schantelle Cason as Woman 2/Darlene, and Victoria Allen as Woman 3.

The creative team for The Bluest Eye includes Shari Rhone (choreographer), Scott Thure (set designer), Ashphord Jacoway (costume designer), Matt Richter (light and sound designer), and Pam Noles (stage manager).

Playwright, Lydia R. Diamond

Lydia R. Diamonds Award winning Plays include: The Bluest Eye, Smart People, Stick Fly, Voyeurs de Venus, The Gift Horse, Harriet Jacobs, The Inside, and Stage Black.

Theatres and Commissions include: Arena Stage, Cort Theatre (Broadway), Chicago Dramatists, Company One, Goodman Theatre, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, Jubilee Theatre, Kansas City Repertory, Long Wharf, McCarter, Theatre Mo’Olelo Performing Arts Co., MPAACT, New Vic Theatre, Playmakers Repertory, Plowshares Theatre Company, Second Stage Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Roundabout Theatre Company, TrueColors, and Victory Gardens and.

A recipient of many playwriting awards, Diamond was also an 2005/06 W.E.B. Du Bois Institute non-resident Fellow, a 2007 TCG/NEA Playwright in Residence at Steppenwolf Theatre, a 2006/07 Huntington Playwright Fellow, a 2012 Sundance Institute Playwright Lab Creative Advisor, is a Board Member with Chicago Dramatists and a 2012/13 Radcliffe Institute Fellow.

Diamond is a graduate of Northwestern University (class of 1991), has an honorary doctorate from Pine Manor College and was 2013/14 Playwright-in-Residence at Arena Stage. She is on faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she teaches playwriting.

All The Way West Productions, Inc.

All The Way West Productions, Inc.: Founded in 1998 by Tennessee native Harry V. Jones Jr., All The Way West Productions is the first theatre company devoted to produce plays for Black History month. Jones wants to produce passionate and provocative plays that celebrate the multiplicity of the African American perspectives and identities. He wishes to create a treasured cultural experience for audiences of all ages and backgrounds allowing all to immerse into someone else’s journey. His hope, the connection made on stage, will engage conversation and knowledge beyond the fourth wall.

Jones’ past productions include: The Watsons Go To Birmingham, 1963. Periphery, Shaking The Mess Out of Misery, Fences, I Ain’t Yo Uncle, Inns and Outs, Talking Bones, Southern Girls and A Woman Called Truth.

Director, Bernadette Speakes

BERNADETTE SPEAKES -The Bluest Eye is Bernadette Speakes’ second directorial production with All The Way West Productions, Inc. Speakes is a Hollywood Fringe Festival Female Director of Distinction (Villain, An American Story) and has had the privilege directing other theatre productions, staged readings, and short films such as The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 (The Hudson Theatre – Backstage), CUT (Humanitas Play Festival), Queen of Los Angeles (The Robey Theatre’s 25th Anniversary celebration), Emerald King and Imaginist.

As an actor, Speakes has performed in theatres throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area, at the Steppenwolf, The Goodman Theatres in Chicago, and Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Her film and TV credits include appearing as a Recurring Guest Star in CW’s All American, Seal Team, Heroes, Parenthood, and performed with James Earl Jones, in A Stage of our Own, which garnered an Emmy Nomination, with Sidney Poitier in To Sir With Love II, and was honored in 2017 at the ABFF Awards as part of the ensemble cast of the cinematic classic in African-American films, Love Jones. Bernadette is a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. Sorority Zeta Psi Chapter of University of Georgia; she is married, with two children and resides in California.

Tribute to Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison was born on Feb. 18, 1931 in Lorain, Ohio. She was an American essayist, editor, novelist, teacher and professor emeritus at Princeton University. Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. The controversially and critically acclaimed Song of Solomon brought Toni Morrison to national attention and won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Morrison was an African American woman who embellished publishing industry in America for the African American budding authors in the 70s, and beyond. According to Yahaya Balogun, Morrison was a “poised, brainy, astute, and elegantly ensconced with humble deportment in the department of cognition, who encouraged African Americans to believe in themselves and rise above the stereotypical nuances of racism in America.

“Toni infused self-confidence in the youth of America who are exploring the status and class superiority complexes in the race nomenclature of America,” Balogun said.

In 1993, Morrison was the first Black American and woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Almost 20 years later, President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2016, she received the Pen/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. Unfortunately, on Aug. 5, 2019 Morrison lost her battle with cancer and the world lost an amazing human.

The Bluest Eye, Jan. 17 – Feb. 23, 2020, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif.

Opening Night: Jan. 25

Friday, Jan. 17 (Preview), 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan 18, 24  (Preview), 8 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 8 p.m.

Sunday (Preview) Jan. 19, 3 p.m.
Sunday – Jan. 26, Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23, 3 p.m.




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