Bebop meets hip hop as generations collide in Horizon Theatre’s second world premiere of the season, Sheddin’ by Thomas W. Jones II. The raucous comedy set in an Atlanta backyard follows up on Jones’ 2009 hit A Cool Drink A Water, called “an unexpected breath of fresh air” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The summer hoopla filled with humor echoing the legendary Kings of Comedy kicks off July 13 and continues for a seven-week run through August 19.
An all-star cast led by playwright Thomas W. Jones II as patriarch Walt also features Donna Biscoe as Walt’s wife Ruthie, Enoch King as Walt’s hip hop superstar son Trane, LaParee Young and E. Roger Mitchell as Walt’s backyard buddies, and Francesca McKenzie as Korean pop singer E’Boa. Walt, along with his jazz loving cohorts, has orchestrated a surprise for son Trane, just home from his first international hip hop tour. What Trane expects to be a welcome home party turns into a bid by Walt and his sidekicks to star as Trane’s opening act. The shock of such a proposal is compounded by Walt and Ruthie’s dismay at a little surprise Trane has of his own– a Korean pop fiancé.
Sheddin’ is a side-splitting story of family, love, and following your dreams.
Atlanta audiences will remember Jones as the founder of Jomandi Productions, once one of the most successful African American theatres in the country. More recently Jones has dubbed Horizon as his summer home away from home, staging the world premieres of his works A Cool Drink A Water and Three Sistahs and directing several shows including Hallelujah Street Blues and The Bluest Eye at the Little Five Points venue over the past few years. Jones says, “In the tradition of jazz musicians, Sheddin’ finds its roots in the art of improvisational one upsmanship. Three men at the crossroads of their lives take to the woodshed working through riffs on politics, marriage, and the dysfunctional evolution of 21st century black life. Sheddin’ is further rooted in the comic rhythms of Cosby, Pryor, and Foxx and in the storytelling of classic black men who posture and fashion epic possibilities from ordinary life rituals, men who sit in backyards talking about stars while firmly seated on a lawn chaired earth.”
Sheddin’ runs July 13 – August 19, 2012. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and Sunday at 5 p.m. Tickets start at $20. Tickets and information are available at horizontheatre.com or 404-584-7450.
Sheddin’ is sponsored in part by Macy’s Foundation. This commission was funded in part by the National New Play Network.
This raucous comedy set in an Atlanta backyard follows up on Horizon’s 2009 hit A Cool Drink A Water. Empty nesters Walt and Ruthie are throwing a homecoming party for son Trane, a rising hip hop star. But Walt and his buddies aren’t just celebrating – they’re hatching a plan to ride Trane’s wave of success and recapture their own musical dreams. Bebop and hip hop “take it to the woodshed,” as the jazzmen say, to sharpen their music, friendship, and futures. A comic reuniting of generations and those who hunger to still have a place.
Thomas W. Jones II has directed, written, and performed in more than 150 plays worldwide. Sheddin’ marks his eighth Horizon Theatre production, having previously written and directed A Cool Drink A Water, Three Sistahs, and Two Queens One Castle and directed Blue, The Bluest Eye, Hallelujah Street Blues, and And Her Hair Went With Her. Tom is co-founder of Jomandi Productions in Atlanta, where for over 20 years as Co-Artistic Director and later Producing Director, he saw Jomandi soar to become the third largest African-American theatre company in the United States. In 2000, Tom and his co-founders left Jomandi to create VIA International Artists, Inc. His work as writer, director, and actor has been acclaimed nationally and internationally. His work has received 39 Washington, DC Helen Hayes Award nominations, winning 12 awards, including Best Director for Home and Bessie’s Blues, which he also wrote. He has also received three New York Audelco Award nominations, the Dramalogue Award, the San Diego Critics Award, and the NAACP Phoenix Award among others.
Director – Bruce A. Young
Composer and Music Director – S. Renée Clark
Scenic Designers – Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay
Lighting Designer – Mary Parker
Sound Designer – Thom Jenkins
Costume Designer – Nyrobi Moss
Prop Designers – Susan McCluskey and Kathleen Parish
Stage Manager – lark hackshaw
Ruthie – Donna Biscoe*
Walt – Thomas W. Jones II
Trane – Enoch King*
Moses – E. Roger Mitchell*
Otis – LaParee Young*
E’Boa – Francesca McKenzie
*Member of Actors Equity Association