Horizon Theatre Presents Right On

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Two generations take each other higher in this powerful, funny world premiere

Right On at Horizon Theatre

Minka Wiltz, Donna Biscoe, Marguerite Hannah, Tonia Jackson. Photo by Bradley Hester

Putting the sizzle in the summer at Horizon is the world premiere of Darren Canady’s Right On, a soul-filled story with laughter, tears and a funky beat. Brothas and sistahs who traded dashikis for day jobs reunite for a new generation in this funny and powerful comedic drama with a musical backdrop of 70’s funk. Right On runs July 18 – August 31, 2014. Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 3 PM and 8:30 PM, and Sunday at 5 PM. Tickets are $20-$30. Tickets and information are available at horizontheatre.com or 404.584.7450.

Right On brings together the best of Atlanta’s talent and one of America’s hottest young writers,” says Lisa Adler, Horizon’s Co-Artistic Director. “With veteran director Tom Jones’ at the helm, music will be the heartbeat of this compelling story about two generations looking back and moving on. This world premiere with an amazing ensemble cast is a perfect fit for Horizon’s 30th year of bringing the best and brightest new playwrights to Atlanta.”

STORY

Bella, an activist-turned-business executive, returns to the alma mater where she led protests clad in a dashiki and afro. It is homecoming weekend, and she has returned to make a speech for the university’s women in business organization, and is hoping to get in and out unnoticed. Along for the trip is her Harvard-bound son Kyle, carrying his own demons in his backpack. But this homecoming quickly turns into a roller coaster reunion with Bella’s college friends, who have reunited to recreate their black student showcase “Right On!” for a new generation of students. However, old flames and rivalries heat up, new challenges arise and Kyle gets a real talk, no jive education about the choices made by the young, gifted and free who set out to turn the tide. As they re-frame, rewrite and reclaim their complicated pasts, they must also reconcile who they are with who they thought they would become. In the funky groove of Soul Train and Sly, two generations take each other higher in this powerful and funny story of change makers and their legacies.

DIRECTOR

Thomas W. Jones II is back for his 11th summer at Horizon, bringing his signature kinetic directing style, along with his real life experience in the Black Student movement during his college days. He has directed, written and performed in more than 150 plays worldwide. Last summer’s Atlanta premiere of every tongue confess marked his tenth Horizon Theatre production, having previously written and directed Sheddin’, 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. Last summer, Sheddin’ was featured at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 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, D.C. 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.

PLAYWRIGHT

Playwright Darren Canady is a rising star in American theatre, and won the American Theatre Critics Association 2012 M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award for best emerging playwright, recognizing his Brothers of the Dust, which premiered in May 2011 at Congo Square Theatre Company in Chicago. Horizon welcomes his wise, witty voice to Atlanta. The Kansas-based playwright is an assistant professor at the University of Kansas, and is a recipient of the America-in-Play Residency and the Lecomte du Nouy Prize. He was the winner of the Alliance Theatre’s Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award in 2007, and his winning play, False Creeds, had its World Premiere on the Alliance Theatre’s Hertz Stage that year.

“I come from a family that revels in storytelling,” Canady said. “Whether the story was joyful, elegiac, painful or cautionary, I grew up hearing, seeing and listening to family stories that were only told if they could be performed with as much blood, life, exuberance and expressiveness as possible.”

Canady’s other plays—including Muddy the Water, You’re Invited!, and Reparations —have been presented by the Alliance Theatre, the National Playwrights Conference of the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, and the Old Vic Theatre in London. He holds a B.A. in creative writing from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.F.A. from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts and an Artists’ Diploma from The Juilliard School’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program.

“As an heir to this oral tradition,” Canady continued, “my dramatic writing has become a natural outgrowth of the marriage of my filial storytelling traditions and the unique culture of African-American life in the Midwest.”

CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM

Right On highlights a dynamic cast of familiar faces to Horizon and Atlanta theatre stand-outs, including Donna Biscoe, Marguerite Hannah, Tonia Jackson, Minka Wiltz and LaParee Young. Donna Biscoe returns to the Horizon stage as Bella, a successful corporate executive who left her activist past behind in pursuit of a bright future for her now college age son. Biscoe previously appeared in Sheddin’, A Cool Drink A Water, Tree and Blue at Horizon. Hannah, most recently seen in Horizon Theatre’s The Waffle Palace, A Cool Drink A Water and Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, returns as Sharonda, a prominent lawyer and breast cancer survivor who is the peace-maker of the group. Audiences will remember Tonia Jackson from Horizon’s acclaimed productions of And Her Hair Went With Her and Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, this time playing Janice, the group’s wise-cracking, live-life-to-the-fullest club owner. Wiltz is back for another summer at Horizon after her commanding performances as Mother Sister in every tongue confess and Pearl in Black Pearl Sings in 2010. This time Wiltz is Patrice, determined to reconnect with her glory days, before she dropped out of college and put her dreams on hold to raise two children. Young newcomer Dane Troy, fresh from the Aurora Theatre’s apprentice program and The University of Georgia, is Kyle, a Harvard student struggling with manic-depression, his identity as a black man educated in white schools and the pressure of high expectations. LaParee Young, last seen as Otis in in Horizon’s Sheddin’ in 2012, rounds out this stellar cast as Ronald, old flame to both Bella and Patrice.

Suzi-Award winning set designers Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay (Time Stands Still, The Waffle Palace, Avenue Q) are back to create the theatre where the “Right On!” show is being re-imagined. Also returning are costume designer Nyrobi Moss (Horizon’s Sheddin’, Three Sistahs, Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery), resident lighting designer Mary Parker (Time Stands Still, The Waffle Palace, Avenue Q) and props designer Suzanne Cooper Morris (Cowgirls). The musical heart of Right On will be created by Horizon’s long-time musical director, S. Renee Clark (Cowgirls, Sheddin’, every tongue confess, Avenue Q).

THE PERFECT OUTING FOR OLD SCHOOL AND NEW SCHOOL!

Right On is the perfect outing for your friends, family, church group, alumni association, sorority/fraternity and co-workers! Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. This show contains strong language and is recommended for ages 14 and up. Horizon has a lounge space available for rental for pre-show gatherings. E-mail Tim Harland at groups@horizontheatre.com or call 404.523.1477 x111 for more information.

TICKETING INFORMATION

General admission tickets for Right On are $20-$30. This show contains strong language and is recommended for ages 14 and up. Tickets may be ordered by phone at 404.584.7450 or online at www.horizontheatre.com. The show runs July 18 – August 31, 2014. Performances are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 8 PM; Saturday at 3 PM and 8:30 PM; and Sunday at 5 PM. Ticket prices are subject to change. Eight percent sales tax will be added to all ticket orders. Internet convenience fee added to all online orders. No refunds, exchanges or late seating.