‘Women of Brewster Place’ lands at Manship, April 24 – 28
WHEN A NEIGHBORHOOD IS a melting pot of strong willed Black women, it serves as the recipe for an exciting emotional roller coaster.
New Venture Theater’s (NVT) seventh season is rolling full steam ahead with its second production, “The Women of Brewster Place” the musical, April 24-28 at the Manship Theatre in downtown Baton Rouge.
The musical tells the story of several strong-willed women who live in a rundown housing project on Brewster Place. NVT founding artistic director Greg Williams Jr. said he hopes the play does more than entertain.
“We read about a 100 plays when trying to put together the season, and part of our selection process is asking ourselves is this work relevant? Is this work speaking to the times?” Williams said.
Williams said he decided on Tim Acito’s musical version, which is closer to the novel than the TV mini-series made popular by Oprah Winfrey.
“I think this version tells more of a story of the women and the music adds shows more heart and closer to the novel than the TV series,” Williams said.
New Venture Theatre cast rehearses “The Women of Brewster Place” the musical with director Greg Williams Jr.
wood has held privacy as the feature that makes it the man’s “grown-up fort” as the only way to gain access is by renting the facility for private events. Gollywood is located at 6224 Plank Road, Suite F, Baton Rouge.
Acito’s stage version relies on a cast of just eight women, between 20 and 60 years old, to tell the story of the trials and tribulations faced by the women who inhabit Brewster Place.
“There are no men, no children; a lot of the people we talk to are invisible I think it challenges us as actors to bring more emo- tion to our characters,” said Telisha Diaz who plays the lead role of Mattie.
This performance could not have come at a better time, with all of the changes that Baton Rouge is going through, Williams said.
“There are so many changes and divides in the city even between, north and south Baton Rouge, but this play gives a sense of community,” he said. “It reminds us no matter how different we all are at the end of the day all we have is each other.”
Although NVT will not be producing the popular mini-series version, Williams said his show would bring some of iconic scenes from the TV to the stage by using artistic tactics that will appeal to the emotions such as the tearing down of the wall.
“The only scene I remember from the movie growing up is the wall scene, but Greg told us not watch the movie so we could develop our characters naturally on our own” said Kai Lewis who plays Cora Lee in her first NVT production.
“This play will give everyone as sense of what community is and what it can be,” Williams said. “What I love about this play is it shows that people with different beliefs, from different backgrounds can put aside their differences to come together.”
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