Tony Award-winning playwright Mark Medoff, who penned 1980's Children of a Lesser God, will see the world premiere of his new two-character work, Tommy J & Sally, Feb. 18-March 24 in a Washington DC co production by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Theater J.
Craig Wallace and Sue-Anne Morrow are the title characters in the provocative play about the "conflicts of love, race, culture and identity both real and imagined," according to the announcement from the non-profit troupes, presenting in Theater J's space, the Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater at the DC Jewish Community Center. Official opening is Feb. 24.
Tommy J, "a 30ish black man," breaks into the apartment of "famous white pop singer, Sally Hemmings," claiming one of her pop lyrics holds a secret message aimed at him. According to production notes, "What initially appears to be the story of a controversial celebrity held hostage by an unbalanced fan quickly becomes an intense and mysterious dialogue revealing unexpected wounds from the past."
Bob Devin Jones directs. He directed the New Visions/New Voices reading of Tommy J & Sally at the Kennedy Center and a workshop production (with Craig Wallace) at the American Southwest Theatre Company in New Mexico. Wallace is a veteran of many DC area theatres, and appeared in the Woolly Mammoth world premiere of The Last Orbit of Billy Mars. New York-based actress Morrow makes her Woolly Mammoth-Theater J debut. Her credits include the national tour of Angels in America, Cleveland Playhouse's Jerusalem and Manhattan Theatre Club's A Piece of My Heart.
Designers are Daniel Ettinger (set), Brenda Plakans (costumes), Jay Herzog (lights), Kim Deane (props). Kevin Campbell is the composer. Playwright Medoff, known for Children of a Lesser God and When You Comin' Back Red Ryder?, was the first playwright produced by Woolly Mammoth in 1980, when the edgy company staged The Froegle Dictum (and in the second season, Medoff's The Kramer). He was Oscar-nominated for the screenplay to "Children of a Lesser God." He is the author of 26 plays and 11 movies.
Tickets are $26-$30. The Goldman Theater in the DCJCC is at 1529 16th Street, NW, at the corner of 16th and Q Streets. For information, call (800) 494-TIXS. For more information, visit woollymammoth.net or theaterj.org.
As it works toward the completion of its new home, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC is presenting its 2001-2002 season — which includes two world premieres — at the Kennedy Center's AFI Theater and the Cecile Goldman Theater at the DC Jewish Community Center.
— By Kenneth Jones