Chicago's Goodwin Part of Cast of McCarter's Polk County

News   Chicago's Goodwin Part of Cast of McCarter's Polk County Deidre Goodwin, whose recent Broadway credits include Chicago, Never Gonna Dance and Nine, will be part of the cast of the McCarter Theatre's production of Polk County.

Goodwin will portray Ella Wall in the Zora Neale Hurston-Dorothy Waring play that is infused with rural Blues music. The company also features Kecia Lewis as Big Sweet, Kevin Jackson as Lonnie, Tiffany Thompson as Leafy Lee, Clinton Derricks-Carroll as My Honey and Perri Gaffney as Dicey Long with Doug Eskew as Stew Beef, Rudy Roberson as Nunkie, Carl J. Cofield as Sop the-Bottom, Lynda Gravatt as Bunch, Gabrielle Goyette as Laura B., Aliza Kennerly as Maudella, Marc Damon Johnson as Boxcar and Eric L. Abrams as Quarters Boss.

Polk County, which plays the New Jersey theatre Oct. 12-31, has been co-adapted by Kyle Donnelly and Cathy Madison with original music by Chic Street Man. Donnelly also directs the production with choreography by Dianne McIntyre. The creative team features Tom Lynch (set design), Michael Krass (costume design), Allen Lee (lighting design) and Karin Graybash (sound design). Live music will be performed onstage by Mississippi Charles Bevel; Bill Sims, Jr.; and Michael Keck.

Polk County was written in 1944 and is set in the Lofton Lumber Company sawmill camp, which is located in southern central Florida. The play, according to production notes, was "inspired by Hurston's personal experiences in Florida while conducting anthropological research for her 1935 folklore collection 'Mules and Men.' The play centers on the lives and lore of this community of African-American men and women."

About the piece, director Donnelly said in a statement, "I was particularly drawn to Polk County for the authenticity of its writing — Hurston knew of what she wrote. There is also a certain intrigue in the neglected; this piece of work has remained untouched for nearly 60 years. It has been a labor of love to unearth these characters and make them come alive in this hugely theatrical, moving play."

  Polk County will play Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 PM, Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 3 and 8 PM and Sundays at 2 PM. Tickets, priced $33-$48, are available by calling (609) 258-ARTS or by visiting www.mccarter.org.

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