Everyone Wants Answers to The Story, Urban Newspaper Drama, Starting Nov. 18 at The Public

News   Everyone Wants Answers to The Story, Urban Newspaper Drama, Starting Nov. 18 at The Public Tracey Scott Wilson's urban newspaper drama, The Story, a co-production between The Public Theater and Long Wharf Theatre, begins previews Nov. 18 at the Public Theater.

The new play, directed by Loretta Greco, is packed with racial tension as the brutal murder of a white school teacher is investigated in a racially divided American city.

An African-American reporter (played by Erika Alexander), new to the paper, comes across an apparent break in the crime story, raising questions that can divide the newspaper staff and the community at large. Phylicia Rashad plays the editor of the paper's urban black section. Damon Gupton plays her colleague. Stephen Kunken is the managing editor of the local news section. The company includes Kalimi Baxter, Tammi Clayton, Michelle Hurst, Susan Kelechi Watson and Sarah Grace Wilson.

The play opens Dec. 10 at the Anspacher Theater within the Public complex downtown.

The Story's designers are Robert Brill (set), Emilio Sosa (costume), James Vermeulen (lighting) and Rob Kaplowitz (sound).

Rashad, the former "The Cosby Show" matriarch, has been a more and more common sight Off-Broadway. In summer 2001, she starred in Charles Randolph Wright's Blue, a sleeper hit for the Roundabout Theatre Company. Two years earlier, she played Harlem Renaissance luminary Zora Neale Hurston in Thulani Davis' Everybody's Ruby, at the Public Theater. Regionally, she's acted Pearl Cleage's Blues For an Alabama Sky, Medea in Atlanta and Here's to Life in Syracuse. Oddly enough, Alexander also starred on "The Cosby Show," from 1990 to 1992 as Pamela Tucker. Her films include "54" and "Full Frontal."

Stephen Kunken played Hal in Broadway's Proof and played the national tour for a season.

For ticket information, call (212) 239-6200 or visit The Public Theater at www.publictheater.org. The Public is at 425 Lafayette.

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After the run at The Public, The Story moves to Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven.

Currently at the Newman Theatre at The Public is Caroline, or Change, the new musical by Tony Kushner (lyrics and book) and Jeanine Tesori (music). Opening is Nov. 30.