The production will play July 16-20 at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Shreveport, LA. River City Rep, now in its second season, is Shreveport's first professional theatre company sanctioned by Actors' Equity. Tony Award winner Donna McKechnie starred in the company's The Glass Menagerie in 2007.
Avery will play the role of Berenice Sadie Brown in the classic coming-of-age drama that helped make Julie Harris famous.
According to River City Rep, The Member of the Wedding "depicts the enmeshed lives of whites and blacks in the South during the war years of the 1940s and the turmoil of 12-year-old tomboy Frankie Adams as she awkwardly enters adolescence. Berenice, who works in the Adams household, has become a surrogate mother to the young, motherless girl."
Avery was nominated for the Academy Award in Steven Spielberg's "The Color Purple" for her performance as Shug Avery, the jazz singer who ignites the character of Miss Celie, played by Whoopi Goldberg.
Currently, Avery can be seen in two films that are in wide release, "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" and Tyler Perry's "Meet the Browns." Avery has won a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award and a NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award. The Member of the Wedding will be directed by Patric McWilliams, artistic director of River City Rep. He'll also design the sets and costumes. His team will include Tristan Decker (lighting designer) and Kermit Poling (composer of original music).
McWilliams told Playbill.com the company is aiming to open a 190-seat theatre on Shreveport's riverfront in 2009. A capital campaign will be launched.
Additional casting for The Member of the Wedding will be announced. For more information about River City Rep, call (318) 868-5888 or visit www.rivercityrep.org.