Public's In Darfur to Star Raffo, Lohr, Washington, Wesley, Jah

News   Public's In Darfur to Star Raffo, Lohr, Washington, Wesley, Jah Heather Raffo, Aaron Lohr, Sharon Washington, Rutina Wesley and Zainab Jah will star in the Public Theater's developmental production of Winter Miller's In Darfur, which runs April 13-29.
Heather Raffo
Heather Raffo Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Also in the cast are Ron Brice and Maduka Steady. Joanna Settle is directing the play, a fictional account of lives affected by the genocide taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The play tells the story of three intertwined lives at a camp for internally displaced persons in Darfur: an aid worker trying to save lives, a journalist pursuing a story and a Darfuri woman seeking safety.

Raffo received a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Marian Seldes-Garson Kanin Fellowship, Lortel Award and OCC and Drama League nominations for her solo show 9 Parts of Desire, which she has performed across the country and around the world. Lohr has previously appeared at The Public in See What I Wanna See and Radiant Baby, and his screen credits include the film "Rent."

Washington has appeared at the Public in Stuff Happens, Richard III, Cymbeline, Coriolanus and Caucasian Chalk Circle, and in many other Off-Broadway shows such as String of Pearls and House and Garden, plus films such as "School of Rock" and "Malcolm X." Wesley recently appeared on Broadway in The Vertical Hour. Jah's credits include the Classical Theatre of Harlem productions of King Lear, Macbeth, Medea, Caligula and Trojan Women.

* In addition to writing plays, Miller is a research assistant to Nicholas Kristof, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist who has helped raise awareness about the genocide in Darfur. In March 2006 Miller accompanied Kristof and the NBC News anchor Ann Curry to Darfur to conduct research for the play. The project was part of the Guthrie Theater and PlayLabs "Two Headed Challenge," in which a playwright writes a play with the guidance of someone outside the theatre world.

An April 26 benefit performance of the play will include a post-show discussion with Mia Farrow and other guests. The benefit will be one of many post-show discussions — collectively titled "Conversations on Darfur" — with aid workers, activists, and journalists including Curry.

The Public is also partnering with the Save Darfur Coalition and the Genocide Intervention Network (GI-Net) to create opportunities in the theatre lobby for audience members to take action on Darfur immediately after seeing the play.

The play coincides with "Global Days for Darfur," a week of rallies, marches and vigils around the world organized by the Save Darfur Coalition from April 23-30.

Tickets will cost $15, and twenty percent of the price will be donated to Save Darfur Coalition, the Genocide Intervention Network and other Darfur-related organizations.

In Darfur was read at the Public's New Work Now! festival this past fall. Kristof and Curry participated in a discussion after the reading.

The Public's production will not be open to reviews, as it is intended to give Miller a chance to develop the play.

Miller's other plays include The Penetration Play (produced in New York by 13Playwrights), Cake and Ice Cream, Greetings from Vietnam and Wish You Were Here.

Settle has been attached to In Darfur through various developmental readings, including New Work Now! and the Guthrie Theater. Recently she directed Heather Raffo's Nine Parts of Desire at Manhattan Ensemble Theater and at other venues around the country.

For tickets, visit the Public Theater box office, call (212) 967-7555 or visit www.publictheater.org. The Public Theater is located in Manhattan at 425 Lafayette Street.

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