Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, First Breeze is the first production of the 2008-2009 Signature season celebrating the historic Negro Ensemble Company (NEC). The play, which was Tony Award-nominated in 1975 after it moved from Off-Broadway, began performances on Aug. 5 and opened Aug. 21 at the Peter Norton Space at 555 West 42nd Street.
The cast includes Harvy Blanks, Yaya DaCosta, Sandra Daley, Crystal Anne Dickinson, Brandon Dirden, Jason Dirden, Quincy Dunn-Baker, Marva Hicks, John Earl Jelks, Tuck Milligan, Gilbert Owuor, Brenda Pressley and Keith Randolph Smith, with Tony and Emmy Award winner Uggams.
The production features original music and music direction by Bill Sims, Jr.; set design by Michael Carnahan; costume design by Karen Perry; lighting design by Marcus Doshi; sound design by David Margolin Lawson; and fight direction by Thomas Schall. Winnie Y. Lok is production stage manager.
"The show takes place over the course of one sweltering weekend in June, as the struggles of three generations of the Edwards family collide," according to Signature. "Gremmar (Leslie Uggams), the family matriarch, looks back on her past and considers its legacy for her children and grandchildren as they confront the choices that will define their futures. Leslie Lee's Obie Award-winning play is a timeless portrait of family bonds and coming of age."
Tickets for the extension week are $65. Through the Signature Ticket Initiative, all regularly priced tickets ($65) are available for $20 for the initial eight-week run of each production through Signature's 20th Anniversary Season (2010-2011). The schedule for the extension week will be Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 PM. Tickets are available via signaturetheatre.org or via phone (212) 244-PLAY (7529) and in person at the Signature Theatre box office.
Signature's 2008-2009 season will be an examination of a body of work from the historic Negro Ensemble Company's collective of writers, whose contributions have helped shape America's theatrical heritage. Ruben Santiago-Hudson will serve as Associate Artist for the season, which will also include Samm-Art Williams’ Home, Charles Fuller's Zooman and the Sign, and a staged reading of Douglas Turner Ward's Day of Absence.