"True Blood" Star Nelsan Ellis Will Direct Chicago Production of Katori Hall's HooDoo Love

By Andrew Gans
24 Aug 2012

Chicago-area native and The Collective Theatre co-founder Nelsan Ellis, perhaps best known for his role of Lafayette Reynolds on HBO's hit vampire series "True Blood," will direct The Collective's inaugural Chicago production, HooDoo Love by Olivier winner Katori Hall.



Performances are scheduled for Sept. 22-Oct. 21 at the Athenaeum Theatre.

The cast will feature Christophé Abiel (Ace of Spades), Toni Lynice Fountain (Candy Lady), Mark Smith (Jib) and Lynn Wactor (Toulou).

Set in the 1930s, HooDoo Love, press note state, is a "moving tale of love, magic, jealousy and secrets. Toulou escapes from the Mississippi cotton fields to pursue her dream of singing the blues in Memphis. When she meets a rambling blues man, the notorious Ace of Spades, her dreams are realized in a way she never could have imagined."

In a joint statement, co-founders of The Collective Theatre Francois Battiste, Veronda Carey, Le’Mil Eiland, Nelsan Ellis, Metra Gilliard and Jasond Jones said, "Each of us is a testimony to the benefits of having arts in the public school system. We are thrilled to continue the work we started so many years ago and to share our creativity with such a talented cast. Our goal has always been to bring people of various backgrounds together through the use of theater and to provide a forum for meaningful dialogue and creative expression. The production of HooDoo Love accomplishes this. It is a powerful masterpiece, wrought with complexity… yet so simplistically human; it’s a story that will move everyone who sees it."

Tickets are currently available online at www.athenaeumtheatre.org or by calling the Athenaeum Theatre Box Office at (773) 935-6875. Athenaeum Theatre is located at 2936 N. Southport Avenue in Chicago.