By Michael Gioia
19 Oct 2012
"This season is dedicated to sharing with the world why Crossroads matters," said producing artistic director Marshall Jones in a statement. "Our plays not only deal with the African American experience but more important for our time, how we intersect with other races and cultures."
Knock Me a Kiss, Charles Smith's play about the brief marriage of Yolande Du Bois, daughter of W.E.B. Du Bois, will kick off the Crossroads season Oct. 25.
Starring Tony Award nominee Andre De Shields as W.E.B. Du Bois — the role he created Off-Broadway in 2010 — Knock Me a Kiss, according to Crossroads, "is an insightful look at the marriage of Yolande Du Bois and the famed poet Counte Cullen. It was the royal wedding of the Harlem Renaissance, arranged by Du Bois himself, but soon ended in divorce because of Cullen's latent homosexuality." Performances will continue through Nov. 4.
In Knock Me a Kiss, a co-production with Woodie King's Black Touring Circuit, De Shields will be joined by members from the 2010 Off-Broadway production. Directed by Chuck Smith, the cast features Erin Cherry as Yolande Du Bois, Sean Phillips as Countee Cullen, Marie Thomas as Nina Du Bois, Morocoo Omari as Jimmy Lunceford and Gillian Glasco as Lenora.
Following Knock Me a Kiss will be Holiday Jubilee, running Dec. 6-16. Conceived by Sibusiso Mamba, the 1970s-themed show will "celebrate holiday traditions from around the world, inspired by the sounds of Motown that generations of music lovers hold special in their hearts."
In 2013 the world premiere of Ellis and Khan's Kansas City Swing will be offered Feb. 7-17. The play, according to Crossroads, "is set in the world of the Negro Baseball Leagues in 1947, the year Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier. Baseball is about to change, and so is America." The play had a reading during Crossroads' Genesis Festival in May.
Also offered at Crossroads will be Rohina Malik's new play Unveiled, about five Muslim women who serve tea and uncover what lies beneath the veil in a post 9/11 world, April 24-28; and a work to be announced, which will run May 9-19.
Additionally, Crossroads will hold the Genesis Festival of New Plays and Voices from March 27-April 7, 2013, and Commonground: Festival of the People, featuring diverse works from the South Asian Theatre Festival and more, April 25-May 5, 2013.
Crossroads Theatre Company was founded in 1978 by Ricardo Khan and L. Kenneth Richardson with the vision that "African-American theatre is intended for a broad-based, diverse audience."
Crossroads Theatre Company is located at 7 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For more information, visit CrossroadsTheatreCompany.org.