The production, which continues through Sept. 23, includes Cassandra Lowe Williams ( Ethel Waters: His Eye is on the Sparrow at the Triad) as Willetta Mayer, Mark H. Dold (Off-Broadway's Freud's Last Session) as Al Manners and Harold Surratt ( The Sunset Limited at the Triad) as Sheldon Forrester.
Rounding out the cast are John Dillon ( A Christmas Carol at the Triad), Chantal Jean-Pierre, Phillip Lynch, Megan Oots, Lee Spencer and Evan Thompson (Broadway's 1776, Arena Stage's A Time to Kill).
Here's how the play, a classic of African-American dramatic literature, is billed: "1957. Rehearsals begin on what everyone hopes will be the Great White Way's next big hit-a topical drama ripped from the headlines. But social norms and prejudices collide as the company of aspiring stars, hard-edged veterans and hopeful dreamers set out to make a play. At the heart of it all is Wiletta Mayer (Williams), a gifted African-American actress with the chance to finally play the lead role in a Broadway show, if she's willing to compromise her principles. It's a groundbreaking backstage satire of egos and attitudes and an insightful look at who we are and who we want to be."
"Childress dared to write about race, about gender, about the making of art, about the business of theater in a fashion that no one else has done as radically or as truthfully," director Lane said in a statement.
Other members of the creative team include scenic designer John Coyne, costume designer Bill Brewer, lighting designer Norman Coates, sound designer David E. Smith, dramaturg Christine Woodworth, vocal coach Christine Morris and stage manager Emily J. Mails. In conjunction with the show's run, the Triad will also offer The InSight Series, featuring Dr. La Vinia Delois Jennings and professor Lindsay Young discussing the world of the play and Alice Childress, Sept. 9 following the 2 PM performance; and PostScript, an open discussion with the cast, Sept. 13 in The UpStage Cabaret following the 7:30 PM performance.
The Pyrle Theater is located at 232 South Elm Street in downtown Greensboro, NC. For more information and tickets, call (336) 272-0160 or visit TriadStage.org.