Immediate Family, a Comedy of Sibling Secrets, Begins in Chicago; Phylicia Rashad Directs

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02 Jun 2012

Phylicia Rashad
Phylicia Rashad
Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Tony Award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad directs Paul Oakley Stovall's Immediate Family, a new comedy about secrets revealed at a family reunion, beginning a Chicago run on June 2. The play is a revision of an earlier work by the Windy City playwright.

Paul Boskind, Ruth Hendel and Stephen Hendel, by special arrangement with the Goodman Theatre, and in association with About Face Theatre, present the work at the Goodman's Owen Bruner Theatre at 170 N. Dearborn; this is not a Goodman production. Opening is June 8.

Here's how the comedy is billed: "In the Bryant family's Hyde Park home, keeping a secret is next to impossible. When the entire clan comes together for the first time in more than five years, family secrets are exposed in a hilarious, emotional family reunion. Evy can't understand why her younger brothers are so mysterious and distant; Jesse is afraid to be true to himself and honest with his family; and no one can understand why Tony is so eager to get married. 'Modern Family' meets 'All in the Family' as these siblings try to bridge their differences with a little help from God, card games and their immediate family."

Rashad and Oakley will take part in an intimate post-show conversation, immediately following the 2 PM June 3 preview performance. The onstage interview is moderated by Chicago's Commissioner of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Michelle Boone, and "will focus on the evolving portrait of African-American families on the American stage, as well as the cultural shifts challenging today's family bonds."

Immediate Family features an all-Chicago cast, including Shane'sia Davis (Evy), J. Nicole Brooks (Nina), Patrick Sarb (Kristian), Phillip James Brannon (Jesse), Kamal Angelo Bolden (Tony) and Cynda Williams (Ronnie).



Playwright Stovall, a Chicago native, is an artistic associate at Dog and Pony and About Face Theatre in Chicago. He currently serves as a White House Advance Associate for the Obama administration. Immediate Family was earlier produced under the title As Much As You Can at Dog and Pony Theatre Company at New York's International Fringe Festival, and at Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles. The play received a 2009 GLAAD Media Award nomination. As an actor, Stovall was most recently seen in Christopher McElroen's world-premiere production of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man at Court Theatre.

Stovall said in a statement, "This play has been coming out of me for almost ten years now and I'm ecstatic to have it take another step forward in my hometown and at the Goodman especially, which in many ways, is like home to me as well. Having Phylicia Rashad on board as director is, to my mind, the perfect addition to the mix. The characters in this play are all trying to hold their heads just a little higher, to find themselves and their place in the family; and Phylicia brings discipline, dignity, and determination to everything she does."

Rashad is best known as an actress. A two-time Emmy Award nominee, she played Claire Huxtable in "The Cosby Show" and later teamed up with Bill Cosby as Ruth Lucas on "Cosby." Rashad appeared on Broadway as Violet Weston in August Osage County, Big Mama in Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (also London), Aunt Ester in August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean (Tony Award nomination) and Queen Britannia in Shakespeare's Cymbeline at Lincoln Center. She received both the Drama Desk and the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. Read more about the Broadway career of Rashad in the Playbill Vault.

Tickets for the limited engagement are available through Goodman Theatre box office, 170 N. Dearborn St., by phone at (312) 443-3800, or by visiting visit goodmantheatre.org.

For more information, visit immediatefamilyplay.com.