Phylicia Rashad, Chuck Cooper and Leslie Uggams Set for Their Eyes Were Watching God Presentation
By Adam Hetrick
Tony Award winners Phylicia Rashad, Chuck Cooper and Leslie Uggams will take part in a stage adaptation of Zora Neal Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God Feb. 29 and March 1 at the Greene Space at WNYC and WQXR.
Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Seven Guitars, Stick Fly) will direct Arthur Yorkins' adaptation, which will be taped for a national radio broadcast in September to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the publication of the novel. The readings take place at 7 PM.
Rashad (A Raisin in the Sun, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof) will narrate, with Uggams (Hallelujah, Baby!; Thoroughly Modern Millie) as Grandmother, Cooper (The Life; Caroline, or Change) as Joe Starks and Brandon Dirdon (Peter and the Starcatcher) as Tea Cake.
It will have an original score composed by blues legend Bill Sims, Jr., with sound design by Ricardo Fernandez and lighting design by Jeannette Yew.
"I am honored and excited to direct Zora Neal Hurston's 'Their Eyes Were Watching God,' a very important work in the fabric of American culture that takes us, not farther away from, but deeper into Black folk traditions," Hudson said in a statement. "'Their Eyes' beautifully captures the essence, language, life and stories of Black people and celebrates them. Creating a radio drama of this poetic and powerful text is a huge undertaking and I believe that we are in the process of creating an experience not soon to be forgotten."
In addition, on March 28, the Greene Space will welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, who will be joined by poet Sonia Sanchez, actress and activist Ruby Dee, and Hurston's niece, Lucy Anne Hurston. Academy Award nominee Dee starred in the television adaptation of "Their Eyes Were Watching God." The conversation will take place at 7 PM.
For tickets visit Thegreenespace.org.
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